Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why I Voted Yes On Proposition 19

From the California Secretary of State's web site:

LEGALIZES MARIJUANA UNDER CALIFORNIA BUT NOT FEDERAL LAW. PERMITS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO REGULATE AND TAX COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION, AND SALE OF MARIJUANA. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

While I support the legalization of marijuana, I support our national constitution even more. For years California has allowed "medical marijuana" in direct and open violation of federal law, and the feds look the other way until they need to make headlines and then bam! There's a big roundup of people at some pot dispensary or other, and then when the glow of the tv cameras fades, the feds go back to looking the other way.

This has to stop.

I don't see California going back to obeying federal law, but as I'm a "law and order" kinda guy, something must be done. The only way I can see to get some resolution here is to provoke a bigger fight with the federal government. Accordingly, I'm voting Yes on Proposition 19, to legalize marijuana.

If it passes, the law will end up in court--and I win no matter what happens at that point.

If a federal court rules that the Congress has overstepped its constitutional limits and cannot tell California what it can and cannot do within its borders, then I win both on federalism grounds and because I support the legalization of marijuana.

If a federal court rules that California law is trumped by federal law and is thus null and void--including our medical marijuana law--then I win on "law and order" grounds.

Let the lawsuits begin. Let's settle this issue.

10 comments:

Eric W. said...

I've always thought that there should be some initiative process to allow state law to override federal law in specific cases, with some supermajority (2/3? 3/4?) popular support. Not that I think Prop 19 has nearly that much public support. But the states' rights guy inside me just can't help thinking that if most of a state's population wants to do something, then perhaps they should be allowed to do it.

Darren said...

Perhaps. What if most of a state's population wants to forbid gay marriage? Oh yeah, in California that already happened, and it's still not resolved! :-)

maxutils said...

Whatever it takes . . .the Feds won't come after anyone who isn't selling it, anyway, and if you like to smoke pot and can't grow it yourself in California, you're really missing a trick. The Feds can't win this one, no matter how hard they try, and the harder they try the more ridiculous, petty, and impotent they will look. If this passes, the battle is won.

Pomoprophet said...

Legalizing pot in CA is going to create a nightmare for other states. Mexican drug cartels will grow it freely here and then ship it across the country causing an increase in crime in other states. Not to mention the drop in property values if your next door neighbor has a big pot plot in his backyard. Its a selfish thing for CA to legalize pot when the rest of the country still has it outlawed. We don't live on an island and our actions have negative effects on others.

Besides do you want your fellow teachers and senior students coming to school high everyday with nothing you can do about it? I don't.

maxutils said...

Pomomprophet . . .

Our job is not to make other states happy, it is to do what's best for our state. Every other state in the union has the option of following our lead.

In addition, your argument doesn't really make sense, since a large percentage iof the nation's pot is already grown in california . . . just like most of the rice and most of the artichokes. Legalizing its sale here does nothing to make it safer to sell outside of California, so I don't see why there would be an opportunity . . . additionally, since it's now legal to grow in CA, there will be less of a profit motive for these sinister Mexicans you fear.

You also presume that legalization will trigger an increase in pot usage . . .you might be right, but I doubt that the increase will be large. Ask any of your senior students which is easier to obtain, booze, or marijuana, and I guarantee that they will answer marijuana -- because they don't need ID.

Lastly, if you've read the proposition, you would know that employers can still fire employees if sage impairs their performance; being high while at school would probably count; and, most importantly, usage is restricted to those 21 and over -- so, unless you have really slow seniors, that shouldn't be an issue either. If they're high, they're still violating the law.

Eric W. said...

Prop 8 had a 52% majority - nowhere near the 2/3 or 3/4 I said. There's also no federal law in favor of same sex marriage.

I see where your argument is headed, though; the antebellum south probably would have passed something pro-slavery, and I agree it's a flaw. I never said it was a well thought out plan.

Eric W. said...

@Pomoprophet: do we let our teachers and students come to school drunk? This would be no different - marijuana use at school would most definitely affect job performance, so it's covered under Prop 19. Also, your comment about senior students: unless they've been held back 3 years, that's not really a problem (the age would be 21).

DADvocate said...

Legalizing pot in CA is going to create a nightmare for other states. Mexican drug cartels will grow it freely here and then ship it across the country causing an increase in crime in other states.

When I was a kid in Knoxville, TN hard liquor and wine were illegal everywhere within in 150-200 miles. I think it was legal in Nashville at the time.

There was some moonshining (and still is, pun intended), but most people just picked up plenty of wine and other spirits when on vacation. We would visit relatives in Oklahoma and Ohio and come back with a 3-6 month supply.

But, moonshiners didn't go wild and neither would the Mexican drug cartels. They'd probably be less of a force than now.

gbradley said...

When I was younger, the Legal limit for blood alcohol was .1%. Sometime in the 1980's it was reduced to .08 as it became obvious that inebriated drivers are a danger on the road.
Blood Alcohol can be verified easily in three ways.
What is the standard for Marijuana intoxication?

How is a Police officer going to tell if someone is too stoned to drive?

Just say no!

MikeAT said...

gbradley

Most departments have officers who are trained to evaluate if a suspect is under the influence of a drug, legal or illegal. On my department we call them DRE (Drug Recognition Evaluators).

In Texas if you are under the influence of a narcotic and it causes you to lose your mental or physical facilities, that is the standard for DUI.