Commentary

10/25/2010 by California Forward

Proposition 19: Legalization of marijuana

California Forward is dedicated to offering nonpartisan, informative, straightforward information about the propositions that will appear on the November 2 ballot. We will post informational articles on each ballot measure, to help you as you make your voting decisions.

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NOTE: California Forward’s work on governance reform may be affected by several of these measures, although we have not taken a position on them – with one exception. CA Fwd opposes Prop 27. Prop 27 would reverse the landmark redistricting reform plan that was enacted by voters in 2008 as Prop 11. California Forward endorsed Prop 11 and has been deeply involved -- with many other groups -- in supporting successful implementation of the reform since enactment. The opportunity to serve California through the new redistricting commission inspired tens of thousands of highly qualified Californians to apply for the job, which we applaud. We look forward to the new, independent commission taking control of state redistricting in 2011.

Proposition 19 has been widely debated across California. The measure to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana will go before voters on Nov. 2.

SUMMARY:

Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use

Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older

Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old

Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired

The Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance say the measure could save state and local governments tens of millions of dollars a year on incarceration and supervision costs. The measure is also expected to bring in tax revenue on production and sale of marijuana.

SUPPORTERS SAY:

Supporters of Prop 19 say the need for legalizing marijuana stems from California’s massive budget shortfall, and that it will help pay off California’s debts and revive the economy. They say millions of dollars and valuable public safety resources are needlessly wasted to target cannabis consumers, and millions more are lost from potential revenue.

This measure includes taxing cannabis sales and enacting laws that place age restrictions on the use and sale of the drug. Supporters argue that, by placing government regulations on the growth and sale of marijuana, a yes vote for Prop 19 would mean limiting the presence of violent drug cartels on the streets of California.

OPPONENTS SAY:

Opponents of Prop 19 say the measure would jeopardize public safety, and they cite drunk driving numbers in California to illustrate the point. The concern is that driving while stoned will increase, if the measure is approved.

Opponents also say there is not a coherent enforcement plan in the measure, and that it fails to establish a statewide regulatory framework. In addition, there is concern that the measure would allow people to smoke marijuana in the workplace.

CONCLUSION:

If California citizens approve the measure, many expect a Federal court showdown over legalizing marijuana.

For more information on this and all propositions on the Nov. 2 ballot, visit the California Secretary of State website, SmartVoter.org, or EasyVoterGuide.org.

Categories: Dear Gov, Elections

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