Wednesday, December 16, 2009

California, Propositions and Controversy.

One great/horrible thing about living in California is we get to vote on controversial propositions that make national headlines.

You have to be living under a rock to not have heard of proposition 8.  I got to let my voice be heard in the voting booth on this major controversial issue.

Now is seems like I get to be apart of yet another unrelated, but sure to be just as controversial proposition: legalizing marijuana.

Tax And Regulate Cannabis is claiming they have enough signatures to create a proposition for 2010 that will both legalize marijuana and allow state and local governments to tax it.  They even have a store so you can sport your favorite apparel supporting the legislation. Last minute Christmas presents anyone? :) (To be read sarcastically)

Anyways, I'm not trying in any way to support/fight this legislation.  I just think it is funny that every election cycle in California seems to produce yet another controversial proposition.


  1. While I am all in favor of citizen involvement in politics, I think California is a great example of too much direct involvement from the masses. Of course Colorado has "medical" marijuana, which is essentially legalized use, so I'm not in much of a position to talk.

  2. Your are also from Oregon with their controversial Euthanasia Law: Crazy Oregon/Colorado/wherever Nick happens to be living voters.

  3. In regards to the "medical" marijuana, I think the most honest news story I ever heard about it came from NPR. The reporter was outside a dispensary for "medical" marijuana in California and he was interviewing people who had just purchased marijuana. The people who buy it must have a doctor's note and a "valid" chronic illness. One man the reporter interviewed had his doctor's note and the reporter asked him what the doctor had put down as the medical reason for allowing him to buy marijuana. The chronic "illness" listed was "stress". The reporter asked the man what made him so stressed out. The man responded that he suffered from stress because he had been smoking marijuana since he was a kid, and that made him stressed out... Sounds like in California addiction is a valid medical condition to buy marijuana.

    I guess that if that is the state of your State it only make sense to just be honest about it and legalize the stuff and at least make some money off of it. Unfortunately I don't think will help anyone in the end.

  4. Well, I'll give you my own two cents on the matter:
    1. I think people should avoid marijuana, alcohol and tobacco like the plague.
    2. Despite #1, tobacco and alcohol are legal.
    3. Despite popular opinion, marijuana is not significantly more addictive or dangerous then alcohol and tobacco.

    Therefore, to be honest it is hard for me to justify making marijuana illegal while allowing alcohol and tobacco to be legal.

    This doesn't mean I will support the legislation. *Read #1 above a few times.* Nevertheless, I do think marijuana is held to a different standard, mostly for political reasons.

  5. Legalization of marijuana would work wonders for California's budget and shows promise in relieving overcrowded prisons and possibly even reduce crime from drug trafficking.

    However, where do we draw the line? This could be said about all kinds of dangerous substances as well as things like prostitution? Do we legalize it all?

    I think there does need to be a line. Unfortunately, if tobacco and alcohol is on the legal side of the line, what do you do with something like marijuana that technically is not much worse for you? Ban it out of tradition?

    I guess you could make the case for banning as it is viewed by some as more of a gateway drug to harder substances than alcohol or tobacco, though I have no data proving it.

  6. But just to be clear, in case I didn't emphasize it enough: you would be crazy to abuse alcohol, tobacco or marijuana.

  7. It is a dangerous slope to say "It is justifiable to legalize X because Y is already legal and Y is really worse than X." (Not that you are saying that, just that a lot of people I know use that argument.) If turn about really is fair play, then can't we equivalently argue "We should ban Y because we already ban X and Y is even worse than X"? However, it seems to be a part of human psychological nature to be more adverse to banning things than to permitting things. This is why the first version of this argument is touted as valid, but the second will most often be met with mocking and other derision. This is also why both sides of the abortion issue label themselves as "pro." (Either "pro-life" or "pro-choice".)

    However, back to the topic at hand, it is an interesting (and mildly disturbing in my opinion) byproduct of our federal system of government that the political results in one state (most often the US's most populous and arguably most politically active state -- California) can draw attention from and set the tone for news and politics around the country. Truly, "no [State] is an island" (except maybe Hawaii, but that's more of an archipelago). Politics is not, and cannot, be done in a bubble (or, at least, it would have to be a really big bubble). Also, given California's collective personality, it's not that surprising how often it brings up really controversial topics. As always, great post.

  8. " then can't we equivalently argue "We should ban Y because we already ban X and Y is even worse than X"? "

    I agree, this is just as valid as the other way around as you suggest. I guess the only problem is we tried banning alcohol and it gave rise to all sorts of problems. I would be interested if the legalization of marijuana would cut back crime and other problems just as repealing prohibition did.

    However, I do have my reservations.

    One things for sure: California seems to have some crazy propositions and if enough people support them they will become law. It's crazy.

    As always Bill, great comment.

  9. About prohibition I should write that a problem was the fact that in Europe for example the persons were against it so when they were going in USA, they were attacking it ; nonetheless if there is enough countries together against something, it could work.

    P.-S. : I did answer you on my blog.

  10. I don't want to pay taxes... dead and taxes, I'm pretty sure many of us know this phrase and we always said: god damn it...
    but it's the truth the only way to not pay taxes it's you to go and live in the mountains for the rest of your life.
    Thanks for sharing, interesting post.


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