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Proposition 19. Smoke Two Joints In The Morning...

| 3 Comments

...smoke two joints at night.

I went to freshman orientation at LG's high school last week, and in his opening statement, the principal mentioned that by the end of their sophomore year, 50% of the high school kids in the nation have tried marijuana. So - de facto - it's as legal as alcohol.

Let's be clear. When I was in college, I did inhale. And when I was in grad school, I has a roommate for a year who was unstoned for - maybe - a week in the whole time we lived together. He's since written a book about his life and addictions (My Incredibly Wonderful, Miserable Life: An Anti-Memoir ); being stoned didn't appear to work out so well for him - although we've communicated recently and he seems to be doing more than OK. But I've used him as a cautionary tale for my sons, two of whom survived high school and college so far and all of whom seem to be doing just fine.

So I'm not exactly pro-chronic. But I am someone who thinks that the drug wars are wars we should withdraw from; I'd rather live with treating more addicts and fewer shot-up gang members, and the best way to deal with the various cartels in Mexico is simply to defund them. We're trying harder and harder and accomplishing less and less about drugs using the "ban them" approach. So it's time to try something different.

Proposition 19 isn't remotely a perfect law. But it's a good-enough law that's come at the right time.

It will doubtless trigger massive court battles, and a serious political conflict; at the end of it, if we're lucky and sober enough, we'll have drug policies that actually work. As a step in getting there, I encourage you to vote "YES" on Proposition 19.
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3 Comments

I agree we need to back away from the drug wars. Prop 19 doesn't do that. Reading the fine print of the initiative in the voter pamphlet:

1. Possession of less than one ounce by persons over the age of 21 is o.k. However, possession of less than one ounce is not enforced much now. Currently, possession of less than an ounce is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $100--that's it. So this is a pretty trivial change for inidividuals, albeit a huge change for dispensaries who can sell one once portions to their heart's content.

2. The initiative says nothing about possession by persons under the age of 21. If you’re caught with a joint and you’re 20 years old— existing laws apply (up to $100 fine).

3. Under the initiative, if you possess two ounces that you purchased for personal consumption, it's illegal and you could go to jail for up to one year.

4. On the other hand, the initiative would authorize you to cultivate up to 25 square feet of marijuana for personal consumption. It seems if you grow your own you can possess as much as 25 square feet will produce, but if you buy it, you are limited to an ounce. It’s like ending prohibition of alcohol and saying you can have only one bottle of wine in your wine cellar if you buy it at the store, but an unlimited amount if you make it yourself.

5. Noone will be able to sell marijuana unless a local city or county authorizes it. Cities and counties may authorize and regulate the sale of one ounce of marijuana or less to persons 21 years of age or older for personal consumption only. Cities and counties can authorize pot growing operations of any size. They can’t authorize possession of more than one ounce.

6. If you are 20 years old and you induce someone under 18 to use marijuana you “shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a period of three, five, or seven years.” On the other hand, if you give a joint to someone under 14 years of age, you “shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or five years.” Seven years in prison if you give a joint to your 17 year old brother; five years if you give a joint to a 10 year old???

7. If you are 25 and give a joint to your 18 year old girlfriend or boyfriend you go to prison for six months and are fined $1,000 for each joint (or is it each toke?). But your 18 year old brother who gives a joint to his 17 year old girlfriend “shall be punished in the state prison for three, four, or five years.”

I think the main beneficiaries of this initiative are the existing dispensaries. It doesn't do much to legalize marijuana overall, although we'll get to do away with the medical marijuana charade.

I think these initiatives need to become much more high level policy statements, like the marriage initiative. This micromanaged fine print is a mess. That's the main reason I'm voting no.

I used to smoke. Never regularly, but often, all the way through my PhD. Now the wife and I both in fields where it's death to our career. So I don't. I think it's silly, but better safe than sorry.

It's not that I think Pot should be legal, it's that I think it's waste of money to enforce it. We do far more damage throwing people in jail than anyone does actually smoking it.

When we look at what's legal/illegal, I think that's the most important point.

Legalize it...tax it and pay for my pension with the taxes. Legalize them all. And yes, just like with alcohol and cigarettes, btw...if you give it to a kid, it's a crime and it doesn't matter how old the kid is either. Laws regarding an adults influence on a kid are about the age and responsibility of the adult, not the age of the kid.

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