The Battle Continues – Legalizing Marijuana in California
The debate to legalize marijuana in California is on yet again. The state is saddled with huge budget deficits and proponents of the decriminalization movement argue that it would produce north of a billion dollars annually in tax revenue for the state. California, land of disenfranchised misfits, has a long tradition of liberal idealism as well as arch conservatism. Remember Regan shut down the Berkeley campus and scolded the kids for acting up. This would seem to a natural reach across the aisle issue, tapping into both republican libertarianism and liberal freedom of choice. The state already has laws on the books making marijuana “legal for medicinal purposes”. What does that mean in real terms? It means that any pot smoking doctor will write you a prescription for a hang nail, anxiety, back pain, glaucoma, whatever. The downside for some is that it labels you as a user of a substance that is “bad” or at least not approved by the government. Remember it is alcohol that does the most damage to society and the individual. The state is legitimately looking at the issue. Iconic former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, says, “People are no longer outraged by the idea of legalization”. Chong says, “Yea, man!” In an effort to inch toward legalization, the city of Oakland, facing no opposition voted to tax the marijuana dispensaries at the insistence of the owners of the stores themselves. It was an effort to demonstrate that this is an idea that can work. So what happened? There was an economic boom in the neighborhoods and people got high. Of course people would be getting high if the neighborhood remained in urban squalor.
Let’s say they get this passed. What will that do to the federal law making Marijuana illegal? Will it set up a further war on drugs? Will it turn into more of a civil war? Will California finally succeed? Will people get high and eat Twinkies? Will Californians no longer swirl wine in their glasses and glibly pontificate the virtues of their perfect weather” paradise”. Is it the alcohol lobby that opposes this? Oh, California, what are we going to do with you?