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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Measure To Legalize Pot May Be On California's November Ballot

California residents may find that they are casting their vote in November regarding the legalization of marijuana. The original consensus was that marijuana advocates would wait until 2012 to put it on the ballot, but, 680,000 people signed a petition in favor of legalization causing the timeline to speed up. Marijuana buzz is sweeping the country, as more and more states tarry with the idea of medical marijuana programs; it seems like with every passing month the snowball increases it size and moves faster towards all out legalization. These are big times in the United States, nothing like this has happened since Roosevelt's New Deal; when a country hits hard financial times then it is time to legalize something in order to bring in revenue. Or at least that has been the American way in the past, to make money on the addiction and suffering of others. On the surface it seems like California and America are heading in the right direction: smaller prison populations, less crime, generates tax revenue, pharmaceuticals, hemp, oil, paper, etc... The pros listed are certainly worth agreeing with, it is clear that marijuana does have benefits and could be utilized in number of ways. However, California may be heading down a slippery slope and could possibly bring the whole country with it.

Richard Lee, the measure's main proponent, said to the LA Times, "It was so easy to get them, People were so eager to sign". Richard Lee has already invested over a million into the campaign, he owns a dispensary and a marijuana college called Oaksterdam in Oakland, California. "The initiative would allow cities and counties to adopt laws to allow marijuana to be grown and sold, and to impose taxes on marijuana production and sales. It would make it legal for anyone who is at least 21 to possess an ounce of marijuana and grow plants in an area of no more than 25 square feet for personal use", according to the LA Times. Medical marijuana has completely shifted how we look at marijuana in the United States, opening the door to all out legalization talks such as this; it appears at this point that the pro-marijuana campaign is having more success than those against it.

We are still a year out from the polls and naturally a lot will take place between now and then. It is still anyone's guess! What we can be certain of is that money will end having the final say in this debate. As with most political battles, those who spend the most have the best chance of passing something - even if it is the worst possible thing. In many people's eyes marijuana is already legal because it is so easy to get a recommendation to use cannabis. If this trend keeps up, marijuana and alcohol will be in the same class. My only hope is that addiction is considered in the debates and the public is made aware of the implications of legalizing an illicit drug.

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