L.A Times Supports Marijuana Legalization
From the L.A. Times:
“Six years ago California voters were asked to make recreational marijuana legal under state law and they declined to do so. But the close decision — 46% voted “yes” on Proposition 19 — suggested that the battle was not yet over. At that time, The Times opposed Proposition 19 not because legalization was necessarily a bad idea, but because it was a poorly drafted mess that would have created a regulatory nightmare.
In the years since, a lot has changed. Four states, starting with Colorado and Washington, have legalized adult recreational use, without major problems. Half of the states now allow medical marijuana. Canada is working on legislation to legalize adult use next year. And Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have suggested that, if elected, they wouldn’t use the federal prohibition against marijuana to undermine state legalization efforts.
There has also been a huge shift in thinking on drug policy, as more people question the effect of the decades-long war on drugs on law enforcement expenditures, overcrowded prisons, marginalized communities and violent drug cartels. In the case of marijuana, there is growing support for the argument that the cost of enforcing prohibition is too great and delivers too few benefits.
By sending mixed messages, the federal government has effectively ceded its role and left it to states to create a new national marijuana policy.
In November, Californians will again consider whether to legalize pot, this time with Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Voters will have to ask themselves whether the time has come to treat marijuana less like heroin and more like alcohol — as a regulated but acceptable product for adult use. Do the risks of legalization outweigh the costs of prohibition? Does Proposition 64 strike the right balance between allowing adult Californians to make their own recreational choices and protecting their health and safety? Does the measure put cannabis-industry profits ahead of public health? What does it mean that marijuana will be legal under California law but still illegal under federal law?
On balance, the proposition deserves a “yes” vote. It is ultimately better for public health, for law and order and for society if marijuana is a legal, regulated and controlled product for adults. Proposition 64 — while not perfect — offers a logical, pragmatic approach to legalization that also would give lawmakers and regulators the flexibility to change the law to address the inevitable unintended consequences.
Proposition 64 would not change the fact that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, and that is a serious complicating factor. Growers, sellers and even consumers are at risk if a new administration in Washington suddenly decides to enforce federal law. Is that likely to happen? Four states have already legalized recreational use and five more, including California, are voting on legalization in November, and 25 states allow medical marijuana. By choosing not to stop the states, President Obama and Congress have essentially permitted more liberal marijuana laws. At the same time, however, they have been unwilling to amend federal law to make clear what is and isn’t allowed. In fact, the Drug Enforcement Agency decided last month to maintain marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it is as addictive as heroin and has no medical value, despite the fact that half the states in the nation permit medicinal use.
By sending mixed messages, the federal government has effectively ceded its role and left it to states to create a new national marijuana policy that legalizes marijuana with minimal harm and meaningful protections. Proposition 64 is California’s attempt to do just that. The Times urges a “yes” vote.”
To read the complete article visit The L.A Times