Prop 19 was defeated in California — and that leaves us in a strange state of wonderment as we ponder “What’s Next?” — in the drive to de-criminalize marijuana. As you can see in this image from NORML, the “Make Pot Legal” movement is slowing taking over the lower 48 in spite of the 19 defeat. Here’s a larger shot of that image for easier viewing.
Andrew Sullivan’s excellent blog published a thoughtful and fascinating letter from a reader in Mendocino: The Pot Capital of California. Here’s a taste of that reader’s argument:
We have schools that lose enrollment because illegal pot busts of 20-30 families in one district means kids don’t show up to school. Happens all the time around this time of year – harvest time. When kids miss school, their grades tank and the district loses revenues for each day they are out. When the grades tank and the revenue drops, the school “rating” heads south. If the schools’ rating drops, the community is less attractive to newcomers. A less attractive community is less attractive to potential employers thinking of relocating here. If they don’t come here, then there is no economic development. And if there is little economic development, then there is a dwindling tax base to pay for public services. Ask a County sheriff to drive you down a main street in one of our towns and he or she will point out all the “retailers” who launder their pot money through their sham businesses. He’ll show you them right after he tells you how he had to lay off officers due to the dwindling cash problem up here.
The illegal growers also tap into our public creeks and rivers and suck them dry, or worse, steal the water for their thirsty enterprises from ranchers who then receive a large water bill from the local municipality. Illegal, large grows require massive amounts of fertilizer, which is rarely disposed of properly, causing all kinds of environmental problems.
Make sure you read the whole letter on Sullivan’s blog because it is a tremendous education about the social and economic reality illegal marijuana farms are having on all of us — and it doesn’t matter if we accept that argument or not — because it is still happening all around us.
NORML also provides a thoughtful examination of why, how, and where Prop 19 failed — and how they plan to specifically make sure those failures don’t happen a second time:
It’s not that legalization must be approved, it is that prohibition must be ended. LEAP speakers made the point that every test on a baggie of pot for a $100 ticket means a crime lab test of a rape kit has to wait, but it came too late to make a commercial out of that point. We need commercials with high school weed dealers in parking lots and hallways, dealing without any regulations or ID checks. We need commercials with indoor marijuana grow factories taking over suburban neighborhoods because there are no legal commercial grows. We need commercials with illegal outdoor grows polluting our state parks. We need commercials of SWAT teams breaking down doors over a pot plant, abusing families, while the rapist, murderer, and thief escape detection.
Marijuana is here to stay. States all over the nation are approving that Weed for medicinal purposes even though the federal government still prosecutes marijuana possession.
Which side will give in first? The pot smokers or the Gringo Federales with guns and badges?
I say let’s legalize marijuana, control it, test for being under the influence of it, and then tax the heck out of it. Then we remove the criminal element from the scene and we create a safer experience for those around us who want to experiment and, perhaps, finally find some inner peace and tranquility.
I’d much prefer to be stuck in a room with a bunch of pot smokers than being trapped in the same cell with a bunk of drunks.