California rejects pot legalization by vote

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By Tressa Eckermann – Contributor

One of the hot-button issues for the last few elections has been the legalization of marijuana, especially in California. The state already has a law allowing the use of medical marijuana. If Proposition 19 would have passed it would have allowed for the legal use of pot under recreational circumstances. Fifty-three percent of the electorate voted against the proposition.

For a long time I never really had an opinion on the matter. Pot and its legalization have never directly affected me, and I never saw it as an issue. Like many college students in their early twenties, I came from the Nancy Reagan “Just Say No” generation.  Maybe it’s the hidden rebel in me, but I could care less if pot is legalized. However, because of the Reagan campaign, I know that using pot for any extended period of time probably isn’t a good idea. When I take a step back and look at the situation, though, I can’t see what the big deal is.

I don’t smoke it, and I don’t hang out with any one who does, but what’s the harm? I’ve always been thought there are a lot worse things people could be doing than smoking pot. My father, a conservative Republican who grew up in the 1970s, has said many times, “So what? It’s just pot. Besides, doesn’t California have other problems they need to worry about?”

An article published in the San Fransisco Chronicle just after the recent election caught my attention, especially a quote by UC Davis law professor Vikram Amar, who is an expert on marijuana policy.

“There were a lot of people who sort of supported it but weren’t sure about the measure because it was an experimental thing, but once it became more complicated it became less sexy,” Amar said.

Perhaps that’s why the measure didn’t pass. Many people, even marijuana farmers themselves, have said that they’re against the measure because it would hurt their businesses. I’ve personally heard someone say that they didn’t want it legalized because it would hurt the bill that has already been passed for legalized marijuana.

Or maybe it’s just that: it’s not an issue, just a knee-jerk reaction. Who actually sits around having serious philosophical discussions about legalizing pot? Almost everyone who thinks pot should be legal has made that decision pretty quickly, as have the people who don’t want it legalized.

I’m not saying that we should all go fly out to California and storm the streets with signs that have quotes from Cheech and Chong movies on them, and I‘m not saying that California voters made the wrong decision. They voted for what they thought was right for their state.

I would have actually preferred it if Proposition 19 had been accepted though. I see no harm in the legalization of marijuana. There are more important things ready to be debated.

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