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Monday, October 4, 2010

EDITORIAL: Congratulations on Decriminalization, Prop 19 Still Needed

By Ron Crumpton

The decriminalization of marijuana is a huge step in the rights of Californians, but the shortcomings of decriminalization still cause major problems for smokers and the rest of Californians.

Marijuana is now an infraction, and that means that thousands of people will no longer be sent to prison for minor marijuana possession. This will save the state of California millions of dollars now that they will not have to house, feed and care for the medical needs of offenders.

However, it does absolutely nothing to stop the dangers involved in the continued illegal drug trade.

Basically, it is now legal to possess marijuana in California, but as long as you have the legal consumption of marijuana that is dependent upon the illegal production of marijuana the most hideous dangers that prohibition causes will still persist.

Street level dealers will still be facing jail-time for selling it, so it will still present a danger to the average smoker who has to purchase it.

It will still be sending billions of dollars to the Mexican drug cartels, and as long as the market for illegal marijuana exists, it will continue to fuel the violence on the Mexican side of the border.

In addition to keeping this money in California, Prop 19 would create legal jobs where the workers do not have to go to jail and would have to pay taxes on their salaries. Cities and counties would be able to collect sales taxes.

With all of California under such a budget crunch, why would you not make it legal to produce it?

Decriminalization helps smokers in some of the issues they face, but it fails to make marijuana productive for communities.

The one thing that Californians cannot do is see this as a reason not to turn out and vote for Prop 19.

Not only would it help with economic and safety issues, but it will allow Californians to take another step forward. A chance for the cannabis community to take another step towards legitimacy, a chance to say that our time has come and a chance to say that we cannot be persecuted for believing in the spiritual and healing value of this plant.

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

This prohibition has caused our community to live under tyranny. After all, we are talking about a medicine here. Most people who smoke marijuana have some ailment that marijuana helps to ease. It could be as serious as AIDS or cancer, or it could be something less threatening, yet still damaging, such as depression or stress.

Prop 19 will end California’s criminalization of an herbal remedy that has been used for thousands of years by numerous societies all over the world.

Prop 19 is an opportunity not only for Californians to stand up for themselves, but it is also an opportunity for Californians to stand up for the rights of our community throughout America and the world.

Prop 19, if it passes, will be the first death nail in the casket of prohibition. It will be a catalyst that sparks the fires of legalization in other states, and it will send a clear message to the federal government that the will of the people still means something in this country.

The passage of Prop 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, is the biggest opportunity the cannabis culture has ever had, and if it fails, then who knows when another opportunity of this magnitude will happen again.

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