Proposition 19 For Dummies
Been hearing a lot about Proposition 19 recently? Not sure of exactly what it’s going to bring to California? Read on for our guide!
What is it?
Proposition 19, formally known as “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010” is essentially a referendum (a vote on a particular issue by all the people to whom it may concern) that will be put to the people of California on November the 2nd 2010 to legalize the personal use of cannabis. In California, a ballot proposition can be put forward for a vote by the people by either the State legislative or by a petition signed by enough members. Proposition 19 was put forward as a petition by Marijuana legalization activist Richard Lee. It needed 433,971 signatures to qualify as a ballot…it gained 694,248 signatures!
So, if passed, what will prop 19 do? It will:
• Allow anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of cannabis.
• Allow people to grow cannabis in a private area of up to 25 square feet.
• Allow people to consume cannabis in non-public areas.
• Give California state (and local government) the ability to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis, in a similar way to alcohol and cigarettes.
There are two major benefits that Prop 19 will bring to California if passed: Firstly, the huge economic benefits, and secondly, the ability to weaken the drug cartels’ vice on drug trade in the United States, much of which passes through California…
In this year alone, the United States as a whole (both federally and at a state level) has spent roughly $33,000,000,000 on the war on drugs. Of course, this includes money being spent on hard drugs, but cannabis accounts for roughly 40-55% of the money used. Now, the money that is spent to try and prevent the use and illegal sale of cannabis has huge potential for use elsewhere. For example, instead of prosecuting cannabis use, the government could use this money to support the 9.5% of US citizens who are unemployed. Similarly, jailing people who have used small amounts of cannabis not only costs a large amount (roughly $60 per inmate per day) but makes future employment for these harmless users much harder to come by.
Taxing and regulating cannabis would generate up to $1.4 billion in revenue per year for California. Similarly, $200 million of taxpayer money will be saved, due to less inmates in local jails. It is also estimated that California will generate $12-18 billion in spinoff industries such as tourism and coffee houses. The figures would be similar to what Amsterdam currently gets! All these savings could be put towards creating jobs, as it’s estimated that if Prop 19 passes, approximately 100,000 jobs will be created. Passing it would also help fight the Mexican drug cartels and stop the 6k death toll that has occurred this year as a direct result of their actions, as it is estimated that 60% of their income comes from marijuana trafficking.
How likely is it that prop 19 will pass?
Given the benefits to the plant and its superior effectiveness over many prescription drugs for treating ailments, it’s surprising that marijuana has not been legalised yet. While support for such an act has been steadily increasing over recent years, resistance has been strong, mainly due to leftover beliefs from the “Reefer Madness” smear campaign of the 30s and 40s. Good news can be found in Proposition 215’s vote count, however – in 1996, 55.6% of citizens voted yes for medicinal marijuana. The hopes are that voters will once again come out in such force.
Currently 14 states other than California have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana (Alaska, Colorado, Washington DC, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington). So, if Proposition 19 is passed and benefits California in the way that has been predicted, it is possible other states may follow… We can hope!
– The Vapeitup Team
If you want more information about Proposition 19, please visit Proposition 19 Guide and Proposition 19 Twitter.
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