Where’s the California love?

Kate Krivitzky

In the wake of the San Francisco Giants’ big win, California had an amazing opportunity to accomplish two monumental tasks in merely a week’s time: win the World Series and become the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Unfortunately, California really dropped the ball on this one. And this is not the first time California screwed up. After granting same-sex couples the right to marry in June 2008, voters repealed the law in November of that same year and subsequently denied gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

While California is one of the 14 states, plus the District of Columbia, that already allow medical use of marijuana, Prop 19 would have made it legal for anyone over 21 to grow, possess and use small amounts of marijuana. But on Nov. 2, 54 percent of voters shot down this important ballot, making it that much harder for the rest of America to jump on the cannabis bandwagon.

A major part of California’s downfall in the cannabis department was the way they approached the “Yes on Prop 19” campaign. They argued that legalizing cannabis would eliminate the Mexican and South American drug cartels. The problem here is that the drug cartels are more concerned with getting cocaine across the border, not marijuana. Additionally, California is in massive amounts of debt. Prop 19 supporters claimed that taxing cannabis would create billions of dollars in revenue. Although it would create lots of revenue, it would not create enough to even put a dent in the state debt.

Californians can already obtain medicinal marijuana fairly easily, so it is understandable that many of the stoners out there would not come out to vote yes because they can not only obtain it easily, but do not have to pay a tax on it. Unfortunately, this failure to ratify Prop 19 seriously stunted the progress of legalization of cannabis for the rest of the country.

Here’s why.

Everyone knows that smoking cigarettes can and will give you cancer and that drinking large amounts of alcohol can and will impair your judgment. But what exactly are the harmful effects of marijuana? Will it cause psychosis, cancer, impairment? That’s just it; nobody knows. There is no box of weed that you can pick up at the nearest 7-Eleven with the attorney general’s statement claiming exactly why it is bad for you and what effects it can have. Doctors prescribe medical marijuana to help people, to make them feel better. So again I ask, if this drug is so detrimental to society, can someone please box it up and slap a label on it so I can understand why we all shouldn’t be lighting up a joint?

If the answer is because smoking it causes cancer, then why can’t we just make weed brownies? If the answer is because it impairs your judgment, then why can’t we use it the same way we use alcohol?

No one is saying go operate large machinery or drive a car while under the influence of Mary Jane, but I do not and will never understand the problem with sitting outside on a summer day with some good friends, eating a batch of delicious pot brownies. The worst thing that will happen is that everyone will get the munchies, laugh a little and probably sit around watching “South Park” for awhile. Sounds really dangerous to me.

So California, while you’re sitting pretty lighting up your medicinal marijuana, the rest of the country, minus those 14 states, remains backward and halted in their progress toward legalizing pot. I blame you.