Major Newspaper Endorses California’s Marijuana Legalization Proposal

texas marijuana legalizationOur buds from the Yes on Prop 64 campaign here in California have announced hat the East Bay Times (formerly Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and others) have said that Prop 64 is a “thoughtful proposal that should be passed” giving it their endorsement. Looks like California is well on the way to legalizing the herb for recreational use. Check out the press release they sent:

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Yes on Proposition 64 campaign announced today that California’s first major newspaper endorsement of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, has come out strongly in favor of the measure.

The East Bay Times (formerly the Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Hayward Daily Review, Fremont Argus, West County Times and other papers) of the Bay Area News Group, the largest publisher of daily and weekly newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, opined in favor of Proposition 64, calling it “solid,” “smart,” and “long overdue.”

The endorsement reads as follows:

Once again, California voters must decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. They have previously rejected such initiatives, and while Proposition 64 — this year’s incarnation — isn’t perfect, it is a much more thoughtful proposal that should be passed.

Proposition 64 would allow adults 21 years or older to use pot, grow up to six plants in their homes and possess about an ounce of marijuana and about a quarter ounce of hash.
The proposition piggybacks on the regulatory framework for medicinal use that state lawmakers finally developed last year.

Rules prohibiting public tobacco smoking would apply to pot, and driving under the influence of marijuana would still be banned, although that element still needs refinement. The initiative has no objective DUI blood-test standard for marijuana such as the .08 percent level for alcohol. But that’s because there’s currently no threshold for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, that reliably indicates impairment.

Prop. 64 also would regulate marijuana businesses, give cities and counties control over their location, levy taxes on pot production and sales and penalize those who operate without licenses.
In this new regulatory territory, the Legislature likely will tweak the rules as needed. Fortunately, Prop. 64 permits such change. It’s smart flexibility that many initiatives lack.

Current law lags behind societal norms. Forty-four percent of Americans polled last year told Gallup that they had tried marijuana. Even the current and past two presidents toked, although Bill Clinton infamously claimed he didn’t inhale.

Our police, judges and jailers have bigger issues than pot-smokers. We would have preferred uniform federal rules legalizing marijuana. But there’s no sign of that.

So once again, the states must lead. In 1996, California voters were the nation’s first to legalize medicinal use. Today, half the states permit it.

As for recreational use, California is following rather than leading. Four other states and the District of Columbia now permit it. Meanwhile, in 2010, 53.5 percent of California voters rejected a legalization initiative.

Opponents suggest Prop. 64 would open the airwaves to pot ads, because the initiative would only impose restrictions similar to those for alcohol. But it’s doubtful an outright broadcast ad ban, like that for tobacco, would withstand court challenge.

Opponents also note that a prior drug conviction cannot be the sole grounds for rejecting a license for cultivation or sale of pot. But that’s because the law acknowledges that people were previously ensnared by overly punitive drug laws. The state could still deny licenses to people with convictions involving trafficking or minors and would still have discretion for others.

Opponents will try to pick holes in Prop. 64, but the initiative is generally solid — and long-overdue.  California voters should approve Proposition 64.

Proposition 64 is a consensus measure based on recognized best practices and recommendations from hundreds of engaged citizens and organizations. It includes strong safeguards for children, workers, local governments and small businesses and strict anti-monopoly provisions and the toughest warning label and marketing-to-kids laws in the nation.

It is supported by the California Academy of Preventative Medicine and the California Medical Association — as well as California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, bipartisan elected officials including Democratic U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu and Jared Huffman and Republican U.S. Rep Dana Rohrabacher, and an unprecedented coalition including environmental leaders, business owners, small farmers, civil rights groups, public safety experts and social justice advocates.

Paid for by Yes on 64, Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana while Protecting Children, sponsored by business, physicians, environmental and social-justice advocate organizations. Major funding from Sean Parker and affiliated entities and Drug Policy Action – Non-Profit 501c4 (Committee).

Think California will actually legalize marijuana this year? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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