Not too long ago, Californians were voting on Proposition 19, a 2010 ballot measure that would have legalized, taxed, and regulated marijuana in the state of California. With the measure only losing by a few percentage points, 46% in favor versus 54% against, it was a heartbreaking loss for those in support of it. There was however a positive you could pull out of this narrow loss; almost 50% of California residents believed that marijuana should be legalized in the state. Compare that to even 10 years ago and you’ll soon realize that more and more people are starting to open up to the idea.
Now let’s fast-forward to present day here in 2012. Just a few months ago, there were FIVE different measures that wanted to legalize marijuana in California in one form or another, with none of them gaining any real momentum as Prop. 19 did almost two years ago. One reason for this is because this time around, there aren’t as many dispensaries backing these measures with donations. Some would say the reason this is happening is because of the more recent federal crackdown in California that has wiped out and left some dispensary owners with nothing. The other reason some say is because along with legalization would come much lower weed prices and in turn would dig heavily into their profit margins.
Currently, the measure with the most support behind it would be the “Repeal Cannabis Prohibition Act”, written by defense attorneys who specialize in marijuana cases. In its legislation the measure would repeal state criminal laws on marijuana possession with the exception of driving under the influence. Also the state Department of Health would have 180 days to enact regulations before commercial sales would be legal. There is still a huge problem in the culture itself where common citizens and those involved in the medical marijuana industry are disagreeing on the process in which cannabis should be legalized. For example, Steve DeAngelo, owner of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, stands strongly behind the “Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act”. This piece of legislation would make the medical marijuana industry more legitimate as a whole by adding more oversight and controls to it.
‘A distinct minority of the dispensaries are actually supporting legal reform, maybe 10%,’ said Steve DeAngelo, executive director of the state’s largest dispensary, Harborside Health Center in Oakland. ‘That’s a symptom of an unregulated market. Anyone can jump in. And the people who jump in like gray areas. They like no regulations. They just want to jump in and make as much money as they can.’
This has clearly been an issue for some time not only in California but in Colorado as well where many have trouble seeing the divide between medical marijuana as it is and full legalization. DeAngelo’s belief is that once we show Californians that medical marijuana can be safely and responsibly distributed, the majority will be more likely to be on board with full legalization as there would already be a clear path to follow regarding growing, distribution and purchasing.
I myself have to say that I believe Mr. DeAngelo is 100% correct in his thinking. If the states that already allow medical marijuana can prove that it can be taxed and controlled in a professional, businesslike manner (similar to the alcohol industry), we might start seeing those haters from the past start to change their view when they see the benefits and successes it brings when done in the proper way.
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