Prop. 19, which would legalize marijuana in California, has proved to be the only ballot issue capable of stirring the electorate.
Forget about California’s senate and gubernatorial contests. Californians are most interested in weighing in on the future of pot in their state.
And recent polls indicate that Prop. 19 has a very good chance of passing. A recent Field Poll reported 47% of voters saying yes and 42% opposing.
The Prop. 19 page is the most visited initiative page on Ballotpedia.org and the “Yes on Prop 19” Facebook page has 196,311 fans. (That’s 43,750 more than Meg Whitman’s page).
Both Whitman and her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown have come out against Prop. 19, but that doesn’t mean that California’s greenest proposition yet won’t have an impact on the gubernatorial race.
Politico has floated the possibility that a high youth turnout for Prop. 19 could help California’s Democrats come Election Day.
“While the state Democratic Party is neutral on the ballot measure and its standard bearer and two U.S. senators are all opposed, Chairman John Burton gave a one-word answer to the San Francisco Chronicle back in April when asked at the party’s convention what will bring out young, first time Barack Obama voters again: “pot.”
The Stanford Review’ s Editorial Board released an endorsement for Prop. 19 two days ago, entitled, “Prop 19 About Marijuana Industry, Not Use.”
I thought the board made a sound argument about Prop. 19’s affect on the cultivation and sale of marijuana – it would take money out of the hands of cartels and eliminate some of the violence, which always exists when there is illegal drug trafficking.
However, the Board’s exploration into the proposition’s affects on marijuana use was, well, questionable to say the least:
“While marijuana use will likely increase if legalized, the story here is not all bad. Marijuana prohibition currently makes more harmful drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, relatively more attractive because they are more potent and less smelly and thus much easier to transport and consume undetected. We can expect many current drug users to choose cheaper, legal marijuana over other, harder drugs.”
Come on guys. Do you really expect us to believe that people choosing cocaine and heroin over weed because of its pungent smell is a noteworthy or even remotely politically relevant trend.
The Board also neglected to consider gateway drug theory, which asserts that marijuana and other less serious drugs are a stepping-stone to hard drug abuse.
If you’re still deciding on how to vote on Prop. 19, here is a truly illuminating discussion on the issue between Hoover fellow Joseph McNamara and Stanford Medical School professor Keith Humphreys.
Humphreys, an opponent of 19, frames the decision:
“No matter what we do, we are going to have a drug problem. We choose what kind of drug problem we want. You do the best you can.”
If you’d rather not read serious political discourse, check out this funny animated video which imagines what California might look like if weed is legalized.