By Daniel Tekle
One of the most popular propositions on the ballot in 2016 is Proposition 64, calling for the legalization of marijuana in California. This is a landmark proposal whether we like the idea of it or not.
In California, the cannabis culture is quite prevalent. On Venice Beach, in Los Angeles, it is easy to notice the marijuana leaves painted on the boardwalk along with the plentiful, if not sketchy, doctors claiming to provide anyone with a medical marijuana prescription in just a single visit. Beyond Venice Beach, California is a “Cannabis Capital.” As mentioned in many famous songs by artists including Young Thug, Wiz Khalifa, and Miley Cyrus, California is well known as a hot spot for cannabis use.
On the campus of the University of California, Davis, when students were asked about what topics interest them in the upcoming election, the legalization of marijuana was the second most common response, second only to, of course, the selection of a president. When asked why marijuana should be legalized, I received many responses: “The taxes received from the legalization of marijuana could benefit our schools and infrastructure”; “weed carries much more benefits – health-wise – than it carries drawbacks”; and most strikingly, “If we were to legalize weed, we would be limiting the influx of weed coming from international, dangerous, drug traders that are harmful to our nation’s security and safety.”
However, there are some individuals who are clearly against the implementation of the legal purchase of marijuana. Many older, individuals, especially parents, are horrified that their children would be able to purchase and consume what is in their eyes a terrible drug. Additionally, many frequent marijuana users are worried that the law would in fact decrease their ability to purchase marijuana. One frequent cannabis smoker, who chose to be unnamed explained: “I don’t really want to go all the way over to the dispensary – or wherever they’ll sell weed – and then pay a tax on top of it. I’d rather just pay my current source and have my weed right there.” This individual illustrates the opinion of a small but valid group that would like to keep things as they are.
An even smaller group, possibly the most vocal against the legalization of marijuana, is the drug dealer population of California. One individual who sells marijuana illegally claimed: “I serve weed to put food on the table. I know its illegal, but this new law would make me lose my customers, and in turn my money.”
As of November 7th, California is poised to legalize marijuana with 58% supporting the measure and 37% being opposed to it (Ballotpedia).