Monday, November 8, 2010

Pot legalization advocates gearing up for 2012

Posted By on Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 3:44 PM

We're going to have to stop accusing pot heads of being lazy and unfocused: The folks backing Proposition 19 in California — which, had the voters approved it, would have legalized marijuana — are gearing up for a big come back in the next election, and this time they think they'll make some real progress.

Why should you care? Because legalizing pot is the best thing for our country: 1) Our government needs the tax revenue; 2) It's a natural pain killer that can be consumed in food or drinks, smoked or taken in tablet form; 3) Our prisons are already over-filled with people who are not violent criminals — and they're expensive; 4) Even though white people — you know who you are — are more likely to smoke pot, minorities are more likely to go to jail or prison for marijuana-related crimes; 5) It will be a boon for start-up business who will create jobs; 6) The fantasies about pot making people crazy are just that.

From The Los Angeles Times:

They see the election as a trial run that could lead to a campaign with a better message, a tighter measure and more money. Both the winning and losing sides say California's voters rejected this specific initiative, but remain open to legalizing the easily obtainable drug.

The proponents have a huge head start compared to where they were two years ago. At that time, regulating and taxing marijuana was the dream of a handful of Oakland activists. Now, the campaign has a broader base of supporters, including labor and civil rights leaders. Big-money donors have shown a keen interest. And the state's electorate and media have seriously debated the issue.

In addition, the presidential election is expected to draw far more young voters to the polls. If they had shown up Tuesday, supporters note, Proposition 19 might have come close to passing. Even so, they also point out with bemusement, legalization outpolled Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.

"The question about legalizing marijuana is no longer when, it's no longer whether, it's how," said Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group that will play a pivotal role in any 2012 ballot measures in California or other states. "There's a really strong body of people who will be ready to pull the lever in the future."

Read the rest of this article, by John Hoeffel, here.

This is the full documentary, "Grass: The History of Marijuana." So, get yourself a bowl and some popcorn ...

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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