Marijuana Not Legal In California


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The midterm elections on Tuesday, which eventually set a new majority in the House of the Representatives, were not the only point of interest for some Americans. California’s population was also called to decide upon the controversial Proposition 19, that would have legalized the personal use and possession of marijuana.

According to the proposal, licensed retailers would have had the permission to sell up to almost 30 grams of pot without any doctorʼs receipe to people older that 21. Besides that, people would have had the right to use the drug in non-public places, like their homes, and even grow marijuana for personal use. The law would have also allowed establisments to legally sell marijuana to their clients, or to transport the drug from one city or county to another, without regard to local laws of intermediate localities to the contrary. But, despite the campaign made in favor of the proposition, the voters rejected the ballot initiative which would have made California the first state of the Union in which pot related activities would not have been illegal.

The initiator of the proposition was Richard Lee, a marijuana legalization activist and medical marijuana provider from Ohio. He argued that his measure, had it been adopted, would have brought some $1.4 billion from drug taxation to the stateʼs budget and thus resolve a part of its budgetary funds problems. This way the money would have gone to the public and be used in the benfit of the people instead of going to the dangerous drug cartels which are now operating in California. Moreover, Lee argued that his proposal would permit law enforcement agents to focus their attention on more dangerous activities instead of hunting down people for several grams of marijuana.

On the other side, the opponents of the Proposition 19 argue that the proposal has many drawbacks which make its enforcement dangerous to the population. For example, the law to be does not regulates marijuana properly, like alchool or tabacco, but leaves such regulation to every city or county. Moreover, it  allows a person to drive if he or she had used pot before, as the act forbids only the use of marijuana while driving. It also would have allowed marijuana dealers to advertise their products in public, without any limitations, even in the proximity of schools, libraries and parks, or to grow marijuana in front or back yard of any residence in California, again regardless of its neighbours.

Despite their defeat on Tuesday, the activists in favour of the legalization of marijuana promise they will not stop there and will still be fighting for pot to be treated not like a drug, but like a vice.

But Proposition 19 was not the only ballot initiative Americans were called to decide upon, as other 160 propositions around the Unites States were voted yesterday. For example, in Colorado voters did not agree to modify the state constitution and to define ”personhood” as starting at the “the beginning of the biological development”, as some anti-abortion rights activists wanted. And, in Florida, citizens restricted the state legislatureʼs latitude in drawing legislative districts.11

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