Local Politics: Proposition 64

Local Politics: Proposition 64

Jong Hak Won, Columns Editor

As of now, four states, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon, have legalized marijuana for recreational use. California, as of now, has legalized marijuana for medical purposes only. However, that all may change on Nov. 8. Proposition 64 would legalize marijuana for recreational use for adults age 21 and over.

It would permit smoking in private homes and licensed businesses but smoking in a vehicle and in designated public areas remains illegal. In addition, mere possession within a school, daycare center, or youth center remains illegal and licensed businesses will not be permitted to sell within 600 feet of the aforementioned places.

  What voting “yes” means on Proposition 64:

  Voting yes would mean that the proposition passes and would legalize recreational marijuana for those age 21 and over and implements new taxes on cultivation and sale. Supporters for the “Yes on 64” campaign such as the California Democratic Party and the American Civil Liberties Union have made the following arguments:

  1. The proposition would generate new tax revenue and lower law enforcement costs. Much of the new tax revenue would go to funding new drug research and treatment. The estimated net-benefit is around $11 billion.
  2. It would also curtail any black market and cartel activity in relation to marijuana.
  3. The initiative has very specific safeguards to prevent the proliferation of recreational marijuana to schools and to underage minors.

  What voting “no” means on on Proposition 64:

  Voting no would mean that the proposition does not pass and California would maintain its old laws regarding recreational marijuana use and farming. Marijuana for medical purposes would still be legal however. Supporters for “No on 64” such as the California Republican Party and the Libertarian Party have offered these points in opposition:

  1. It increases the risk of driving under the influence of marijuana and would therefore increase the risk of traffic accidents.
  2. The proposition has loopholes that allow for indoor growing of marijuana within close proximity to areas like schools which could lead to an increase in illicit underage drug use.
  3. It would disproportionately impact low-income and low-privelege neighborhoods. The International Faith Based Coalition has publicly argued, “Why are there no limits on the number of pot shops that can be opened in poor neighborhoods? We will now have a string of pot shops to go with the two liquor stores on every block, but we still can’t get a grocery store. Proposition 64 will make every parent’s job tougher?”

If California passes this legalization measure, it would be the biggest victory for the legalization movement in the last few years. Although there are eight other states who have similar initiatives to Proposition 64, none of them would be as significant a landmark as California. By some measures, the national marijuana industry could triple from its current size if Proposition 64 passes.

Polls conducted in the state since August 2016 indicate that public support for the proposition hovers around 59 percent. However, given the recent unreliability of polls as well as the unique nature of this election, every vote will count in seeing this proposition pass or fail.