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Vote carefully on Prop 19

Original post made by Amos Irwin, Barron Park, on Oct 28, 2010

On November 2nd, Californians will decide whether or not to legalize marijuana. I have no personal interest in this legislation because I don’t smoke marijuana. When I graduated from Gunn High School in 2003, I considered drug policy reform a pointless effort championed by ex-hippies and juvenile delinquents. I changed my mind freshman year at Amherst College after attending a presentation by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). Police officers and judges who dedicated their lives to enforcing our drug laws criticized the War on Drugs for overloading prisons, deepening racial inequality, and creating massive profits for drug dealers. Today, as a grad student in international relations at the Fletcher School, I see America’s drug problem funding urban warfare in northern Mexico, fuelling civil war in Colombia, creating gangs in El Salvador and Honduras, and ruining our relationship with most of Latin America.

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Comments (5)

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Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Anything to put the hurt on Mexican drug cartels is a good thing.

Vote yes on 19

Like this comment
Posted by Sceptic by nature
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2010 at 8:03 am

I wish I had the faith that this would make things easier. I feel that we could possibly be shifting the problem.

Drug dealers would still exist, but I suspect they would be aiming at younger kids so our middle schools and high schools would become greater targets. I also tend to think that the dealers would try to undercut prices at stores and provide "home delivery service" or other benefits to keep their customers.

As a society we are trying to stamp out cigarette smoking in public places and now there will be more of a problem as pot smokers become more blatant. I hate the smell of cigarette smoke having grown up and worked in very smokey environments in the past. Walking around public areas can be very unpleasant as I smell the cigarette smoke and also pot smoke, and if it becomes legal then this smell which tends to linger longer than cigarette smoke, will become more widespread.

If making vices legal is the aim what will be next? Legalizing prostitution?

Be careful indeed, think this thing through. Don't jump onto the let's get tax from it or get the authorities looking for more severe drugs bandwagon. Just think what it might do to our quality of life.

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Posted by P'ville
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm

My concern is that if marijuana is legalized we will have to deal with an increase in stoned drivers. The DUI/cell phone/texting problem is bad enough already. No sense in making it worse.

There is plenty of stinky pot smoke in Palo Alto already. That also would become worse if Prop 19 is passed. Are people really dumb enough to believe that Prop 19 will hurt the drug cartels? By providing them with a much larger customer base, Prop 19 would greatly increase their business and presence in California. Local growers will be unable to fill the gap in supply and demand due to Federal law enforcement. Mary Jane Weed is still illegal in Uncle Sam's eyes.

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Posted by Conflicted, but no
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 30, 2010 at 6:24 am

As with alcohol, I would tend toward legalizing it as a libertarian bent.

On the other hand, as with alcohol, there would be more deaths from car accidents and other accidents as it becomes ever easier to obtain pot.

It is a genie in a bottle. Once out, we can't put it back in.

I was almost tempted to vote for it on the basis of lowering "profits" to growers and sellers, but in the end, that does not make sense. The freer the market, the more money there is in it. I suspect it would do the opposite.

So, I will vote no, much to the chagrin of every libertarian I know. ( Perhaps I am a "do no harm" person above a "libertarian")

Like this comment
Posted by Adobe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 31, 2010 at 9:53 pm

I've been on the fence on this one, but after thinking about it more, I think I'm going to vote "no", for three reasons:

1. The notion that legalizing marijuana will sweep away drug-related organized crime similar to what happened after Prohibition was lifted seems flawed, because the majority of drug violence is fueled by trade in hard drugs like cocaine and heroin, which will remain illegal.

2. Legalization will inevitably be viewed by many as an endorsement of pot smoking by the government. Usage will go way up, especially among young people--not something I view as a desirable outcome as a father of young children.

3. As a recent NY Times article shows (see link below), legalization itself can result in a rise in crime as areas with lots of marijuana vendors become magnets for criminals and seedy types.

Web Link

In any case, the Obama administration has already said they'll fight this if it passes, so legalization might not even occur even if the proposition passes.

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