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California can be the lead on legalized marijuana

On December 5, 1933, America ended its disastrous social experiment with alcohol prohibition. What followed was the workable compromise position that we still have: legal – but taxed and regulated.

Here in California, we will soon vote on whether to establish the same kind of compromise position on recreational marijuana. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state, and Washington, D.C. have already done so. Here’s one example of their experience:

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, after one year of retail sales and two and a half years of legal possession in Washington state (published 6 July 2015), “...retail marijuana sales have generated over $80 million in tax revenues and the state has saved millions of dollars by no longer arresting and prosecuting low-level marijuana offenses. Meanwhile, violent crime rates have declined, … and statewide rates of youth use and traffic fatalities have remained stable.”

California should be the lead state on this issue. We have the resources to make our state the very model for marijuana policy reform. Passage of Proposition 64 will give us a good start.

That said, Prop 64’s Section 2 Paragraph J limits only cultivation of non-medical marijuana to small and medium businesses for the first five years. That limitation should be extended to all phases of the industry. There’s no point in simply replacing Mexican cartels with American equivalents. With a legal marijuana industry, the all-cash business model can (and must) be replaced by a traditional, accountable one.

John H. Terrell


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