It’s RMJ time again as we consider Prop64 that will appear on the November ballot and invite Californians to not only legalize the dear weed but allow adults to possess, purchase, transport, and give to another adult an ounce of marijuana, all for recreational purposes. Moreover, Prop64 would “prohibit local governments from banning any indoor residential growing of marijuana, provided the crop does not exceed six plants.”
I was motivated to get back to the MJ issue by Union columnist Terry McLaughlin’s article (here) in this morning’s (2sep16) edition of the newspaper. Terry’s article is a substantive and informative piece that unfortunately confuses the issues by introducing irrelevant asides about MMJ which really have nothing to do with the RMJ thrust of the proposition. I will try to avoid a similar temptation in the sequel. Full disclosure – Terry McLaughlin is also an ideological fellow traveler and a friend of both Rebanes.
My position on legalizing MJ has been on record for years (see here), and I believe that the legalization of RMJ will come to pass across the land in the various forms determined by the lower jurisdictions of states and counties. As readers know, I am a proponent of local control and governance to the reasonable extent possible. However, Prop64 misses on several fronts as a positive step in this direction.
When considering the legalization of RMJ we should keep in mind that it has been shown to be a ‘gateway drug’ to more serious narcotics like heroin as reported on a recent edition of 60 Minutes. McLaughlin also cites some Washington state stats about “deaths in marijuana related car accidents” doubling since RMJ was legalized. Additionally, it has been clinically shown that RMJ consumption by teenagers puts a permanent dent into the cognitive processing of their brainbones which at that age already do a poor job of assessing risks.
What concerns me about the latter is the impact of Prop64 related sleaze whose proponents have fought to deny voters ballot information spelling out the proposition’s allowance of RMJ grows and media advertising of same. The impact of airing Joe Camel has been established, especially on young people. No rocket science is required to transfer that experience to a buxom Mary Jane on the boob tube showing how sociable and cool it is to light up or pop a brownie. Apparently a California judge has put the kibosh on RMJ advertising, so hopefully that will no longer be an issue.
The bottom line for me for opposing Prop64 is that it removes the element of local control. We in Nevada County could no longer determine how/whether RMJ can be produced and consumed here. Commercial Street in Nevada City already smells to high heaven during summer weekend evenings. After Prop64 that could turn into an olfactory treat to filter out tourists and locals not disposed to such aromas. In sum, I think a better proposition could be written to permit a more controlled and controllable way for consuming RMJ in California. (Yes Virginia, even conservetarians are in favor of some level of government regulations.)