Please vote Yes on Prop 19

If you smoke cannabis or know someone who does and you live in California, this may be the vote you most remember in your life. It is pivotal to the future legal and social status of cannabis consumers everywhere — a mark of where we stand in society, communities, workplaces, and our families. Will we continue to be subject to arrest, incarceration, asset forfeiture, discriminatory drug testing, loss of jobs, benefits and custody rights, the dangers of the illicit market, and the stigma that marijuana prohibition perpetuates? Is this the next positive step towards exercising our rights as equal partners in society with a growing acceptance and tolerance that common sense cannabis policy holds in store?
This is our historic opportunity to shift a paradigm that has been operating since at least 1937, when the US outlawed marijuana. Prohibition is a scourge wreaking havoc on our lives, devastating our Constitution, and wasting billions of dollars and resources criminalizing a plant and good people who use it. It clogs our courts and our prisons. It has crippled our hemp industries and devastated family farms and forests alike.
The enormity of this moment should not be understated. It has been 38 years since non-medical marijuana legalization was last on the California ballot – which, coincidentally also was numbered Prop 19. It’s been 14 years since voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, Prop 215. No one knows how long it will be until we have another chance, but we do know that every day people are arrested for marijuana in California.
We are therefore surprised to hear some ‘legalizers’ oppose Prop 19 to wait for ‘something better.’ There is only one marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot this year, and there is no guarantee this opportunity will come again anytime soon. So the choice is clear. We urge an enthusiastic vote: “Yes’ on Prop 19.
When personal use and cultivation are “lawful activities,” it changes everything. No longer will an odor of cannabis be automatic probable cause to search your home or person. No longer will you be labeled a ‘criminal,’ ticketed and fined over a small bag in your trunk or purse. No longer will you face the inflated prices that prohibition and the illicit market command for cannabis, as prices drop and adults grow their own and share.
If it passes, Prop 19 will make it easier to protect patients’ rights and the gains we’ve made with medical marijuana. Doctors will still need to approve patients’ larger dosages and patient collectives will continue to play their unique role in providing access. But no longer will cannabis be an illegal medicine, so both stigma and skepticism will soon fall away. Passing Prop. 19 will send a message to law enforcement and to the cities and counties currently banning and clamping down on medical cannabis dispensaries that voters want legal outlets. Prop 19 will allow for profit as well as non-profit activity, which makes it clear that cities can permit retail sales of medical marijuana as well.
Change of this magnitude cannot always be smooth. The challenge for many of our readers will be to start planning now for how to engage with a safe, legal, regulated, and commercial market in California localities. That may be as consumer, producer, product development, employee, business operator, or entrepreneur in an emerging industry that will bring jobs and new revenue streams to our cash-strapped state. It’s not too early to start organizing and lobbying for regulations that benefit and sustain your communities.
We may stand on the dawn of a new era, where all adults 21 and over can use, possess, grow, and share small amounts of cannabis with other adults if they just follow a few simple rules. The whole world is watching and waiting for California to make the first move towards legalization.
Tell your friends and family. Register to vote, volunteer, donate and phone bank for the campaign to help get-out-the-vote. Go to to see what you can do to get involved. Make this the vote you remember for advancing the rights of cannabis consumers the world over.
This is our time. This is our moment. On Nov. 2, please vote Yes on Prop. 19.

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