Federal government clouds effort to legalize marijuana
If the shifting moral consensus of Americans was ever in doubt, look no further than Proposition 19. This proposition represents the single most groundbreaking stride in the legalization of marijuana, while it simultaneously represents a full out cultural shift of mindsets in Americans.
The long-standing taboo against the evils of marijuana is slowly breaking. The glorification of marijuana is ever more prevalent in today’s society, as shown heavily in Prop 19. California voters young and old are anxious to try and pass the proposition during the state’s midterm elections.
The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 would allow any person over the age of 21 to possess, cultivate and transport up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use, as well as permit local governments to regulate and tax commercial production.
Years ago, a similar proposition would have been out of the question. The ending of the prohibition on marijuana is seemingly in the grasp of Americans, which has come much faster than many have anticipated.
Proposition 19 represents the hard work of many Americans who wonder why these steps toward legalization haven’t come sooner — and leaves many other Americans asking what has happened to degrade our society to a level that tolerates legal pot.
Californians are chomping at the bits to vote on Proposition 19, with early polls and surveys showing a pretty even split between voters. However, the federal government has recently stated their stance on the proposition and has said they would continue to come down hard on marijuana users despite state law if the proposition is passed.
It’s growing increasingly more obvious that Proposition 19 will not pass in California. With federal law enforcement agencies already stating they will continue to abide by the Controlled Substances Act, legalization is almost useless — doing nothing more than adding confusion to California state marijuana laws.
The aftermath of Proposition 19 would result in DEA raids on citizens who believe they’re abiding by the law and a flood in the courts of each county in California to set up regulation requirements.
The national government is not ready to accept the desires of many US residents who support the legalization of marijuana. Los Angeles Country Sherriff Lee Baca and US Attorney General Eric Holder are remaining steadfast in the current approach of drug enforcement.
President Barack Obama himself has stated he is against the legalization of marijuana, and for good reason. The citizens of the United States are not responsible enough to handle legal pot at this time.
The evidence can be seen in the way the media overreacts and portrays marijuana. Another example is the irresponsible way in which many recreational marijuana users react to and handle the drug.
The future for weed smokers does not hinge on passing of Proposition 19. People will continue to smoke pot, no matter what. However, adjustments must be made to the way our government chooses to deal with marijuana — and they can be made without the full-out legalization of the drug.
The Drug Enforcement Administration lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means weed is considered as harmful and dangerous as heroin and PCP. Taking marijuana off the DEA’s Schedule Drug listing would be a step in the right direction.
As of now, the US federal government does not recognize any of marijuana’s medicinal uses. The recognition and decriminalization of medical marijuana would end much of the legal gray area-surrounding weed.
The prohibition on marijuana will one day end, but not until we as a society take marijuana off the pedestal we’ve placed it on. Both sides arguing over Proposition 19 make marijuana out to be something it’s not.
Weed is not a misunderstood revolutionary cash crop super-drug that will make Americans think clearer and single-handedly fix the economy, nor is it a demonic gateway drug that will lead to the downfall of our society.
Yes, the legalization of marijuana will aid the economy through taxation of the drug. Legalization will also make the DEA focus its energy on cracking down on more threatening and harmful drugs.
Decriminalization would also aid the DEA and local police departments in depopulating overcrowded jails by not filling them with pot dealers, which would make room for more violent and dangerous offenders at the same time.
Despite any benefits, marijuana’s impact on our culture alone is disheartening. Its stereotypes, urban legends and glorification among the youth of our country must all diminish before pot becomes legal.
Proposition 19 means well, and one day marijuana will change our country for the better — but not anytime soon.
As of now, Proposition 19 is nothing more than a symbol for the changing times of our country. The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 represents the innovative, liberal and promising hope for the future of America.
Zeke Barrera is a communications sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].