Marijuana Legalization on the Ballot for California

The Presidential election has left many more local issues overshadowed. These are the kinds of issues that could have immense local impact, such as Proposition 64 in California.

Proposition 64 would legalize marijuana for all over the age of 21. Supporters say that if it is passed, it would generate $1 billion in taxes annually and dramatically reduce prison populations. Opponents say that it would create a crisis of addiction, mental health problems, DUI deaths, and pediatric THC exposure.

Recent polling shows that the voters in California are prepared to pass the proposition. An Eyewitness News/Southern California News group poll showed the measure passing with 52% versus 41%.

Opponents are not fond of the way that the measure is written. They allege that it provides no language to limit underage exposure. They also claim that law enforcement is ill-equipped to begin handling the crisis of marijuana DUIs that are sure to come following the passage of Proposition 64. This is because there is no standard for marijuana-impaired driving.

Ken Corney, president of California Police Chiefs Association pointed towards statistics from a AAA Foundation study that showed the number of marijuana-related traffic deaths doubled in Washington since legalizing the drug.

Supporters tout the issue as one of social justice reform. They say that it will reduce prison populations as well as the spending on housing inmates with marijuana convictions. The measure is supported by the ACLU and the NAACP as one that will positively affect communities of color, who are disproportionately affected by the continuation of the war on drugs.

The voters seem poised to agree with the supporters of the bill. To know for sure, however, we will have to await election day results.

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