Marijuana Will Soon Be Legal ~ Stand By For the End of Prohibition in California

David S. White
Principal of the Law Firm of David S. White & Associates, West Los Angeles, specializing in litigation, arbitration and mediation of real-estate-related disputes and litigation since 1977; www.dswlawyers.com

“Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!”

― George Washington

“‎Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.”

― Thomas Jefferson

“The amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana in their jeans simply makes no sense – the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy.”

― William F. Buckley Jr.

On these very pages of Fox & Hounds Daily (pages in cyberspace, that is) on November 9, 2009, in an article entitled: Legalize It: Taxing Legal Marijuana Would Add $1 Billion Per Year to California’s Budget,” I ended by saying: “we live now in the 21st Century, medical breakthroughs have proven the medicinal uses of marijuana better than I can here – let’s end the nonsense, legalize this weed already, and do something intelligent to help California’s economy.”  This year, it will happen.

In this, still early, Mid-Term election year of 2014, this Fall’s ballot will include Initiatives to fully legalize Marijuana, at long last.  Polls show that many important demographics now favor legalization of what is likely California’s largest cash crop – $13 Billion, some estimate.

Most importantly for the future, “Fully 65% of Millennials –born since 1980 and now between 18 and 32 – favor legalizing the use of marijuana, up from just 36% in 2008.  Yet there also has been a striking change in long-term attitudes among older generations, particularly Baby Boomers. . . . Half (50%) of Boomers now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever.  Since 1994,  . . . the percentage of Boomers favoring marijuana legalization has doubled, from 24% to 50%.” 

When voters go to the polls in California in November, and open their ballots, they will see one or more Initiatives on the ballot to legalize Marijuana.   No more medical this or that, just flat out legalization, for adults, of course, like in Colorado and Washington.  And, guess which political party may have more voters who favor legalizing Marijuana and, therefore, which political party may turn out many more voters, including a surge of new voters, this Fall, simply because this will be on the ballot?

And, guess which political party will be missing out on this surge in voter turnout, unless they too, bite the bullet, and come out strongly in favor of legalizing marijuana, right now?  Enough soul searching and teeth gnashing over why Republicans, the party currently out of favor in CA state politics based on offices held, do not seem to have broader appeal, and how the 2012 election was lost.  All the ‘mea culpa’[ing] in the world cannot take you back in time, to change one single thing.

And yet, Federal law, no matter what Californians do this Fall – and California led the way on recognizing Medical Marijuana in the early 90’s, lest we forget – continues to maintain the absolute, unmitigated legal lie that there is no medical use for Marijuana.  The Feds are adamant that it should, therefore, properly be scheduled the same as with killer, addictive drugs like heroin, and reserved for the harshest criminal punishments.  This, in the face of the clearest legal and medical findings to the contrary, for well over two decades now.

“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.” Findings of DEA Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young – 1988

Governments which do not tell the truth, suffer the fate of Pinnochio, the puppet boy whose nose grew visibly longer after each lie.   But, instead of a lengthening nose, governments which lie to their citizenry, suffer an increasing lack of faith and respect by those governed, a growing lack of credibility, and overwhelming disgust, well evidenced by recent polls:

“When asked if they have a higher opinion of either Congress or a series of unpleasant or disliked things, voters said they had a higher opinion of root canals (32 for Congress and 56 for the dental procedure), NFL replacement refs (29-56), head lice (19-67), the rock band Nickelback (32-39), colonoscopies (31-58), Washington DC political pundits (34- 37), carnies (31-39), traffic jams (34-56), cockroaches (43-45), Donald Trump (42-44), France (37-46), Genghis Khan (37-41), used-car salesmen (32-57), and Brussels sprouts (23-69) than Congress.”

President Obama was elected, in part, on his promise (made, primarily, to Millennial and Boomer voters, who responded by electing him) to stop the mad, mad world of Marijuana Prohibition, and get us off that insane, irrational, and economically-self-defeating, merry-go-round.  But, he promptly proceeded to take contradictory and hypocritical positions, several times authorizing his Attorney General to raid Medical Marijuana dispensaries in California using the absurdity of full-on SWAT teams, rendering us the pitiable sight on our 24/7 Talking Heads Media, viewed worldwide, of people in wheelchairs, and emaciated cancer victims, buying the herb which helps them cope with their disabilities and gain the appetite to survive chemo, and being publicly arrested and humiliated.  Now, Mr. Obama seems also to be able to read the polls and take note of some 20 states which have either legalized or created Medical Marijuana systems, with the state in which I grew up, Massachusetts, just joining the group.

The long, ugly chapter of Marijuana Prohibition, the same drug that Queen Victoria used for her menstrual cramps, and that our nation’s Founding Fathers grew, and from which they made all their clothing, paper products, is finally coming to an end.  The wreckage left behind on the highway of our nation’s legal system, of lives destroyed by incarceration for possession of this weed, and the Billions flushed down a rathole protecting us from the fantasy of the ‘Evil Weed with the Roots in Hell,’ will now soon end.  If only governments could apologize when proven wrong . . .  and what could be more wrong than demonizing a weed that grows naturally from the earth, and for which we actually have specifically tuned brain receptors – indicating a very long evolutionary history of homo sapiens using this weed over tens and, likely, hundreds of thousands of years?

Let’s move on now to issues which are rational, and which really do need our attention.

“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” ― Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version

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