Saturday, April 10, 2010

Puff and Pass This Law?

There is a political party centered on it, and hundreds of people using and selling it for medicinal purposes are campaigning for it. This year's coming statewide November election is now the year for the possible legalization of marijuana.

In 1996 California voters decided that marijuana could be used for medical purposes and since then fourteen other states have followed in our footsteps. And now, in what originally was intended to be for people suffering from serious afflictions like debilitating pain and terminal cancer, became a slow shift in the law towards legalization.

This November, if the proposition is passed, marijuana will be legalized for recreational use for those 21 years of age and older. The law will allow people to grow 25 square feet of the substance at their own residence, and if legalized, marijuana would be taxed providing extra revenue for the state.

"The Cannabis Act" is already causing a major uproar amongst law enforcement and clergy members all over California. Many law enforcement officials and clergy members are voicing their opinions against the proposition saying that the if marijuana is legalized, there will be a lot more kids dropping out of school and getting into "harder drugs" like cocaine or methamphetamine since marijuana is already deemed "the gateway drug".

I would have to say that marijuana becomes more of a problem because it's so taboo, and knowing that the drug has had many reported health benefits, cannabis is becoming something that a lot of people are willing to decriminalize.

But many dispensary owners, the people who use it for medicinal purposes and other like minded people who also see the controlled substance as a health benefit, see the act as part of the solution to help California's large deficit. And many cannabis act supporters are spending millions of dollars for the campaign one of whom, a dispensary owner in Oakland is spending $20 million for ads.

This year is definitely an important time for people who have been trying to legalize the drug's recreational use for 35 years. They believe that cannabis does have several well-documented beneficial effects. Among these are: the amelioration of nausea and vomiting, stimulation of hunger in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, lowered intraocular eye pressure which is shown to be effective for treating glaucoma, as well as a pain reliever. Less confirmed individual studies also have been conducted indicating cannabis is beneficial in a variety of conditions including Multiple sclerosis and depression according to the NORML, or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

They also believe that allowing the drug to be used recreationally will benefit California immensely. With the budget problem consists of a $6.3 billion projected deficit for 2009–10 and a $14.4 billion gap between projected revenues and spending in 2010–11, according to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, any new source of funding will be helpful.

According to NORML, in 1980 there were 401,982 total marijuana arrests in the Unites States. That number is only extremely increasing with numbers doubling to 872,720 last year in 2007. Many people believe that by decriminalizing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes it will help relieve some of the pile up in the prisons and that tax payers will have to pay a less amount to keep people in prison.

It's really crazy how the money spent on keeping those people in prison who were arrested on the possession, use or sale of marijuana could be used on our schools. Programs and classes have already been cut here at my school, Cal Poly Pomona, and at other CSU's and UC's all over California. It just makes sense to go ahead and decriminalize marijuana.

And with California in so much debt and not that many options to choose from, maybe taxing cannabis and letting the pot smokers come out and smoke freely isn't such a bad idea.

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