Editor's Notes

The pot initiative's going to pass in November


The pot initiative's going to pass in November. California's going to legalize personal use and small sales. I think that's clear from the polls, and from the fact that the pot supporters are raising a fair amount of money, and the fact that there won't be much effective opposition.

The state Legislature might not like it — ballot measures are impossible to amend, and with debate and discussion the measure might be a little different. But Assembly Member Tom Ammiano has tried, again and again, to get his colleagues to see the light: this is going to happen, and if the folks in Sacramento are afraid of it, then they're not going to have any influence over the final product.

And it's amazing to me how many people are afraid of this issue.

All three major candidates for governor, including Jerry Brown, who must have smoked pot at some point in his life (would Linda Ronstadt have gone out with a guy who never smoked weed?), are publicly opposing the measure. Ammiano can't get a majority of the Assembly to vote yes on his legalization bill — and Democrats control things. You wonder when these people are going to understand that the voters, most of them, really don't care if pot becomes legal. It doesn't frighten anybody anymore — except elected officials.

Humboldt County is already preparing for this; business leaders are talking about the economic impact on the region and how the North Coast can become the Napa Valley of green bud. The Obama administration needs to get ready too — ready to tell the federal drug agents to leave California alone. And a few years from now, life will go on, and everyone will take legal pot for granted — and I wonder how silly Jerry Brown's going to feel. *


This is a good start, though I thought pot would be totally legal about 35 years ago. Now we need to legalize all drugs, prostitution, and gambling. Those things, like alcohol and tobacco, need to be regulated. But vice being illegal is a severe infringement on personal freedom, and it causes far more and bigger problems that anything that could be caused by legalizing them.

The drug war has been used to imprison a large portion of the black community. It is used for an excuse to create ever more police state laws, and gives the cops totally illegitimate reasons to search and hassle people. Anti-drug laws have also created gang wars and turned many communities into war zones. At least half the people in the bloated U.S. prison system are incarcerated because of drug laws. All this because some people are uptight about what other people do with their own lives.

The most resistance I've encountered to this idea comes from parents. The biggest issue is that it's totally disgusting to force your views on another person just because parents are afraid that little Johnny or Cathy will start doing drugs because they're legal. But in addition, it's not even true. Studies have shown that legalizing drugs does not significantly increase use. This is perfectly logical: do you refrain from doing heroin merely because it's illegal? Of course not! What's more, most of the parent's I've discussed this with are extreme hypocrites, who did drugs when they were younger. These people should all volunteer to go to prison if they think drugs should remain illegal.

So, good first step, now let's move on. This is the one issue on which I totally agree with the libertarians. It's time to evolve so that we're not constantly interfering with what other people are doing with their personal lives.

Posted by Jeff Hoffman on Apr. 01, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

And our right to breathe clean air in public spaces easily trumps your right to smoke.
Posted by Jeff Hoffman on Mar. 28, 2010 @ 10:07 am

Does your statement apply to pot?
What will you do if someone smokes pot in a public park?

I am asking because you came off sounding like a regular drug warrior regarding cigarettes in your other comment.
I fully agree with what you've written above, and I think we need to add tobacco to the list of targets of this failed drug war and disgusting moral crusade.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 01, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

Tobacco is legal, it's not and never has been part of the drug war. So your comments about that are way off base. And there's also the major difference that tobacco companies immorally advertise to children, which no one is able to do for illegal drugs.

I never advocated that people should be allowed to smoke anything everywhere, but regulating where people may not smoke is a huge difference from outright prohibiting them from smoking. (I don't care if people smoke cigarettes or -- anything else -- in public parks, so long as they don't leave their butts there.) I'm very happy that I can now go to bars without choking on cigarette smoke. Prohibitions on smoking in restaurants and bars were great and I'm glad for them, but I'm not for prohibiting people from smoking if they want to. I just don't want to smell or breathe it.

Posted by Jeff Hoffman on Apr. 03, 2010 @ 9:35 am

Historic statewide initiative in California to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis. Help build national support for the movement. Sign up on the website, join the campaign! taxcannabis.org

Posted by Derrick Cothern on Apr. 15, 2010 @ 1:17 pm