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America, and especially California, are in dire economic straits. Their day of fiscal reckoning is coming and it's not going to be pretty. Consequently, it has been suggested that something dramatic will have to happen for Congress to pass any form of relief because the American public was bitterly against the TARP and the Stimulus bill. I'm not advocating another massive bailout for the states, but it seems that if something meaningful is not done soon to restore economic viability to the United States, it will shatter into a million pieces.
Perhaps a shattering of current systems is what is needed to rebuild local economies with truly free markets. We certainly can't count on the anti-capitalism mega-monopolies, who have merged with Federal and state governments, to fix this mess and provide for our local well-being. The economy must grow one town, one city, and one state at a time in a free and organic way. Incidentally, our Republic was designed to allow this local freedom to govern and grow the economy as they see fit.
California, because of its rivers of red ink, is the first state making a serious attempt to challenge Federal drug laws by voting on Prop 19 decriminalizing marijuana. Less than a decade ago, ending prohibition of marijuana would have seemed like a radical idea, but today it seems like a harmless pragmatic solution to an economy in crisis. Furthermore, the public is beginning to realize that the prohibition of anything we wish to ingest, especially something as mellow as weed, is anti-freedom.
California has already proven that well-regulated medical marijuana markets can work. It has created jobs, business opportunities, and has helped thousands of ailing citizens who wish to have a healthier alternative to pharmaceuticals. But many pot smokers, dealers, and growers are still considered to be criminals. Russ Belville of NORML described the current situation as follows:
Most marijuana smokers, believe it or not, are healthy and aren’t comfortable spending money for a doctor to give them permission to use cannabis. Currently we face a ticket, fine, and misdemeanor drug conviction record for possession an ounce or less of cannabis. That record prevents us from getting student aid and can cost us our jobs, child custody, and housing, or if we’re on probation, our freedom. (Even if California succeeds at downgrading possession to an infraction from a misdemeanor, a $100 ticket is a lot of money to some people!) We face a felony charge if we grow even one plant at home. For us, Prop 19 is much better than “what we have now”.Despite the Federal government's call to halt DEA raids of medical marijuana under Barry "Bong Hit" Obama, they've continued to sporadically raid legal medical marijuana grow-ops and dispensaries. Prop 19 is a major battle for states' rights as well as for individual liberty. Decriminalization of weed would be a huge blow to the Federal government -- unless of course they finally realize marijuana's time has come. It will be very interesting to see how the Feds will manage such a defeat in terms of controlling the flow of legal marijuana out of the state, and their overall approach to enforcing marijuana policy nationwide.
It seems clear that legalizing marijuana will help California's decimated economy by creating much needed tax revenues, easing the pressure on the expensive law enforcement system, as well as likely creating a massive tourism industry. It has also been argued by the former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, that legalization of marijuana will also work to reduce the violent drug wars along the Mexican border that spills deeper into the United States everyday.
So perhaps ending prohibition of marijuana can save California, and indeed solve a few problems at the Federal level as well. Passing Prop 19 would be a huge win for the Liberty Movement, states' rights, California's economy, the border drug wars, and restoring basic sanity to our justice system. It seems like a no-brainer, but will it pass? With the polls being mysteriously "all over the map" it's anyone's guess.
Personally I hate to be this cynical, but I'd wager that no matter what the actual vote is, the powers that be will present a very close final vote of 49% to 51% to the public, a la anything controversial or detrimental to the establishment in the face of public support for pragmatic solutions. It will be considered an oh-so-close valiant effort -- but, sorry, maybe next time. I hope I'm proven wrong and the polls become so overwhelmingly in favor of the measure that the establishment won't be able to get away with funny business at the polls.
Prop 19 is the liberty and states' rights battle of our time. Restoration of our rights has to begin somewhere. Please suit up and join the fight for liberty!
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