I know that the proponents of Proposition 19 aren't really talking to me when they cry “Just Say Now!” and try to appeal to my generation's long and intimate acquaintance with marijuana. It's not my thing. And I am not at all representative of “my” generation. Nevertheless, I am almost certain to vote in favor of Proposition 19 on California's general election ballot next month. If it passes, the state's various legal proscriptions of pot will be expunged and a new era of good feelings will be ushered in.
Not bloody likely.
Passage of Proposition 19 is a fair bet to set off an overreaction by the federal government, whose laws misclassifying marijuana as a narcotic would remain on the books and whose zealotry in the unending war on drugs appears to be unabated under the Obama administration. The main reason to vote for Proposition 19 is to poke one's thumb in the eye of the people who scream constantly about our always having been at war with Eurasia. (Or is it Eastasia? I forget.) Criminalization of pot has merely lumped the moral equivalent of beer with the physiological equivalent of eye-blinding bathtub gin. Does anyone except the misinformed and the professional narcs really believe that marijuana deserves to be classified with heroin?
They must be on drugs.
Haight-Ashbury, offered a carefully reasoned and detailed editorial explaining why Proposition 19 is a flawed measure that deserves a No vote. As an exponent of reason myself, you'd think I'd be more susceptible to the Chronicle's laundry list of potential problems:
- The proposition's ban on pre-employment drug testing would conflict with federal law.
- A citizen's new right to grow pot in the backyard would be exempt from local control, reasonable or not.
- Drivers would still be prohibited from driving under the influence, but passengers enjoy the right to have a nice traffic toke. Oops?
- Proposition 19's free-for-all approach to county-by-county taxation and regulation of marijuana cultivation would induce chaos.
Drug policy is already chaotic and already stupid and Proposition 19 would merely underscore that. I fear, of course, that teenagers will begin to reject pot once it becomes just another garden plant in grandpa and grandma's backyard or window box. Serious uncoolness is about to set in.