I’ve noticed a marked cloud of confusion around friends, colleagues, and strangers regarding Prop. 64
, the 2016 bill for California marijuana legalization. For those from the core of the 420 community to the very periphery, you’d imagine it was a pretty cut and dry decision. But then an article started making the rounds that claimed to uncover hidden truths about Prop. 64, then another article, and suddenly the vote didn’t seem so simple…unless you did your research, that is. The arguments against Prop. 64 were shredded like wet tissue paper but continue to cling…like wet tissue paper. Is the vote simple? Not really. But the complexities turned up through research often point to a greater urgency in legalizing marijuana in the state of California once and for all.
Prop. 64 is Not a Monopoly Bill
Of the people I’ve met who are actually considering voting against Prop. 64, most are doing so out of fear of some monopoly takeover. A lot of this concern stems from a hype piece that pretty much promises the big business marijuana industry takeover will occur 5 years from the date California marijuana legalization is finalized. Some pretty prominent publications took the time to set the record straight but High Times
arguably delivered the most straightforward response. In his opinion piece, author Chris Conrad of Friends of Prop. 64
points out the anti-monopoly provisions in place for the first 5 years of Prop. 64 but notes that California regulators aren’t required to issue licenses to big businesses at that expiration date.
People are acting like this is the same kind of bullshit that went down in Ohio with their pro-monopoly marijuana legalization bill
when this is actually the opposite. Prop. 64 protects against monopolies for 5 years. It’s not a lifetime guarantee but is there such a thing? This just means that small businesses and consumers can enjoy legalization for 5 years while building up to block monopolies again. If this country has learned anything over the last year, it’s the importance of persistent and thorough political action. Maybe Sean Parker will
try to become the Montgomery Burns of marijuana like the rumors say but that doesn’t mean we all need to move into weed bunkers and wait for the world to end (although that does
sound a bit more tempting than I intended). It actually means we just need to block the monopolies again and again because you don’t keep the wolves away without maintaining your fences.
The Big Pharma Takeover
Then there’s this idea that Bayer bought Monsanto and are now going to try to destroy the global marijuana seed population so that we’re all forced to use GMO seeds and toxic reefer. Truthfully, Monsanto would probably love that…if they could actually do it. I’ve heard stories that Monsanto is raining chemtrails from the skies to decimate outdoor growing and that they’ll use their seemingly bottomless pit of cash to pass laws that ban homegrown marijuana. Even if that were true, they wouldn’t be able to stop the abundance of cannabis out there. Monsanto claims they aren’t working on GMO marijuana but let’s say they do in the future (or are…I don’t know…lying). It will probably get the same warm reception as Scotts Miracle-Gro. From massive growhouses to private operations, I’ve yet to meet a serious cannabis farmer who uses Scotts Miracle-Gro because everyone knows it’s bullshit. And what does this have to do with California marijuana legalization anyway? The language of Prop. 64 is antithetical to the ambitions of Monsanto. So, whether GMO marijuana is happening or not, it has nothing to do with Prop. 64 and shouldn’t hold anyone back from a “yes” vote.
The Salvation Offered by California Marijuana Legalization
So there are a lot of flimsy reasons being tossed around on why you should vote against Prop. 64 and plenty of respectable sites have debunked them. But now I want to highlight the main reason you should
vote for Prop. 64: humanity. The current political climate has made it difficult for many of us to separate from our egos and act selflessly, but Prop. 64 is an important vote for people that have been incarcerated for ridiculous marijuana-related offenses. Since the effects of Prop. 64 are retroactive, prisoners serving jail time for marijuana arrests will be released as will the black marks on criminal records that dog prisoners after their release.
Then, there’s the regulation side. Now, I can understand the appeal of bucking regulation for unregulated wild, wild west-style business but if marijuana is ever going to be federally legal, regulation will have to happen. Unfortunately, sexual assaults are making marijuana regulation through Prop. 64 an even more pressing matter. Last month, an article in Reveal
illuminated a disturbing trend of sexual assault against women in unregulated marijuana farms in California. If passing Prop. 64 could save these women from such trauma, salvage the lives of prisoners serving sentences for victimless “crimes”, and erase related criminal records thus giving ex-prisoners a real chance to set their lives straight, can we really consider voting “no” for fear of a potential monopoly 5 years down the road or unconfirmed and unfeasible plans for a GMO marijuana takeover?
So California marijuana legalization isn’t just important because we should have the right to grow a naturally-occurring plant or because it’s a safer recreational alternative to alcohol. It’s not just important from industry perspectives or because of the domino effect it could have in the U.S. pushing us ever closer to full scale federal legalization. Legalizing recreational marijuana in California could immediately give a new chance to hundreds of thousand of wrongly incarcerated citizens, jailed under the dusty and moldy concept that smoking marijuana is a criminal activity. Likewise, legalization could set in motion systems that would protect honest female workers from the threat of sexual assault in the workplace. We all now cannabis isn’t a crime but that leaves it to us to make it legit. So can we really afford to do anything but vote in favor of Prop. 64?