Any patrol officer, judge or district attorney will tell you that Proposition 19 is a flawed initiative that would bring about a host of legal nightmares and risks to public safety. It would also make California a laughingstock.
It's no aberration that a canny political operator like Schwarzenegger would use, in lieu of anything approaching argumentation, a word designed to inflame the insecurity of people desperate to be taken Seriously by the rest of the country, or at least New York and Washington. One of the main reasons that former (and even current) pot-smokers can support prohibition without experiencing a crippling sense of shame is that the Terrible Burden of Responsibility imbues automatic gravitas to whatever is the status quo, coupled with equally automatic suspicion of those who would disrespect and upend it. And as illustrated by the pot-smoking president of the United States dismissively laughing out loud when online questioners pestered him about legalization, the status quo on marijuana–the despicable, murderous, futile, rights-destroying, police-corrupting, minority-imprisoning apparatus in support of treating an overdoseless drug as if it was heroin, even though virtually everyone born after World War II knows that that is a ridiculous lie–almost never has to defend itself as being too absurd for adult discussion. Meanwhile those who would re-align marijuana laws even partway in the direction of reality and human liberty are by default treated like Tommy Chong at a church picnic.
The legalization crowd would stand a much better chance if some of the stoners speaking up for Proposition 19 would just stay quiet.
To which one might respond, the Prohibition crowd would stand a much better chance IN FRONT OF A WRATHFUL, RIGHTEOUS GOD if they spent 1/100th of their lame stoner-joke energy on, at minimum, pointing out that our taxpayer-funded government at all levels has spent four decades and tens of billions of dollars lying their faces off to the American people who pay their salaries and suffer greivously from their misgovernance.
Speaking of newspapers tut-tutting at the unseriousness of legalizers (while taking the unconscionable status quo in stride), it's time to update our growing list of Golden State editorial boards coming out against Prop. 19:
Newspaper: The Modesto Bee
Sophomoric pot joke: "What were they smoking when they came up with Proposition 19?"
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: This Valley-Girl petulance is as good as it gets: "OK, maybe it's time for California to have a serious debate on whether to legalize marijuana for personal use. And OK, if lawmakers won't confront the issue, maybe it's time for the voters to decide. But this isn't the time, and Proposition 19 on the Nov. 2 ballot isn't the way."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "Regardless of where you are on the issue of marijuana in general, Proposition 19 is poorly drafted and deeply flawed, filled with loopholes and ambiguities that would create a chaotic nightmare for law enforcement, local governments and businesses. […] A mishmash of rules would inevitably result, only multiplying the mess created by medical marijuana dispensaries that have mushroomed across California. To be effective, pot laws must be uniform across the state[.]"
Bonus random statism: "[B]y passing Proposition 19 and becoming the first state to legalize pot for recreational use, California would be in direct conflict with federal law. The Obama administration, which has taken a hands-off attitude on medicinal marijuana, says legalizing pot is 'a nonstarter.' And Gil Kerlikowske, the national drug czar, told California police chiefs that 'marijuana use is harmful' and that legalizing it would result in abuses and social costs that would far outweigh any possible benefits."
WTF: "Its supporters—many of whom are pushing to legalize other drugs as well—contend…"
Newspaper: Los Angeles Times
Sophomoric pot joke: "Snuff Out Marijuana Legalization Measure"
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: "Seventy years of criminal prohibition, 'Just Say No' sloganeering and a federal drug war that now incarcerates 225,000 people a year have not diminished the availability or use of — or apparently the craving for — cannabis."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "Its flaws begin with the misleading title: Regulate, Control and Tax Act. Those are hefty words that suggest responsibility and order. But the proposition is in fact an invitation to chaos. It would permit each of California's 478 cities and 58 counties to create local regulations regarding the cultivation, possession and distribution of marijuana. In other words, the law could change hundreds of times from county to county. In Los Angeles County alone it could mean 88 different sets of regulations."
Bonus random statism: "The proposition would have merited more serious consideration had it created a statewide regulatory framework for local governments, residents and businesses. But it still would have contained a fatal flaw: Californians cannot legalize marijuana. Regardless of how the vote goes on Nov. 2, under federal law marijuana will remain a Schedule I drug, whose use for any reason is proscribed by Congress. Sure, California could go it alone, but that would set up an inevitable conflict with the federal government that might not end well for the state. That experiment has been tried with medical marijuana, and the outcome has not inspired confidence. Up and down the state, an untold number of residents have faced federal prosecution for actions that were allowed under California law. It's true that the Obama administration has adopted a more tolerant position on state laws regulating medical marijuana, but there's no guarantee that the next administration will. Regardless, Obama's 'drug czar,' Gil Kerlikowske, has firmly stated that the administration will not condone marijuana's legalization for recreational purposes."
WTF: "Whether marijuana should be legal is a valid subject for discussion."
Newspaper: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/San Bernardino Sun
Sophomoric pot joke: n/a (IMO this is the best of the no-on-19 editorials I've read so far)
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: "Some members of our editorial board, in fact, believe that marijuana should be legalized nationwide and closely regulated, controlled for quality and dosage, and heavily taxed—like alcohol and cigarettes—while other board members believe it should be an illegal substance under all circumstances. Despite the different outlooks, our editorial board agreed unanimously that Proposition 19 on the Nov. 2 ballot—the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010—is no way to legalize marijuana."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "Proposition 19 allows each city and county to pass its own regulations regarding transportation and sales of marijuana in locally licensed premises. As Fontana Police Chief Rodney Jones pointed out, a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy could have one set of rules to enforce in Rancho Cucamonga, another in Chino Hills, and a third in unincorporated areas. That way lies madness."
Bonus random statism: "Proposition 19 would clobber many state agencies and businesses financially because it would conflict with the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, which must be complied with by any recipient of a federal grant and any entity with a federal contract in excess of $100,000. Speaking of conflict, marijuana would remain a prohibited, Schedule 1 drug under federal law, and President Obama's 'drug czar' has said the administration will not condone recreational use of marijuana and it has allowed medical use. Federal agents could arrest people who were in compliance with this state act."
By my calculation, at least 13 of the state's top 25 circulation general interest daily newspapers, with a combined circulation of 1.8 million, have editorialized against Prop. 19, and all 13 are against. Those numbers are likely a good deal higher, too, given that MediaNews Group, which owns half the dailies in the Golden State and has already broadcast the same anti-19 editorial across multiple outlets, inflicts upon the inquisitive some heroically inscrutable search engines.
What about the pro-19 camp? I've found exactly two daily newspapers: The previously celebrated Barstow Desert-Dispatch, which has the lowest circulation among all general-interest California dailies on this list, and the Morgan Hill Times, which is not even mentioned there. And the most prominent California politician to come out in favor of it is…San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano. And yet–or is it and as a result?–the initiative is still leading at the polls.
Watch Ammiano's Reason.tv interview below: