Steve Chapman on the Underwhelming Reality of Medical Marijuana Laws


Credit: Marxchivist / / CC-BY

In 1996, as California voters considered whether to make theirs the first state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, they were warned that they were on the verge of creating a grim wasteland from which they might never escape. Brad Gates, sheriff of Orange County and head of a group opposing the ballot measure, called it an "irresponsible" change that would unleash uncontrollable drug use and produce a "nightmare for law enforcement." President Bill Clinton opposed it, and his drug czar called it a "cruel hoax." But the measure won anyway.

That was 17 years ago, and today, writes Steve Chapman, it's clear that the critics were under the influence of some hallucinogenic substance. As a way of destroying the California way of life, Proposition 215 has been a bust.