Free Minds & Free Markets

How California Will Legalize Pot in 2016

Learning the lessons of Prop 19.

"The pitch is that prohibition has only created crime, violence, and the destruction of families. It's time to end prohibition," says Jim Gonzales, a political strategist for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform.

California set the stage for marijuana legalization in America as the first state to legalize the drug for medical use with the passage of Prop 215 in 1996. But after the Golden State failed to legalize commercial marijuana sales in 2010 when Prop 19 lost by seven points, several states and the District of Columbia leapfrogged California and showed the nation what a recreational pot market would look like.

But now, California is back in the game, with legalization almost certain to be on the 2016 ballot. Reason TV travelled to Oaksterdam University, the nation’s premier cannabis cultivation school, where many of the political activists pushing an upcoming ballot initiative held a meeting to finalize language and debate some of the finer points of legalization.

The group calls itself ReformCA and is chaired by Oaksterdam’s President Dale Sky-Jones. We spoke to Sky-Jones and several other activists about lessons learned from Prop 19, what other states can teach California, and what legalization in the largest state in the union would mean for the rest of the country.

Watch the video above, and scroll down for downloadable versions. Approximately 8 minutes. Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Graphics by Josh Swain. Music by Rho. 

Subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel for daily content like this.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • MSimon||

    Did they learn the Ohio lesson?

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    The progressive utopia of California most certainly will so cripple legalization that nothing will really change. There will be a vast black market of "illegally" grown and sold pot.

  • MSimon||

    Could Reason do something about the f'n "music" it uses for the background? It is at least 20db too loud.

    I want to hear what the speakers have to say. Not the music.

  • MSimon||

    No more taxed and regulated than tomatoes.

  • Sir Chips Alot|| California? Progs cant wait to tax pot into the black market.

  • straffinrun||

    California grows the best? Maybe commercial. But let's say that some guy, call him "Muffinrun", went to Amsterdam back in the day, brought back to Colorado some of the best seeds that could be found and grew some monster hydro girls in his basement. He may claim that your Cali weed might be on par with, but could be no better than, the homegrown he grew.

  • dchang0||

    I wonder how much my auto insurance rates will go up in Calif. due to there being more DUI drivers on the road after pot is legalized?

    If it were a true free market for auto insurance here, I wouldn't worry about it, but as with all the other states where auto insurance is mandatory, the rates are already really high.

  • MSimon||

    Auto fatalities go down in med pot states. The main gain is from those switching from alcohol to pot.

  • dchang0||

    That's a good thing.

    Fatalities aren't the only thing a car owner has to worry about in a "no fault collision" state, though. Even a non-injury rear-end collision costs upwards of $1000 to fix in good body-shop work.

    And staying parked at home isn't good enough of a defense. A neighbor had their Volkswagen struck in the nearby parking lot by a drunk driver leaving the bars at 2am. Hit-and-run of course. Some other drunk driver did the same to my car, but I was lucky--they left a tire mark across my bumper but did only tiny damage (yay for plastic body panels). It will be interesting to see if more people DUI on pot than on alcohol.

    All I can hope for is the total number of people driving DUI (alcohol, pot, other "illegal" drugs, "legal" prescription drugs) goes down, but in a recession/depression, people tend to self-medicate more...

    (I'm solidly libertarian about the drugs, DUI, and insurance things. My position would be: legalize drugs, legalize DUI, switch to at-fault collisions, switch to free market/free choice about auto insurance (I would still buy full coverage in case the other guy is not insured, but such coverage would cost far, far less if non-mandatory than it does now.))

  • MSimon||

    Drug abusers are about 10% of the population. The drugs they use depend on preference and availability. Some would prefer pot. Some like other drugs.

  • Reverend Draco||

    Drug abusers have been between 1% and 2% of the population for as long as there has been tracking of such things. It goes up a little, down a little, but averages 1.5%.

    Meanwhile, the War on (Non-Corporate) Drugs has flushed over a Trillion dollars down the shitter since Nixon was in office.

  • Reverend Draco||

    You're talking drunk drivers - completely different from being stoned.

    Drunk drivers are 3-8 times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than a sober driver.
    For stoned drivers, it's approximately 0.3 times (1/3 as likely as a sober driver)

  • CE||

    Everyone is already driving stoned in California.

  • dan'o en barrel||

    Free tip Oaksterdam: Don't have people with face tattoos in pr positions. The more wholesome and clean-cut the speaker is, the greater number of listeners they'll have.

  • MSimon||

    She had nice tits though. But I couldn't look her in the eye.

  • Jimbo BTR||

    Those two go hand in hand usually.

    Nice of you to still stay abreast of the issue though.

  • MSimon||

    There also needs to be a generous home grow provision (equivalent to 200 gallons of beer a year) in order to keep everyone honest. You want prices low enough to not encourage too much homegrown. So you can collect taxes. Homegrown is untaxed. That allows for several different strains in case you have some one with a medical need.

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    no. there needs to be no restrictions, period. California has a sales tax, right? That is it. Grow whatever you want and sell whatever you want. No additional taxes, no registration, and no license bullshit.

  • MSimon||

    In an ideal world - yes. But for now you have enough people clamoring for "safety" that you may have to throw them a bone to get a law passed.

  • MSimon||

    This is a good explanation of how the Ohio folks are planning to fix their proposed law. Good stuff.

    Fixing Ohio

  • Chuckgm3||

    How long until support for marijuana legalization is condemned by the SJW's as appropriation of Jamaican culture?

  • Jimbo BTR||

    Well, "marijuana" legalization would be appropriation of Mexican culture.

    Appropriation of Jamaican culture would be "ganja" legalization.

    I don't know whose culture would be appropriated by cannabis legalization.

    The real question is: when did culture receive Trademark status?

  • jdgalt||

    I didn't appreciate the statement that 2010's Prop 19 was the first attempt to legalize pot for recreational use in CA. Sorry -- I was involved in initiative campaigns that got on the ballot in the '70s and '80s. The only difference between then and now is that most of the anti-freedom assholes who blocked us then were old and have died now. Thank God.

  • Reverend Draco||

    It was called Prop 19 back in the '70s, too.

    The media made much of this continuity in initial reporting. . .


Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online