Come Election Day, California voters will face two monumental questions about marijuana: Do they want to legalize the drug for recreation, and who do they think should lead the future of drug policy in the United States?
The first decision may be an easy one for most stoners, if not all, but the second is a bit harder. In the hopes of helping you make the right choices, here are our endorsements for the Nov. 8 elections in the Golden State.
Yes on Prop. 64
This is the big cannabis vote in California. Prop. 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, looks like a very good bet to pass, and if it does, all adult recreational marijuana use would be legal.
The law would regulate a new cannabis industry and impose a special sales tax – revenue that would fund drug treatment, law enforcement, environmental projects, and research.
Legalization has failed twice in the past, once in 2010 and again in 2014, when the question didn’t even make the ballot. But California voters are clearly happier with Prop. 64 than with earlier attempts.
They should be. The initiative would provide key safeguards for children, make policing easier, unclog the courts, reduce prison overcrowding, cut unnecessary arrests, and generate billions of dollars in tax revenue.
The money is important. But the real reason to vote for Prop. 64 is that it would improve life for the many Californians who enjoy marijuana but are forced to do so under the table.
There really is no good argument against this measure. California stands to gain a real economic boost from legalization, and its citizens will only benefit from their newfound freedoms. Prop. 64 is a great idea, and we hope you’ll vote yes.
Hillary Clinton for President
In a perfect world, potheads would have a perfect choice for president. That is not the case, not this time around and probably not ever. But in 2016, there is no doubt who makes the best candidate.
Only one, libertarian Gary Johnson, vows to push for full legalization from his first day in the White House. This may make him especially appealing to stoners.
But reform doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Even if you vote out of no other interest than your desire to buy legal weed, Johnson could never get it done. He can’t get elected, and even if he could, he would have no party support in Congress, making it impossible to pass legislation of any importance – especially drug reform.
Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has the experience and political skills to move the issue forward, even if slowly. She supports states that choose to legalize, promises not to roll back the clock in those places, and says she wants to reschedule pot under federal law so it can be better researched and prescribed.
Donald Trump is little more than a wild card when it comes to cannabis. He has been at best vague and non-committal on the few occasions he has discussed the issue at all. At times he says he supports legalization; at others he calls it a terrible idea. His only consistency is his inconsistency.
His campaign surrogates, meanwhile, have not been reassuring. Chris Christie, Trump’s likely choice to serve as U.S. attorney general, promises to use that office to end legalization wherever it exists.
Elections rarely make for easy decisions, but that doesn’t mean those decisions aren’t clear. Voters who care about the future of marijuana reform, the future of criminal justice, and the right to smoke a harmless plant should remember the road to victory is not always as straight as we’d like. But our choices matter anyway.
That’s why we endorse Prop. 64 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. But whichever way you vote, vote!
Leave a comment below: How do you plan to vote Nov. 8? Tell us why?