Will California regain its former reputation as a cutting-edge state in the legislative, and legal realm, by being the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use? Only time will tell. In November, California will consider The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. This Act proposes to regulate the recreational use of marijuana just like alcohol. It would allow adults 21 and older in California to possess up to one ounce of cannabis for recreational use.
The law would also enable local government to tax the sale of cannabis to adults 21 and over. The Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 purports to potentially generate billions of revenue dollars. Something California desperately needs right now: revenue.
Now, I have heard many erroneous arguments by the anti-legalization proponents who fear that if we legalized marijuana, all of society would somehow deteriorate, the “slippery slope” argument. Well I have news for the anti-marijuana proponents, if being allowed to possess an ounce of marijuana is going to prevent someone from going to work and doing their job, or behaving in accordance with social norms, then that person has a psychological issue wholly dependent of the marijuana use. Back in the prohibition days of the United States, anti-alcohol proponents argued the same thing: if we legalize alcohol, all of society will disintegrate into a morally lax, unproductive, inebriated society. Well that didn't happen when we legalized alcohol…at least not entirely.
Under the proposed law, it will still be illegal in California to drive under the influence of marijuana, to possess a large quantity of marijuana, or to sell marijuana, unless you are an authorized dispensary following the carefully laid out criterion for sales. So what's the hold up California? Let's get over the “moral” argument against the recreational use of marijuana and face the facts: if legalizing the recreational use of marijuana would reduce drug crimes on a whole in California, save our jails and prisons from being overcrowded with drug users, and earn revenue for the state, then really what is there to lose? Other than our overly puritanical, out-dated morals…