Monday, October 18, 2010

The race to legalize pot in California

It is, perhaps, the most interesting of all the decisions to be made
by Californians on November 2.

Former US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders has stirred up the debate
over legalizing marijuana in California. Voters will decide
(Proposition 19) whether to allow people 21 years old or older to
possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal consumption. Elders
says she supports the measure and that the American people consume
much worse things that are legalized. Alcohol, I assume.

"What I think is horrible about all of this, is that we criminalize
young people," she said. "And we use so many of our excellent
resources ... for things that aren't really causing any problems."
"It's not a toxic substance."

The campaign has polarized opinion and the vote looks likely to be
close. While he supports a "debate" about the legalization of
marijuana, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has said this measure would
"make California a laughingstock."

And this is what Dr David Sack, CEO of the Promises Treatment Center
in Malibu told me:

"We think that if marijuana is legalized that the number of people who
have problems with marijuana will increase dramatically. We've already
seen that. For all intents and purposes marijuana is currently legal
in California because it's legal for medical indications. It's very
easy for people to find doctors who will recommend marijuana and there
are dispensaries that operate freely and openly where they can obtain
marijuana. And this is not your mother's marijuana - it is highly
potent pot."