I’ve already voted for Prop. 19, thanks to mail-in balloting, so I could tune out the rest of the campaign. Except I’m pissed off, and you should be too. Selfish stoners are talking out their collective asses with such passion it almost makes one forget the dazzling incoherency of what they’re saying.
Selfish stoners say they support legalization but oppose Proposition 19. Then they rattle off a list of complaints that are inherent with any legalization plan, an impressive laundry list of fears that includes corporate cannabis, regulations, taxation and plant monoculture. Rather than face those fears head on, and come up with creative ways to deal with them, they cling to the end of their logical rope along with the prohibitionists. “We can’t legalize marijuana,” they say. “It’s too hard. It’s too scary.” Will it be any less hard or scary in 2012 or even farther down the road? California is burning as we fiddle around looking for an answer to that question.
Selfish stoners think it’s OK to smoke pot with their kids and their neighbors’ kids without fear of retribution. They say Prop. 19 creates new crimes, when it only puts cannabis in the same realm as alcohol when it comes to supplying it to minors. Such laws are necessary because some stoners lack common sense, just like the drunks and meth-heads and pill-poppers who get busted for putting children needlessly at risk. If your sole concern about Prop. 19 is that it limits your ability to get high when teenagers and children are present, whether yours or someone else’s, you’ve got a bigger problem than Prop. 19. Fuck you and the tie-dyed horse you rode in on.
Selfish stoners don’t like to pay taxes. They’ll do it all day long at the dispensaries, however, while complaining loudly that other types of medicine aren’t taxed. Then they’ll rail about the taxes that could be raised under Prop. 19, even though some MMJ advocates think non-medical sales taxes could be used to replace or reduce those on medical cannabis. Prop. 19 allows cities and counties to raise and spend taxes in creative new ways, but the tax protesters will have none of it. They’d rather pay taxes on their medipot, beer and cigarettes and no taxes at all on their illegal pot. Makes no sense.
Selfish stoners want to play doctor, telling us that pot is “legal enough” because Prop. 215 scrips are so widely available. They want non-medical cannabis users to “medicate” themselves out of their minds with varieties like Jack the Ripper, Durban Poison and Trainwreck. They want the medical and legal professions to accept Prop. 215 as good medicine and good law, while doing little or nothing to develop best practices or regulations that would help prove their point. They want to ignore the regulatory backlash under way and pretend that the Prop. 215 industry we see today won’t change dramatically in coming years. They want kids and young adults to keep getting scrips for their “medicine” knowing the whole system is perceived as utter bullshit, and they want legitimate patients and collectives to keep suffering from the public ridicule and dispensary raids that such practices inevitably generate.
The little piggies who made lots of money building this house of cards see Prop. 19 as the big, bad wolf, threatening to blow their livelihood away. They can’t see the business opportunities that Prop. 19 will open up, just as Prop. 215 has, and they reject the idea that they must compete with other growers in a legal, regulated marketplace. They assume the current system is sustainable, when it’s merely one chapter in a long story that’s still being written. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, little piggies.
Younger stoners don’t even know their own history, the non-medical cannabis use of the ’60s and ’70s that became entrenched in California’s pop culture and ultimately led to Prop. 215’s passage. Just like law enforcement is trapped in a prohibition-era time warp, today’s stoners cling desperately to medical marijuana laws as the only means to achieve their ends, as if that’s the way it’s always been and always should be. I’m not buying that argument, not for one minute, and neither should anyone else. Medical and non-medical cannabis can’t live under the same roof anymore, and the sooner the divorce is final, the better it will be for medical cannabis and for our society as a whole.
Legalization dares to make stoners grow up and be responsible for their actions, which is one hell of a buzzkill for the anything-goes crowd. Prop. 19 puts pressure on the Prop. 215 industry to get more medical and professional or get run over by non-medical sales and small-scale personal cultivation. Prop. 19 will result in — GASP!! — new regulations and new taxes designed to bring some order to the chaos caused by prohibition and Prop. 215 grow sites running rampant. There will be winners and losers and lots and lots of lawsuits, but prices will drop and new businesses and jobs will emerge. Sounds like a pretty good plan, unless you’re trapped in a short-sighted hot box that prevents the big picture from coming into focus.