It won’t have escaped your notice that, next month, voters in California will get their say on whether or not marijuana should be legalized for recreational use – thus making California the first state to end marijuana prohibition.
Earlier this year, Amanda van West, who at the time was studying for an MA degree in International Broadcast Journalism at the University of Westminster in London, produced this short video exploring the cannabis culture of California. She speaks to those on all sides of the cannabis debate: the fors, the againsts, the sellers, the users, and the hippies who started the marijuana movement in the first instance.
Proposition 19: The Current Situation
In three out of four public opinion surveys the pro-marijuana lobby are leading the way, however, we are warned not to be too complacent about the outcome. On the back of a survey carried out last week, Reuters/Ipsos caution us that California is not as liberal as its reputation, with enthusiasm for legalization in Los Angeles and San Francisco being offset by more conservative views in other parts of the state. And this week there were two further setbacks:
George Mull, president of the California Cannabis Association, said the initiative is so poorly designed that it poses a threat to medical users of marijuana. Under Proposition 19 local authorities would be allowed to ban marijuana as well as to tax it, leading to the possibility of medical marijuana dispensaries being outlawed in some places.
This was followed by a much-hyped statement by the Rand Corporation saying that legalized marijuana will not provide any hindrance to the Mexican cartels. It is the curbing of cartel instigated violence that has been one of the main driving forces behind the push for legalization.
And, of course, as ever, health issues that are, rightly or wrongly, associated with the marijuana question have also come under scrutiny with a spokesman from the
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, opining that marijuana “does not cause dramatic physical dependence but can lead to substantial problems in education, work, and relationships.”
We live in Interesting Times…