YES ON PROP 19: The Tipping Point in the Drug War by Mikki Norris
We stand at a moment of unprecedented support for our movement and quite possibly, a tipping point in America’s failed War on Drugs.
Prop. 19 was written in such a manner that it has generated tremendous support and endorsements from marijuana legalization and patient advocacy groups as well as organizations typically not aligned with the marijuana community.
This opportunity to change the paradigm should not be missed – there is no guarantee that we will have a another chance to make major steps forward like this any time soon.
The great support it has in the campaign will still be there once it has passed. Prop. 19 has already benefited our movement; the campaign has concentrated on building coalitions that will help us implement it, an international debate has been sparked on marijuana legalization, and there is an overwhelming national excitement that California legalizing the recreational use of marijuana will signify the beginning of the end to America’s failed War on Drugs.
Prop. 19 has the support of the CA NAACP, the Latino Voters League, and ACLU of Northern California, Southern California and San Diego, because they recognize how important it is to end discrimination that marijuana prohibition perpetuates. Prohibition is racist in application, makes criminals out of good tax-paying citizens, and prevents people from getting jobs, benefits, custody of their children and more. If it passes, you can rest assured that they will be there to help implement it and end the abuse.
Prop. 19 has the support of many unions, like the SEIU and the United Food and Commercial Workers because it opens the door to a new, legal industry with the potential for good-paying jobs, jobs, and more jobs.
Prop. 19 has the support of physicians like the Former Surgeon General of the United States, Joycelyn Elders and the Former President of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Dr. Larry Bedard. They support Prop. 19 because they know that cannabis is safer than alcohol and tobacco and that the consequences of prohibition are more harmful to people than cannabis ever could be.
Prop. 19 has the support of 75 law professors who signed a letter endorsing it. They say that marijuana prohibition is an ineffective and bankrupt policy and understand that Prop. 19 will enable the courts to concentrate on prosecuting and incarcerating serious and violent criminals, rather than non-violent marijuana offenders. It will end useless and harmful arrests and incarcerations.
Prop. 19 has the support of Moms United Against the Drug War because it will do a better job of keeping kids from getting cannabis with a regulated and controlled market, and keep more people from getting future-crushing criminal records than the current system.
Prop. 19 has the support of the National Black Police Association, the National Latino Officers Association, LEAP and other law enforcement groups who have experience in the field and know that it is a racist, failed policy, that it wastes law enforcement resources, and that it will put a dent in the cartels operations and the subsequent problems they create. They see it as enhancing public safety.
Prop. 19 has the support of faith leaders and groups like the California Council of Churches IMPACT Progressive Jewish Alliance, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry Action Network, and the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative because there is a moral imperative to end the discrimination against good people who use cannabis and they believe that compassion should lead our drug policy. Of course, they support compassionate (medical) use, but they also realize that it’s wrong to criminalize healthy people in the process.
Prop. 19 has the support of reform organizations like NORML, MPP, Drug Policy Alliance, DrugSense, DRCNet, the Cannabis Consumers Campaign, Safe Access Now, the Mendocino Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, SSDP, Firedoglake, the Courage Campaign, and nearly all of the leaders in the cannabis movement, because they know that medical marijuana is protected, and see Prop. 19 as a major step forward from the status quo.
Prop. 19 is about the future of cannabis and of the movement. Do we want to constrain marijuana and keep it medical, or are we ready to extend equal rights to all adults over 21? Do we want to develop the cannabis industry to help generate jobs, create more products and access to good quality, lower-priced cannabis along with revenue for the common good, or do we submit to prohibition-subsidized, inflated, underground prices and sacrifice non-medical cannabis providers to criminal penalties? Do we want the lack of quality controls and prosecutorial whims of law enforcement to continue? Do we cower to fear mongering by people like the No on 19 campaign, or do we take a stand? I say it’s time to challenge the powers that be with a message sent straight from the California voters: Cannabis is good and we, the people, want it to be legal.
I have been working on this issue for 22 years now, and I am proudly voting for Prop. 19. I am not afraid of the future possibilities for cannabis, and I ask you to stand with me and all these wonderful supporters who believe that criminalization of good people who use cannabis is wrong and should be a thing of the past.
We are the people who have worked so hard to bring reform to the level it is now with Prop. 215, SB420 and SB1449, and we know that our work will not be done if it passes. We know that we will have to be vigilant to make sure that our rights are implemented as intended — to allow patients and non-patient adults alike to use, grow, share, buy and sell cannabis just like we do with other legally, regulated, taxed and controlled products. We are the people who want freedom, justice, and equal rights for all cannabis consumers. Please join us in telling everyone you know to vote:
No on Steve Cooley and Yes on Prop. 19.
Mikki Norris is also the co-author along with husband Chris Conrad of Shattered Lives: Portraits from America’s Drug War