Legal or Not So Legal?

As this fall semester comes to an end, so too does my semester-long discussion of “If California Should Legalize Marijuana for Recreational Use”. This project has given me opportunity to grow as a writer and become more informed about a topic that is extremely relevant and really interests me. Those who have kept up with the recent marijuana news know that Prop 61 has passed and recreational marijuana use is now legal in the state of California. In my final post, I want to address the questions that both sides of issue have of, “Now what? What happens next?”

Though marijuana laws are becoming very lenient and smoking weed is becoming more and more accepted in society, this may not be necessarily true in the workplace. According to Samantha Masunaga, a contact reporter for the LA Times, “… the new law states that employers still have the right to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace and can keep policies that prohibit the use of cannabis by employees and prospective workers,” meaning that marijuana use in the in the workplace is up to the discretion of the employers. Medical and recreational users alike can still be discriminated against during the hiring process and fired for failing company-issued drug tests. This law can have a negative impact on one-time users, or “one-hit-wonders” as I like to call them, who are applying for jobs and take part in drug screenings as marijuana can be present in the urine and saliva for as long as several days to few weeks even after a one-time use.

This causes an issue and contradiction where someone can be discriminated against by law for exercising a freedom they are allowed under the same law. I urge supporters of Prop 61 and members of the state congress to resolve this issue and revise the law to provide a fair chance for many young American marijuana consumers looking for work. There is no easy solution to this issue. I understand both sides as it is fair for employers to not want their employees to be high at work, but it is unfair for those employees and applicants to be punished for consuming a legal substance. Personally, I would suggest for employers to enact a zero-tolerance policy in regards to being high at work, although admittedly this would be hard to judge. Another suggestion would be for employers to completely ignore traces of marijuana in drug tests and crack down harder on illegal substances instead. There are obviously pros and cons of applying this policy as with any policy, but again there is no easy solution and I will leave the changing of laws to the elected officials who we pay to do so.

 

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Lounge8Four7 in SF  is temporarily closed due to pending permits that are fighting to allow marijuana to be consumed. Taken from The Cannabist

Another issue with Prop 64 is that while smoking marijuana is legal, users will have a hard time finding a place to do so. This problem has already arose in Colorado as David Kelly, quoting Denver restaurant owner, Daniel Landes, says, “You have people coming to Denver to enjoy legal pot, and they have had no place to use it,” as recreational marijuana use is confined to private property. Along with public spaces, many business owners have prohibited the use of marijuana on their private properties. What I suggest is that marijuana-friendly business owners, especially owners of bars and restaurants, create a way to generate revenue off marijuana users; perhaps charging customers who are looking to smoke on their property. Here in California, several marijuana industry business owners have already invested their money into smoking lounges and bars where customers are provided a comfortable space to kickback, relax, and smoke legal marijuana. A potential danger that arises from smoking weed in these bars, lounges, or restaurants is that these places encourage these customers to become extremely high by providing a safe place to smoke; and after these customers are done they then hit the road with their impaired driving. As I addressed in my previous post, high driving is a serious issue with potentially fatal consequences and should not be taken lightly.

 

In all honesty, inside I knew since the beginning of this project that Prop 64 was going to pass, especially with our state’s long liberal history with marijuana and the support of new young voters; however, I did not realize how delicate an issue of recreational marijuana is. The legalization of recreational marijuana is not the end of the discussion whether or not weed is good or bad for society, but rather the beginning of a statewide experiment whose results will answer that question. I urge to all you fellow smokers, new and old, to smoke responsibly because just as Prop 64 was passed, it can be easily repealed and all the freedoms we have fought for can be taken away. Also, do not think that just because recreational marijuana is now legal the fight is over and we can just sit back and smoke til our lungs run out of breath. We have to continue to raise awareness and encourage responsible use and condemn abuse. We have to put pressure on our elected officials to continue editing and revising marijuana laws so that they are fair and represent the wishes of the people. Finally, we have to set the precedent of how society exercises this new freedom and ensure that future generations have an example to look toward when they spark their first joints. To question of “What now? What comes next?” that I posed at the beginning of this post, I’ll tell you what: fun times and good highs. As long as we act responsibly, even with my bloodshot eyes and clouds of smoke all around me, the future is looking pretty bright if you ask me.

Don’t Take the High Way

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Poster made by Lauren Roxas and pictures taken from google

On my poster, I wanted to raise awareness of the potential life-threatening dangers that not only face participants of high driving behind the wheel, but those around the driver as well. As I mentioned in a previous post, law enforcement’s inability to effectively determine high driving before Prop 61 is enacted may lead to an increase in high driving as these drivers will not have to worry about being caught. My goal for this poster is for readers, marijuana users in particular, to consider risks other than being caught by law enforcement that are incurred by driving high. What I hope marijuana consumers and people considering trying marijuana visualize is that smoking weed impairs their ability to drive and endangers their lives and the lives of others.

In order to effectively communicate and visualize this idea, I included two anti-marijuana symbols in the top corners to catch the reader’s attention and indicate right away that this poster is against marijuana consumption in some form. The dark green represents the color of life as well as the color of marijuana leaves, but the darker color tone symbolizes how there is a darker and more serious side to weed. At the top-center of the poster, written in the largest font on the page, I added the slogan, “Don’t Take the High Way”, a play on the words “highway” as in roads and “high” as in the feeling consumers get after smoking marijuana. This statement is intended to sound clever in order to draw the reader’s attention and have him or her think critically about the statement’s meaning.

The next text the reader comes across is the statement, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean your passengers should be too,” alluding to the fact that one of the side effects smoking marijuana is increased anxiety and paranoia. This anxiety and paranoia is also present in the passenger who feels unsafe in a car with a driver who is under the influence. The message that I am trying to convey through this statement is two-fold; first, driving high is unsafe due to raised levels of paranoia that can lead to making wrong and fatal decisions on the road. Second, and less obvious but more important, is that driving high does not only affect the driver but is unsafe for all parties involved–the driver, passenger, pedestrians, other drivers, and other people who the driver may not consider before sparking up behind the wheel.

In between the two sets of text is an image that visualizes the messages of the written statements. The image depicts a scenario that may become all too often with the legalization of marijuana, where the driver is smoking while behind the wheel with a passenger in the car. The two women portray the intended demographic I am trying to reach with this poster, everyday common young people who casually smoke while driving without considering the dangerous implications. Though the female driver has her eyes towards the road, she is recklessly driving with one hand on the wheel and a joint in the other as she blows smoke into the passenger’s face. Judging by the look on her face, the passenger is obviously distraught by the driver’s smoke, echoing the sentiment brought up in the second statement. Also, the driver seems relaxed and oblivious to how her actions are affecting her passenger, mirroring how high drivers are often oblivious to how dangerous their actions can be. An aspect of smoking while driving not mentioned in the text that is brought up in the picture is that smoking inside the car not only puts the driver in an impaired mental state, but the smoke inside in the car further impairs the ability to drive by impeding visibility.

Finally, at the bottom right of the poster I added the slogan, “Drive High or Say Goodbye” along with the link to my wordpress. “Drive High or Say Goodbye” is intended to have a more solemn and somber tone than the rest of the poster in order to emphasize to the reader the seriousness of this issue. The link to my wordpress is there for those readers who are intrigued by the message the poster is conveying or simply want to learn more about marijuana legalization.

My images:

Women smoking a joint and passenger coughing

Nonsmoking weed signs edited by myself

Say High to Marijuana

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Marijuana leaf and handcuffs, taken from google

After discussing both sides of the argument in my last couple posts, I have come to the conclusion that the pros of passing Prop 64 do outweigh the cons, and I strongly believe that the state of California should legalize marijuana for recreational use. Ultimately it came down to two key factors, one, the enormous economic boost the state will receive and two, the fact that legalization will save thousands of innocent Americans from unjust mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug crimes.

As I explained in an earlier post, the recreational marijuana industry is expected to become worth billions of dollars, generating millions in tax revenue to help balance the state’s budget and debt crisis. According to Melody Gutierrez, an author for the San Francisco Chronicle, California’s debt is shockingly well over $400 billion and growing. Large chunks of this deficit can be taken care through the tax revenue that would come in after legalization. The LA Times Editorial Board announces that, “California dispensaries sold an estimated $2.7-billion worth of marijuana last year, and industry observers predict that recreational and medical market could increase to $6-billion by 2020,” showing the potential sums of revenue California may obtain and benefit from.

It is said that the tax revenue will be implemented into programs such as drug use prevention and treatment, lawmaking and enforcement, environmental cleanup and research, and helping at-risk youth by the first few years of legalization. Although tax revenue isn’t distributed straight to local cities or counties, according to Brooks Edwards Staggs, a writer for the Orange County Register, she says, “There also would be opportunities for governments, schools, public safety agencies and nonprofits in cities that welcome the cannabis industry to compete for hundreds of millions a year in grants that will fund substance abuse programs, offset enforcement costs and more,” that will give a chance to governments, schools, and public safety agencies to invest and create innovative projects with their money. I believe that the best way to utilize this new money is to invest it in our education system and help out poorer schools.

After coming from a private high school and entering college, I was shocked to learn that students coming from public high schools did not receive enough funding to be provided with most of the resources that I thought of as necessities. It is my hope that the revenue generated from this new industry will be invested in a responsible way that will help fund a better future while also preventing marijuana consumption from getting out of control.

Other than just the money generated, another reason I support legalization is that it will save many “innocent” people from being arrested due to such a minor offense and also save California residents from having to pay taxes to keep those innocent people behind bars. A supporter of legalization and an attorney for Drug Policy Action, Jolene Forman 

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Penn State report of marijuana use, taken from google

says, “It wastes taxpayer dollars locking up young people, diverts law enforcement resources away from more important work, and places cruel burdens on black and Latino communities, even though whites, blacks, and Latinos sell and use marijuana at equal rates.” He also adds that, “In 2010, more than 54,800 people were arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges,” exposing the unjust amount of innocent people, often young people, committing no crime other than wanting to have a good time with friends.

Overall, I support legalization because of the idea of killing two birds with one stone, which I proposed in an earlier post. The state California can both gain a billion dollar industry and significantly reduce crime rates through passing one single law. While there is the possibility of corruption as thirsty businessmen are eagerly waiting to take advantage of the new industry and all its potential profits, ultimately the pros outweigh the cons. If Prop 64 passes, however, we as citizens of California cannot sit around and just hope politicians and lawmakers use the potential money responsibly. We must put pressure on our government to ensure that the corruption does takeover the industry and that the money is invested into the right things, such as research, education, and substance abuse prevention. With that being said, I urge all Californians, young and old, liberals and conservatives, heavy stoners and casual smokers, to all vote YES on Proposition 64 and legalize our state’s long relationship with its good old friend, Mary Jane.

Stop Smoking Pot

Continuing the discussion about the pros and cons of passing Proposition 64 which would legalize the use of recreational marijuana, despite the all benefits I explained in my last post, many opponents of Prop 64 make a strong case as to why voters should vote “no” on election day. One of the main arguments against Prop 64 is the fact that legalization would increase the amount of irresponsible smokers driving under the influence, therefore increasing the potential danger drivers face on the road.

One of the problems with recreational marijuana is that, unlike alcohol which stays in your system for only a couple hours, marijuana can be found in your body days after being consumed, making it difficult to effectively regulate and test if someone is high while behind the wheel. There are currently two main methods to test for marijuana consumption that are often used for mandatory drug tests as part of job applications, urine tests and oral cotton swabbing; however both prove to be ineffective for DUI testing.

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Brief description of marijuana urine test results, taken from google

The process of testing urine samples can take upwards of a couple days and would be useless for on the spot DUI testing. As for oral cotton swabbing, Dale Gieringer, director of the California of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, states, “There’s no evidence that oral swab testing results have any correlation to impaired driving,” meaning the test would only identify if drivers had marijuana in their system, not proving if the driver was actually high at the moment they were tested.

With very little time to find an answer to effectively regulate high driving, law enforcement fears that passing Prop 64 before finding the solution would fill the highways with dangerous amounts of irresponsible drugged drivers. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report found that there was already a “22% increase in drugged driving arrests between 2007 and 2014,” a statistic made prior to Prop 64 being written. With the legalization of marijuana, drugged driving arrests will inevitably grow and become worse and worse.

Not only does legalization bring more drugged drivers onto roads, but legalization may also increase substance abuse among the youth. In my previous post I stated that the statistics in Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, did not show any significant increase of marijuana consumption by the youth after legalization; however, what those statistics fail to show is that the vast majority of of illegal underage drug abuse goes undetected with or without legalization. In fact, according to Kieran Nicholson, an author for the Denver Post, “The survey, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), shows Colorado leads all states in regular marijuana use among youth, according to a Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) media release,” arguing that over the years once marijuana is legalized, legalization can only influence the youth, not bring it down.

One factor of creating a new marijuana industry that would contribute to more underage substance abuse would be the increase of exposure due to advertisements.  According to Brooke Edwards, staff writer for the Orange County Register, the campaign supporting Prop 64 has spent, “$11.3 million, per the latest report filed Sept. 29 (2016), with $6.5 million spent on TV and radio ads now airing,” compared to the the “No on 64” campaign which has only “raised more than $1 million and spent nearly half of it, including $50,000 on TV ads.” With that much money being invested into just getting Prop 64 passed, one can imagine the amount of money that will be spent on advertisements after legalization. With all these potential ads it would not be possible for the youth to avoid the constant exposure of marijuana consumption. The young impressionable minds would be more likely to follow what they see and hear on TV or the radio and begin consuming the substance themselves.

If Prop 64 were to pass in California, the state would only see in an increase in the number of marijuana consumers, and would therefore see an increase in the amount of high drivers and youth abusers as well. The supporters who I addressed in my previous post may be blinded by dollar signs that could come from the predicted billion-dollar industry and not see the potential harm and dangerous future that may come about if Prop 64 were to pass.

Marijuana Opens Way in California

Addressing the questions I posed in my previous post of, “what are the pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana? And do the pros outweigh the cons?”, one of the pros is that the decriminalization of marijuana will decrease the amount of non-violent drug offenses and reduce the overall crime rate. Proponents of legalization argue that thousands of “good” people are being arrested for possession of marijuana and are sent to jail on mandatory minimums.

Looking to the example set by Washington and Colorado, Prop 64 supporters believe that marijuana legalization will decrease crime rates, saving state and local governments thousands of dollars on imprisonment and arrests costs. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization promoting drug policies, after one year of legalization in Washington, the report claims, “Filings for low-level marijuana offenses are down 98% for adults 21 and older. All categories of marijuana law violations are down 63% and marijuana-related convictions are down 81%.”

Not only are crime rates dropping, but the states are also benefiting economically from legalization: “Washington has collected nearly $83 million in marijuana tax revenues,” saving the state millions of dollars in crime fighting and reallocating that money toward, “funding substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, youth and adult drug education, community health care services, and academic research and evaluation on the effects of marijuana legalization.” So by decriminalizing the sale and possession of marijuana would be killing two birds with one stone in a sense because not only would the state save money by reducing the costs of enforcing non-violent drug offenses, but the state would even gain millions in tax revenue on top of the money they would save.

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Marijuana Ads displayed on casual Television, taken from google

Despite the monetary benefits, some conservatives insist on opposing Prop 64 because they fear for the future of the youth. Though the proposed law would strictly enforce the fact that only adults 21 years old or older may possess and buy marijuana, opponents believe that legalizing marijuana for adults will still increase illegal consumption among the youth and young teens; however, the statistics disagree.

According to Joshua Miller, author of the  Boston Globe article, “In Colo., a look at life after marijuana legalization”, he states that, “the change in Colorado’s youth use rate from 2012-2013 — before full legalization— to 2013-2014 — partly after — was not statistically significant. And federal statisticians say the findings are not sufficient to draw conclusions about changes in youth marijuana use patterns as a result of legalization.” While the stats do not give a definitive answer on whether legalization increases consumption among the youth, they still challenge the preconceived notion that the youth will be negatively influenced by the substance. Also, by allocating some of the potential tax revenue toward research and raising awareness to stop substance abuse the possible negative impact on the youth will be further reduced.

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States such as Colorado and Washington are racking up millions of dollars from the marijuana industry, taken from google

Despite all these reasons I just stated there are still negatives to legalization which I will address in my next post; however, the main takeaway from this side of the argument is that passing Prop 64 will take millions of dollars out of the black market and generate millions more in tax revenue, all while reducing the overall crime rate and raising awareness to stop substance abuse.

Smoker Friendly California?

For the next four posts, I will explore the controversial topic of marijuana legalization, and address the question of whether or not Californians should vote “yes” on Proposition 64, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana. In recent years, other states such as Colorado and Washington have passed similar laws like Prop 64 and have seen positive results such as decrease in violent crimes and millions in tax revenue without the expected negatives like an increase marijuana usage among the youth. The questions I hope will discuss and hope to answer in the next couple posts are: what are the pros and cons of legalizing recreational marijuana? And do the pros outweigh the cons?

The state of California has a long history with the legalization of marijuana. The state was the first to pass Proposition 215 in 1996 which legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and for the two decades since then, Californians have been fighting for legalizing recreational use.  According to George Skelton, a writer for the LA Times, he says, “In 2010, a marijuana legalization initiative lost by seven percentage points.” Today, “All polls show the initiative winning by a landslide, supported by roughly 60% of voters,” proving that Californians have become more active and accepting for recreational use.

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Prop 64 Ad, Take from google

Supporters of Prop 64, many of whom are companies ready to take advantage of the new possible business opportunities, believe that legalizing marijuana will create an entirely new profitable industry that will provide an enormous boost to California. Ben Alder, public radio host for Capital, reports that marijuana may bring “additional tax revenues ranging from high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually, mostly dedicated to specific purposes,” such as “reimbursing state agencies for their regulatory costs, drugged driving research, after-school programs, and environmental restoration,” creating smart                 innovative projects to make California better.

Opponents of Prop 64, however, are against the fact that people are looking to invest into the marijuana industry only to gain from its promising fortune. Lauren Michaels, legislative director for the California Police Chiefs Association, comments on the marijuana industry saying, “It’s a bad initiative being funded by people with dollar signs in their eyes,” reveal the greed of those who seek to join the new industry.

Others who oppose recreational marijuana use, mostly older conservatives, fear their neighborhoods will become unsafe due to the increase in violent crimes that may possibly arise.

Citizens, law enforcement, and state legislation alike also worry about the potential costs and dangers and negative effects that allowing the free use of marijuana will have on their communities. Skelton, also adds, “No one — not even highway patrolmen — knows precisely how stoned a motorist can be before he’s dangerously under the influence of cannabis,” exposing that California’s government doesn’t have an answer to enforce and determine “high” driving.

As you can see from just this quick intro into some of the pros and cons, the legalization of marijuana is a very controversial topic right now. Since the issue of legalization will appear once again on Californian’s ballots this November 8th, and with more support than ever, there is much debate on the fiscal, economic, and social impact that this vote will have on the future of our state.

New Perspective for Recreational Use

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The picture displays the obvious correlation between poorly produced marijuana vs. very potent marijuana

Taken from google

California economy adds another promising industry that is expected to be a six and half billion-dollar industry by 2020. KQED public radio host, Michael Krasny, along with four marijuana experts located around the bay area, shares a podcast forum called, California Businesses Seeing Green in Legal Marijuana and Prop. 64, inviting eager marijuana listeners to see the economical push and pull factors that the marijuana industry may go through in the next few years. While the podcast covered a lot on the economic aspect of marijuana, I was able to learn more detail on small and upcoming businesses, marijuana tax and revenue, and investors looking to succeed in the marijuana industry.

Small businesses and people looking to produce marijuana worry that their businesses will be shut down due to prop 64. A listener and admitted ex-marijuana grower asks the show hosts if prop 64 allows people who have a past felony, be able to participate in the marijuana industry. Bow Kilmer, co-director of a drug policy center and marijuana expert, replies that people who want to enter the industry but are afraid to because of their criminal record can still appeal for a marijuana-growing license and attend expungement clinics to remove felonies on their record. Although this may bring ex-convicts back into the industry, I strongly disagree on how State and local governments can do to check if these people can grow marijuana legally.

Congress and State governments continue to work on the flexibility of marijuana taxation. David Downes, a reporter and expert on marijuana issues, says currently the tax on retail marijuana is 15% and for every ounce of bud, $9.25 is to be added. Downes continues and disagrees with this form of taxation because the tax is targeting the weight of the marijuana and not by its potency. Downes brings up a interesting point proving that tax should be implemented on how strong the marijuana THC levels are. I agree with Downes on this point because the price of a product should be regulated by the quality of that product, and we see this with all the things consumers buy.

The marijuana industry surprisingly has a variety of investors seeking to capitalize on the new industry. Emily Poxia, executive director of California Asset Management, mentions that lawyers, entrepreneurs, and investors in Silicon Valley are not only funding for the recreational use of marijuana due to its encouraging revenue, but for its promising medicinal research and advancement in technology. As marijuana becomes more of an accepted ideal to many people in California, I feel investing in the medicinal side of marijuana can help further improve research and ultimately those who need it the most. Poxia also mentions that researchers have proven that hemp, the leaf of the marijuana plant, has over 25,000 different uses that may benefit medicinal, technological, and social purposes.

All in all, the prohibition of marijuana will remain as a long and tedious process in the next decades or so. However, as State and Federal governments begin to value what marijuana can provide people, the government can begin to excel economically.

When Do We Want it? NOW

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Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act ballot measure, Proposition 64, in San Francisco last May. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Taken from article

As the ballot for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use coming right around the corner, many people speculate many ideas what the drug might bring to California communities. Dennis Romero, an author for the Los Angeles Time, wrote an article published on August 24 of 2016 called, “Why this time will be different for marijuana legalization,” discussing why marijuana is set to be a beneficial factor to our society and economy. Though, a substantial amount of people comment agreeing with Romero in how marijuana contributes to corrupt law enforcement, causes no health harm, and creates innovative projects.

Because of its reputation, marijuana continues to be a problem on California’s streets where people are arrested and put in jail for many years for such a minor offense. Some_dude_2014 believe that because marijuana is illegal, cops exploit the system to arrest non-violent individuals to meet their quota suggesting that there is a “hole” in our government’s system that allows the cops to abuse it. Not only can these be easy arrests for the police, it’s placing many innocent people in jail for minor offenses consequently adding more taxes for ordinary people to help pay for it. Jontomas also adds, “[Police and prosecutors] get millions more from the federal bribe of “drug war” grants. Add to that, easy overtime, easy arrests, easy convictions and easy promotions,” exploiting the so-called “good” cop whose job is to serve and protect.

Due to typical stereotypes, several people argue that marijuana causes health harm and may affect someone’s brain drastically; however, it may be the opposite. Andy.goering1990 replies to comment on how another replier thinks marijuana pollutes people’s air and as well damages their brain arguing that marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes and has proven to treat many cancers. Andy.goering1990 also mentions, “We’re exposed to cancer due to tobacco smoke all the time [for instance] when someone is taking a smoke break outside of where we work or in the parking lot,” contradicting the fact that the air we breath is and was already polluted. Jontomas also adds, “Since we now know marijuana is less “addictive” than coffee, is not a significant cause of auto accidents, does not fuel violence like alcohol, and is far less harmful than alcohol, this is no surprise,” suggesting that marijuana is far more accepting of a substance than alcohol because it doesn’t provoke violence.

Just like alcohol, marijuana supporters say that marijuana should be legalized, regulated, and taxed to better California’s cities. Angelabirch comments that marijuana is a tax advantage mentioning, “Tax from marijuana is boosting the economy here. Our county used it to pave roads [and] a lot goes to education and it means lower taxes for the rest of us,” explaining the positive effects that many cities can obtain from high demanding marijuana smokers and their money. Angelabirch, although admitting she’s a Northern Seattle resident, the money her state makes goes to public education, another innovative factor in better furthering communities.

Majority of the people who commented seemed to be more accepting of where marijuana stands today. And to those who oppose seem to dislike and blame marijuana for its terrible past. However, it’s no doubt that marijuana looks to succeed in the Californian polls by November.

 

Rhetorical Analysis

 

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High tech and controlled marijuana greenhouse hoping to produce a fine product

Taken from google

Rhetorical Analysis of Lovett’s “In California, Marijuana Is Smelling More Like Big Business”

“Fashion changes, haircuts change. We go through cultural changes,” said by Tommy Chong, one of the world’s most famous marijuana enthusiast and specialist. With the legalization of marijuana for recreational use returning to the California poll since nearly 6 years ago, author Ian Lovett of the New York Times, wrote, “In California, Marijuana Is Smelling More Like Big Business,” discussing the potential economic benefits California may receive with the distribution of medicinal marijuana. Lovett provides personal opinions, respectable sources, and effective writing strategies that may support why California might be the next Wall Street for the marijuana industry.

Since California was the first state to legalize medicinal cannabis in 1996, Lovett justifies how the marijuana industry has been a hectic scramble motivating many cannabis sellers and/or farmers, and thirsty out of state investors willing to take advantage of the new industry. Cannabis still being the “narcotic” drug being sold in the streets, Lovett warns us that this may influence drug businesses to exploit the new legal industry working around the legal system. With voters expected to approve marijuana for recreational use in November, Lovett illustrates that business will only have an up-hill effect.

Lovett links many sources leading to research firms having readers explore and examine what financial profit businesses all over California have obtained from growing. For example, “ArcView” and “Frontier,” two cannabis research companies have claimed “2.7 billion dollars” were made due to medical marijuana sales in California last year. Lovett links his readers to credible up-to-date information spreading awareness of what the future of marijuana looks like.

Lovett also provides many examples of investors looking to expand their technology and equipment hoping to deliver the most potent and effective product. CalCann Holdings, a medical marijuana holding company, “plans to build a high tech greenhouse along with a kitchen to produce edible marijuana in Orange County.” Instead of the marijuana industry being portrayed as a scary and illegal business, Lovett alarms his readers that the marijuana industry seeks to improve only onto their business and not on materialistic things.

Although Lovett’s writing appears to seem biased and approve of the recreational use of marijuana, his facts persuade readers to support legalization. Lovett quotes Aarong Herzberg, general counsel for CalCann (marijuana company), saying, “Marijuana [is] to be just as easy to grow tomatoes in a garden…It will be like alcohol — you can’t just set up a still and produce it in your garage. You have to apply for permits and pay taxes,” hopefully encouraging many people to enter the marijuana industry, whether being a consumer or producer.

STOP Calling it Pot!

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A movie poster from the 1930s exploiting the growing concern of marijuana.

Taken from Google

STOP Calling it Pot!

With marijuana becoming more accepting of a drug today to most people, I’ve decided that my semester long project will be based on the legalization of marijuana for the future seems promising for the substance to be dealt with medically, legislatively, and economically.

This topic targets many young Americans today as they see marijuana far less dangerous from narcotic drugs such as LSD, cocaine, heroin, and even as less as alcohol. Over 700,000 people were arrested in 2014 for marijuana related offenses making it roughly one arrest every 45 seconds according to Bruce Wright, a writer for the International Business Times. Many young Americans, mainly minorities, have suffered due to their criminal record including possession of marijuana. With such a minor offense, these young Americans are at a disadvantage to get a well-paying job, to receive public benefits, and housing for the rest of their lives.

Times have changed and the US law should remove the federal prohibition on marijuana. Marijuana is classified as a schedule I substance making it equally as dangerous to heroin on a legal standpoint. However, medical research has proven marijuana to produce health benefits once taken… heroin on the other hand does not.

In a recent experiment, The Journal of the American Medical Association held a trial of randomized cannabis plants to treat medical conditions. With the use of medical marijuana, scientists were able to discover that 47% of their patients showed complete resolution of nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. Although the results do not seem significant yet, there is limited information that medicinal marijuana may help with refractory pain, physical pain, and anxiety and sleeping disorders.

State regulation continues to grow over cannabis. The growth of cannabis in California is booming, and therefore the state government are aware that tax on cannabis may be beneficial. When Californians take up Proposition 64 entering the polls on November 8, they will agree upon a 15% cannabis tax and of course to legalize the recreational use of the drug. Some marijuana industries complained that it was unnecessary or too premature to approve a 15% tax on cannabis due to the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation soon to be applied in January of 2018.

As legalization of marijuana for recreational use returns to the polls in the November California ballet of 2016, I believe the future is bright for the drug to be lawfully taxed and dispersed. Politicians have agreed in order to purchase marijuana, the California state requires the patient to be 21 years or older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis only for recreational use. Individuals are also allowed to grow as many as six cannabis plants.

Let’s not forget that marijuana is a trafficking drug meaning that this certain drug is dispersed illegally in the US. What I want to know over the course of the semester is how the state government can regulate the dispersion of marijuana in California? I see transporting the substance as a big problem. With California being one of the most notorious states for drug trafficking, violence may occur in achieving transported substances for profit.