Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010
Article By Dion Markgraaff
Photo By Eric Fowler
Itâ€™s approaching; the historic November 2nd vote is almost here.Â There has never been an opportunity like the one Californians have in a few weeks.Â In one collective action, the November vote will impact the entire world.Â In victory, an enormous positive force will not only hit the golden state, but every corner of the planet.Â In the global war between cannabis lovers and the pollution producing haters, cannabis and California will have won the biggest battle in the history of the world.
The central â€œold guardâ€ 20th century systemâ€™s thesis for justifying their global jihad against natureâ€™s most useful plant, cannabis sativa, is that the glands of the flowers were too dangerous for society.Â Even if farmers agreed to only grow non-THC hemp, as the rest of the world does now, our society would still be made fearful of using this plant for paper, fiber, fuel, food, construction material, and more.Â Itâ€™s ironic that the desire and billions of dollars spent for those same glands and trichomes are the fuel for finally achieving freedom for this plant.Â The global crusade against this useful plant will have turned a major corner for everyone.Â The economic and social results from California, the most powerful economic and agricultural place on earth, will be a shining example to others.
â€œIf they vote â€˜yesâ€™ to approve the full legalization of marijuana, I think it will have a radical impact in Mexico,â€ said Jorge Hernandez Tinajero, a political scientist at the National Autonomous University.Â More than 60% of Mexican cartel money comes from the cannabis trade.Â Vicente Fox, the former President of Mexico and a conservative, said that cannabis should be legal in his country, â€œThe sales could be taxed with high taxes, as we do with tobacco, which could be used to fight addiction and reduce consumption.â€Â Even the drug warrior extremist and current President of Mexico, Felipe CalderÃ³n, said after seeing 28,000 people killed in Mexico in the past four years of his term, he is finally open to the debate about legalizing drugs.Â He has a supporter in Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.Â Santos said that if California passed a ballot initiative this November to legalize cannabis he would team up with the presidents of Mexico and Peru â€œto work out how we are going to react and what is going to happen after this referendum.â€Â These countries will be joining Argentina, Czech, Mexico (legalized 5 grams for everyone last year), Chile, Portugal, and others who have recently passed laws for a more pragmatic policy towards this plant based on health and economic efficiency and not the â€œold guardâ€ fascist forces who manipulate us for money.
The world war on cannabis has helped cause an environmental holocaust, while imprisoning millions of people around the world.Â In Britain alone, there are 158,000 convictions for cannabis possession a year.Â This cannabis war has led the United States to having the highest prison population rate in the world with 756 per 100,000 of the national population followed by Russia (629), Rwanda (604), St. Kitts & Nevis (588), Cuba (531), U.S. Virgin Islands (512), British Virgin Islands (488), Palau (478), Belarus (468), Belize (455), Bahamas (422), Georgia (415), American Samoa (410), Grenada (408) and Anguilla (401).Â In 1980, the U.S. incarceration rate was under 150 per 100,000.Â There have been over 20 million people arrested on cannabis charges in the U.S. and the numbers continue to increase around the world.Â Â The youngest child of Bob Marley just pled guilty to growing cannabis in her Philadelphia home.Â Even George Obama, the half-brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, was arrested last year by Kenyan police after they raided his house and found 1 joint. In 2009, the number of cannabis-related arrests in California was 17,008 felonies and 61,164 misdemeanors, for a total of 78,172; I was one of those among these numbers.
An arrest is like a bomb going off in oneâ€™s life; it hurts the target and causes widespread damage.Â I have been arrested for cannabis many times in many places in the world; Germany, Canada, Switzerland, France, Mexico, even Holland twice, and many times in California.Â Basically â€“ being arrested anywhere sucks hard core. The pain is not from the initial explosion with the government (the arrest), but with the difficult peripheral aftereffects to oneâ€™s life and family.Â However, I am grateful for not being shot, which is often the case, like in 1992 when a sheriff killed my friend and colleague of San Diego NORML, Cardiff Town Council Member Paul Reynolds.
Personally, I can no longer take the lies, repression, hypocrisy, and government resistance to the law anymore, which is especially true with regard to my child and his future.Â Being arrested with my girlfriend at my home in Vista last summer was the final straw.Â It was the 4th time in 14 years since Prop. 215 was passed.Â Even though we were patients with recommendations for cannabis from our doctors, paying the extra $160 for a state card license, being the leader of San Diego ASA for many years, and knowing the law extensively, we were still arrested, jailed and given a bail of $135,000 â€“ each.Â Why? Because we had legal cannabis AND a child.Â Unknown to most people, you cannot have both under our current system.Â For example, you may have a legal gun, but if you also have legal cannabis, then they both become illegal, just ask James Stacy.Â The more outrageous part of this event was your government taking my child, who was less than 2 years old, despite his grandmother arriving on the scene to take care of him. The government said we were lucky to even get him back.Â Despite the governments offer to drop the cannabis charges against us, because they did not have a case, the San Diego District Attorneyâ€™s Office spent the next 6 months threatening to permanently take away my child.
For you it gets even worse.Â As a cannabis activist in San Diego for the last 14 years, I was rightfully scared to tell anyone about what had happened and terrified to stand up for our rights because I knew the government would come down on us even harder.Â The criminal, cruel, and vindictive nature of our local government, despite our medical cannabis law, can be seen in the long list of San Diego civil and cannabis rights activists.Â From Steve McWilliams (my co-defendant in my 1st California arrest in 1998), the innumerable amount of collective operators (most of whom would be afraid of me publishing their names), Cletus Greathouse, Jovan Jackson (on trial again right now, 2nd time this year), Eugene Davidovich, James Stacy (on Federal trial right now)â€¦the list goes on and will continue to grow unless we change it.
I cannot gamble my childâ€™s future on this evil system.Â According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice, August 2008, â€œAn estimated 809,800 prisoners of the 1,518,535 held in the nationâ€™s prisons at midyear 2007 were parents of minor children or children under age 18.Â Parents held in the nationâ€™s prisons â€“ 52% of state inmates and 63% of federal inmates reported having an estimated 1,706,600 minor children, accounting for 2.3% of the U.S. resident population under age 18.â€Â However, we can all take a huge step towards changing this structure with your upcoming vote.
We must make sure Prop. 19 becomes the law.Â You should be spending every day working in some way to increase the chances of getting this initiative passed.Â You can be raising money, awareness, or both.Â Talking with family and friends is a must, but donâ€™t forget about the people you work with, go to school with, or buy your stuff from.Â They all need to know how important this vote is for everyone.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, â€œHistory will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.â€Â And, â€œWe are faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today.Â Procrastination is still the thief of time.Â Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words â€˜Too Lateâ€™.â€
I plead with you, as I write you these words from exile in Spain; please do everything to see that Prop. 19 passes.Â Do it for the children, yourself, and global freedom everywhere; tax and regulate cannabis now and change the world for a better future.