The Golden State is flat broke, but all anybody there wants to talk about is legalizing and taxing marijuana. Joe Mathews on how vital reforms are going up in smoke.
California, broke and dysfunctional, desperately needs a white-hot public debate over how to fix its budget, its economy, and its state constitution. What the state may get instead is a white-hot public debate over marijuana.
In a state where democracy is direct and voters rule, such debates take place via ballot initiative. So the next great opportunity to do something about the state’s troubles comes in the November 2010 general elections. With long lead times for filing initiatives and gathering the signatures needed to qualify, that ballot is just now beginning to take shape. The early outlook is worrisome.
“Taxing marijuana is easy to understand,” says one political consultant. “Constitutional reform isn’t. I think everyone will be completely confused by the reforms.”
Hopefully reading this doesn't get you down. This article explores the reality of marijuana legalization in California. It's not going to be simple and it's most definitely not going to be quick. Marijuana's problems reach past the social confusion to tangled political and legal dilemas
From a more global perspective you can see how this will affect Marijuana's legalization worldwide. When something has been illegal and been looked down upon as a deliquent activity it's hard to turn things around.
Maybe one day Britain, Europe, and probably least likely Japan will be able to see the ridiculousness of pot prohibition. It will probably take the U.S. leading the way though and California is the first step to changing Americas pot policies.
So it's all on the shoulders of the second sunniest state in the union. (Florida is the 1st)