Puff. Puff. But don’t pass.
This is what the fight to fully legalize the usage of marijuana in California looks like right now.
Despite polls suggesting the majority of Californians’ support, the Democrat Party’s backing and positive tax figures, state Governor Jerry Brown pulls the brakes. One of the reasons: Pot smokers’ ineffectiveness as citizens.
As a result, the Golden State finds itself stuck and unable to follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado.
“All of a sudden, if there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?” Brown said in an interview with NBC News on March 2.
It’s been 18 years since California became the first state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. To date, 19 other states have passed the same law.
But after the 2012 National Elections, only two states achieved complete victory in the battle to decriminalize weed.
The Democratic Party believes California is lagging behind.
“It’s time for all of us to step up and step in and lead once again in California, just as we did in 1996,” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a speech at the Democrat’s three-day convention in Los Angeles on March 9.
“For almost 20 years now, we’ve sat back admiring our accomplishment while the world, the nation, and states like Colorado and Washington have passed us by,” he added.
Since the sales of legal marijuana started on Jan. 1 this year, Colorado is already expecting up to $100 million in tax revenue, the New York Times reported in February.
These numbers were not ignored by the nation, especially not by California.
That’s why in their newly approved platform, the Democrats included a plank to legalize marijuana once and for all.
“It’s time to legalize, it’s time to tax, it’s time to regulate marijuana for adults in California,” Newsom said.
Money figures aside, the voice of the public also played a role in appealing the fight.
At the end of 2013, the Field Research Corporation published a poll concluding that 55 percent of Californians support legalizing marijuana. In February, the Pew Research Center published a similar study, saying 52 percent of Americans are pro-legalization.
But Gov. Brown remains hesitant.
According to an April 5 report by The New York Times, the governor answered curtly when asked during this year’s budget presentation.
“I think we ought to kind of watch and see how things go in Colorado,” Brown said.
As for Brown’s earlier remarks, although not directly, Newsom had a fitting response.
“This is not a debate about hippies. This is not a debate about stoners. We can’t diminish this issue or the people involved in this debate by belittling them and trivializing them,” he said.
“Let me be clear. You can be pro-regulation without being an advocate for drug use,” he concluded.