WHAT IS PROPOSITION 19?

Proposition 19 would allow people 21 and older to cultivate up to 25 square feet of marijuana and carry up to 1 ounce of marijuana for personal use at nonpublic locations. The state would regulate businesses selling marijuana and collect fees and taxes the way it does for cigarettes and alcohol.


GENERAL FACTS ABOUT MARIJANA

As President Jimmy Carter acknowledged:
"Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use."

• Marijuana prohibition needlessly destroys the lives and careers of literally hundreds of thousands of good, hard-working, productive citizens each year in this country. More than 800,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges last year, and more than 5 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses in the past decade. Almost 90 percent of these arrests are for simple possession, not trafficking or sale. This is a misapplication of the criminal sanction that invites government into areas of our private lives that are inappropriate and wastes valuable law enforcement resources that should be focused on serious and violent crime.

• Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers an estimated $10 billion annually and results in the arrest of more than 847,000 individuals per year -- far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

• Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose.

• California's pot crop is worth $14 billion, according to a state report. The Press Democrat points out that crushes the wine crop which comes in at $2 billion. Legalization would be a huge shot in the arm for plenty of ancillary industries, such as banking and construction.


MEDICAL USE

• Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications.
These include pain relief -- particularly of neuropathic pain (pain from nerve damage) -- nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant, specifically for patients suffering from HIV, the AIDS wasting syndrome, or dementia. Emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuroprotective.

• Currently, more than 60 U.S. and international health organizations support granting patients immediate legal access to medicinal marijuana under a physician's supervision.


USE OF HEMP & RESOURCES

Why are American farmers legally forbidden from growing a plant proclaimed by Popular Mechanics magazine to have the potential to be manufactured into more than 25,000 environmentally friendly products? It's because the plant is hemp -- also known as marijuana -- and for more than 60 years, it has remained the U.S. government's public enemy #1.

Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. It is a tall, slender, fibrous plant similar to flax or kenaf. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed and other products.
Hemp produces a much higher yield per acre than do common substitutes such as cotton and requires few pesticides. In addition, hemp has an average growing cycle of only 100 days and leaves the soil virtually weed-free for the next planting.

The hemp plant is currently harvested for commercial purposes in over 30 nations, including Canada, Japan and the European Union. Although it grows wild across much of America and presents no public health or safety threat, hemp is nevertheless routinely uprooted and destroyed by law enforcement. Each year, approximately 98% of all the marijuana eliminated by the DEA's "Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program" is actually hemp.

SUPPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT & PRISON REFORM

Since Ronald Reagan began his war on drugs in 1982, the US prison population has quadrupled: The US only has 5% of the world’s population, but we now have 25% of its prisoners — more than China. In 2007, arrests for marijuana possession alone totaled 775,138, greatly exceeding arrests forall violent crimes combined.

There is no evidence that decriminalization of marijuana has increased use: In studies that compare rates of marijuana use in states that have decriminalized vs. states that haven’t, most of the evidence suggests that decriminalization has had no effect. European countries with less draconian drug laws have lower rates of use. And though it is purely anecdotal, it is nonetheless true that following the end of alcohol prohibition, consumption of alcohol actually went down.


SOLVE OUR BORDER CRISIS

Border security and immigration hysteria is being fueled by money going to drug cartels from marijuana smuggling: Contrary to popular belief, the shooting at the Mexican border which triggered the recent draconian Arizona search law was precipitated by a shooting over marijuana smuggling, not undocumented workers. To solve the border crisis, legalize marijuana.

Ending marijuana prohibition could cut the profits of Mexican drug cartels by 60%, money that has enabled them to threaten the stability of Mexico: Recently outgoing head of the CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden, warned that drug cartels “threaten … the well-being of the Mexican people and the Mexican state.”


DRIVING YOUNG VOTER TURNOUT

Drug arrests deny young people access to educational and other opportunities: A 1998 law denies financial aid to any student convicted of even a misdemeanor drug offense. The arrests produce a permanent criminal record, easily accessed on the internet, that can also keep applicants from getting a job, a loan or even an apartment. Over 200,000 students have lost their access to student loans over marijuana arrests.

The issue of marijuana legalization is overwhelmingly popular with young voters: After the 2008 election, President-elect Obama conducted three rounds of voting on his official Transition Team Web site, asking users to submit ideas and vote on them. In all three rounds of voting questions related to taxing and regulating marijuana were the top vote getters.

Marijuana legalization on the ballot is a strong incentive for young voters to turn out: A recent poll by AmericaVotes found that 47% of “surge” voters were more likely to turn out to vote in the midterm if marijuana legalization were on the ballot.