Activist Steve Kubby Wants to Regulate Marijuana Like Wine in California

CANNABIS CULTURE – Long-time pot activist Steve Kubby is back with a new marijuana ballot initiative for California. In this interview with Cannabis Culture, he explains why the Golden State should regulate marijuana like wine.

Proposition 19, the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in California, was narrowly defeated during the November 2010 election. At the time, we figured tenacious activists would start building the next legalization campaign right away. We were right.

Steve Kubby, one of the activists responsible for the successful Proposition 215 that legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996, is back with a new initiative that is already gaining support and making headlines, thanks to the help of some big-name supporters like former US Judge Jim Gray.

In July, Kubby and his team were cleared to begin circulating ballot petitions after the title and summary of their new initiative, The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012, was accepted by the California Secretary of States's office.

Cannabis Culture Editor Jeremiah Vandermeer is pleased to present this interview with Steve Kubby, recorded on Thursday, July 28, 2011.

Cannabis Culture: Great to see all of the positive media attention payed to your proposed initiative in recent weeks. This must be giving the campaign quite a boost.

Steve Kubby: Were pretty happy – I mean we were in USA Today, The Washington Post. I saw a report in Turkey. We were even on a Spanish-language channel in Southern California, so we know there's a pretty high level of interest.

CC: Does submitting early give you guys an advantage over other ballot initiatives?

SK: We planned all along to submit an initiative in August. I was concerned about how the attorney general would respond to an initiative, and what kind of language they would use, so we submitted this version and sure enough they tried to change our "regulation" initiative to a "legalization" initiative. We know "legalization" doesn't test at all as high as "regulation", so we're going to go back and make sure they give us "regulation". We're going to change some terms in our initiative so that it's more clear-cut that it's going to be regulated by California's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, just as wine is regulated. So it was really very shrewd of us to submit early. We will file early in August which means will be done by the middle of February and the election cycle doesn't really begin until March. We want to end right there because after March the price for signatures can double and even triple.

Right now if we can complete by March we know that we'll pay $1.86 a signature, which comes to $1.4 million. We'd rather pay that than $3 or $4 each, which we could get stuck with if we started too late. At the same time we need time to wrap up our fundraising. We have a signed contract with one of the top political fundraisers on the West Coast, we've got the Libertarian party helping out, and we've got our own network of individuals who believe in our kind of politics.

CC: Have you been in touch with Richard Lee and the activists who ran the Prop 19 campaign? What are their thoughts?

SK: The old Prop 19 folks have created a new organization called the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform. We've been in touch with them and we're looking forward to working with them. They have informed us that none of the funders seem interested in funding a California initiate again; they want to put their money in Colorado and Washington. They're going after the old funders that I was the first one to get when I ran the Proposition 215 campaign in 1996 and I've gone on to other funders. We have our own circle of funders and were not under the same restraints that the other reformed organizations are all under.

CC: Why is the wine regulation model the best one suited for regulating cannabis in California?

SK: First and foremost, wine is something that people understand that can be used in moderation and doesn't automatically lead to violence or impairment. People are used to the idea of a group getting together, having some wine and then going home or whatever else they're going to do. So we wanted to put it on that level because that, in fact, is how cannabis is used as well.

If you were an alien from another planet and you came to earth and you saw people doing different activities you would classify pot smoking and wine drinking as highly social interactions with a low potential for violence or injury. So we wanted to put it in that context because that's where it belongs. It doesn't need to be regulated like nuclear plutonium. Plutonium is probably easier for researchers to get than marijuana. We didn't want to put it in the category of hard booze because that would be wrongfully portraying what cannabis is all about – and it would be opening us up to attacks as another form of teenage drinking and abuse. So out of those possibilities, treating it like wine makes the most sense.

In addition to that, Judge Gray and deputy police chief Steven Downing from the LAPD told me their buddies are all telling them privately, "why don't you just regulate it like booze". They understand this. Well we compromised and said "how would you feel if we treated it like wine" and Judge Gray and chief Downing agreed. So that was the great unification model for bringing police, judges and activists together.

David Malmo-Levine has done an absolutely fantastic job for us and has published a comprehensive article comparing the California wine and cannabis industries. He has helped to educate Judge Gray and Chief Downing. Chief Downing even told him how much he had learned reading his paper. David is our official online director of communications and we all really appreciate having him on our team.

CC: Has the acceptance of the title and summary boosted the campaigns credibility? How much do public perceptions play into things at this stage and are you being taken more seriously?

SK: I probably have the best track record of anyone in town because I've only worked on the successful Prop 215 campaign. Of course, when we started that up, not only were people convinced that we wouldn't succeed, but nobody, not even the sleaziest sex tabloid, would agree to use the term medical marijuana. They wouldn't print it and wouldn't say it. Absolutely wouldn't tolerate it. So when we finally qualified for the ballot I remember getting some of the staff together and sitting down in front of the television. I remember saying "they're going to have to say it, they're going to have to say medical marijuana". We were all just kind of transfixed about the possibility they would actually say that on television. So they did Prop 213 and 214 and when they got to 215 they said "medical marijuana" – and then they said it again and again and again. They said it like it was just a regular word and our jaws were on the floor. We were just staring at the TV. Ever since, of course, it's become an everyday word. But there was that day that it went from the taboo word to the everyday word. So I've seen firsthand how people's perceptions can change once you qualify something for the ballot.

And certainly we are very grateful for all the hard work and trail-blazing that Prop 19 has done for us, because they have paved the way. When we came out, we didn't qualify for the ballot, we just qualified for the title and summary. That should be a non-event but 260 different media outlets picked it up. We were in all of the media we wanted to be and we are now being taken very seriously.

CC: How does the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative differ from others like Prop 19?

SK: Everything the reform movement is currently working on is limited to one ounce. Washington: one ounce. Colorado, recreational legalization: one ounce. California – I've seen the draft that one of the reform organizations is working on and honest to God, they are going for one ounce again. Now, one ounce in California is currently an infraction. Who the Hell is going to raise millions of dollars to turn an infraction into a non-infraction for just an ounce? We have no limit on how much pot is legal. It's all legal. There's is a 12-plant limit on growing indoors, but that is it – and no criminal penalties for cultivation, period.

CC: And dried personal amounts?

SK: We're not even getting into that. We don't want anyone coming around measuring dried amounts. It's all legal under our system -– or regulated, as we like to call it. The only way you can screw up is if you sell marijuana and don't pay the regular sales tax, like you do on anything else that you sell. Unlike Prop 19, we don't invent any new laws or any new taxes. Sales tax is already in place so there is no need to introduce a new tax.

It's light-years beyond everybody else but it really sounds reasonable when you read it.

CC: Right now, what's the best way for people to help you?

SK: Everyone wants to get an initiative petition and start signing up people right away, but we are still 60 days away from that stage. When we're ready to get signatures, we're not going to have any volunteer signatures. A very painful lesson that I learned during the Prop 215 campaign is that volunteer signature-gathering does not work. Professional signature gatherers are a must.

So what can people do? They can go to our website and they'll see we have installed the sign-up form where we can get basic information on them and then there in the system. Then they'll get the latest updates and can take part in our proactive system. What can they do once their in? Well, this is all about money – I'm sorry but that's just the reality.

What they can do is help us raise the money. Every $1.80 buys a signature – a validated signature. That's someone who doesn't just get the signature but also validates that it's a registered voter. We need 800,000 signatures, so do the math. We need to raise $1.4 million.

We've got the big money coming in later on, but right now it's really critical that the media sees how much money we can raise each day. Giving us money now in the first few weeks of this campaign is going to determine how respectful and interested the mainstream media is going to be in this campaign. If you don't send any money later but can just send money in the next week or so, you've made the biggest impact you could possibly make. The biggest bang for the buck. And what you'll be making is a contribution to history.

Read the The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012

Read the CC article "Crystal Clear Glasses and Unbleached Rollies", a comprehensive comparison and contrasting of the California wine and California cannabis industries by activist David Malmo-Levine.

Stay tuned to Cannabis Culture for more information about the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative in California.

Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments

HR 2306

http://www.change.org/petitions/let-the-end-marijuana-prohibition-act-get-a-hearing

NORML petition for the RON PAUL HR 2306 bill

CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT

Agreed -- it is all about the money.

When will the cannabis community decide to use the intelligence of now to monetize the future of the industry? Everyone wants to rush ahead without addressing fundamental needs of the administrative situation.

What are people doing asking for money without a realistic plan in place. At present every medical marijuana program since 215 in Cali is a sting operation against citizens -- totally Nazi.

Where is the filing of the class action lawsuit for unlawful biological warfare against the citizens of North American and now the world.

I have personally informed the largest collectives in the state of California - spoke directly to the THC convention in LA 2009 -- in addition to directing readers to the web sites with specific information to establish and initiate the action under comments in this website.

However -- still no concrete actions are on the table that say -- where you born after 1940 -- Did you breast feed -- are you a sexually active human -- food of birth/forest/sex is reason to believe you have been exposed to the bioweapon known as Lyme disease.

Now if all parties focus on remedy -- initiate class action lawsuits -- use the media circle from all the infomercials and court coverages to expose the circumstance which is completely denied by the aggressors in charge -- we will be on the path to recovery.

From my perspective -- self greed of futures keeps everyone in the business from performing necessary collective actions for a intelligent resolve.

WEED AND WINE HAVE BEEN THE MEDS FOR GLADIATORS FOR HISTORY -- WHERE ARE THE GLADIATOR PRODIGIES?

Time to use the philanthropic monies of the world and lets get the claim action moving.

Sounds like he gets it!!

Prop 19 was not written by very good legal minds -we're lucky it didn't pass. 215 was a brilliant brush of genius. Hopefully this initiative is ironclad legal like 215.

California is a waste of time. On to Colorado and Washington

The outlaw rebel rockstar stoners of California who hip hopped their way into sabatoging legalization efforts by opposing prop 19 are getting the prohibition that they wanted. Those that voted against 19 and are connected with the MJ business are worse then the know nothing prohibitionists. They just want prohibition to protect their dirty greedy profits. These Vichyite quislings can go to hell.

Colorado and Washington will be the trend setters in the legalization movement, while California stoners celebrate extending prohibition to protect their dirty money. It's time to write off California. I hope the growers and MJ providers that voted to extend prohibition get their doors busted down and have themselves hauled off to jail. You voted for prohibtion and prohibtion is what you deserve.

Warning to Washington and Colorado: don't let these hip hop outlaw rebel rock star stoners oppose your legalization efforts by worming their way into the debate. Tell them to keep their dirty prohibtion in California.

I've completely written off California in the legalization effort. California stoners just want prohibtion to do their dirty work.

You are completely, totally wrong.

"The outlaw rebel rockstar stoners of California who hip hopped their way into sabatoging legalization efforts by opposing prop 19 are getting the prohibition that they wanted."

Prop 19 was the biggest scam ever foisted on the cannabis community. We are all very lucky it didn't go through. It had NOTHING AT ALL to do with legalization and would have done FUCK ALL for users. As Bill Panzer put it:

"What makes little sense to me is that this initiative, which doesn’t legalize cannabis, is being sold as legalization. It seems to me, it would make more sense to draft an initiative that does legalize cannabis and sell it as regulation.

Nevertheless, because it is being touted as legalization, if it passed it would be perceived around the world as legalization. It would also give some modest protections to cannabis users. It essentially protects you from getting an infraction ticket in your own home so long as there are no children under the same roof."

Not only would it have done nothing for users, it would have threatened the cultivation rights of med pot users. The authors of Prop 19 were heavily criticized from many sources in 2010 for not explicitly protecting medical cultivation:

Lawyer Letitia Pepper:

“Paragraph 7 says that if cities ban the sale of cannabis, their citizens “still have the right to possess and consume small amounts, except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9.” This language could be interpreted to mean that, under 11362.5, MM patients continue to have the right to possess and consume larger quantities than Proposition 19’s ounce limit. But notice that Paragraph 7 specifically leaves out the right to cultivate. Why? This is a very meaningful omission of an existing right held by MM patients. Under Prop. 19, everyone becomes a mere consumer, a captive market to be exploited by a few businesses that get the permits to cultivate and distribute.”

http://thehive.modbee.com/node/20404#comment-160964

Lawyer Rick Horowitz:

“I think it’s quite likely that Proposition 19 will trump California’s medical marijuana laws and allow local municipalities to apply restrictions that, thus far, they have been blocked from implementing by the combination of the Compassionate Use Act and the California Supreme Court.”

http://www.rhdefense.com/blog/marijuana-law/blowing-smoke-proposition-19-medical-marijuana/

Lawyer Bill Panzer:

“If an appellate court were inclined to find that Prop 19 preserved all 215/420 rights, there is language in 19 to support that. If, on the other hand, an appellate court was inclined to find that 19 allowed local municipalities to impinge on 215/420, there is language that could support that position too.”

http://palmspringsbum.org/blog/2010/10/the-real-debate-over-californias-proposition-19/

Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator:

“The next initiative needs to have an explicit declarative paragraph protecting medical rights. And it has to be written in such a way that it is perfectly clear to even the most unlikely, naive, and uneducated voters,…” (emphasis in original)

http://blog.norml.org/2010/11/08/10-lessons-learned-from-marijuana-election-defeats/

And not only would it have done FUCK ALL for users and threatened med pot cultivation rights, but it was designed to create a cartel for those who already had licenses, including it's authors:

Another section of Prop 19 made sure only licensed dealers would be allowed to deal – all other dealers were going to be punished by civil fines or worse. [54] The trouble with only allowing licensed dealers to deal is that – in one third of California, places such as Los Angeles and Oakland – there are very few licenses handed out. Oakland has four licenses in a city of 400,000 people – one license for every 100,000 people. Los Angeles has 41 licenses for 14.8 million people – or one license for every 360,000 people. Author of Prop 19 Richard Lee could have chosen to insist on "Sufficient community outlets" to prevent illegal dealing (in other words, unlimited outlets) and affordable, competition-encouraging $1000 licenses for retailers (instead of the current $60,000 or more Oakland retailers must pay) as Jack Herer did in his initiative.

But Lee chose not to remove the discriminatory licensing system in his initiative. This was a tactical error on his part, as the decision not to remove the discrimination spelled doom for any unlicensed grower or dealer (or any family member of any unlicensed grower or dealer) who lived in – or feared they would one day live in – a pro-monopoly jurisdiction such as Los Angeles or Oakland. There are literally hundreds of thousands of these people all over California and they very well may have tipped the scales in favor of the "no" side on Nov. 2nd.

http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/node/25832

It's really too bad that those who supported Prop 19 didn't bother to look into it enough to judge whether it was a step forward or a leap backwards. It's even more pathetic that there are still supporters out there, spreading their ignorance everywhere they post.

You still are for prohibition

You can go on all you want about the imperfections of 19, but face it you don't want legalization. Screw Californa and keep your damn prohibiton.

If I didn't want legalization ...

... I would not have volunteered hundreds of hours helping to write the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act, nor would I have devoted the last 20 years to fighting for legalization in dozens of courtrooms and educating people about cannabis on 100,000 posters, dozens of rallies, a half-dozen websites and my own pot-legalization magazine and herb museum.

Prop 19 wasn't just "imperfect", it was WORSE than the rights Prop 215 gave anyone who could get a doctor's note, which was everyone (know anyone who has been unable to get a recommendation?). It's a big myth that opposition was about "imperfections" and being too picky ... the opposition was against monopoly and a loss of med pot cultivation rights. Here ... educate your ignorant self on the subject before you embarrass yourself further:

http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/node/25832

http://votetaxcannabis2010.blogspot.com/p/prop-19-ma-and-pa-are-out-of-work-and_26.html

What have you done for legalization lately, aside from bitch and whine about how others are doing it wrong?

Spoken by a true outlaw rebel rockstar prohibition lover.

So you admit that the medical marijuana industry and some of these prohibtion loving growers want prohibition to protect their industry. Very telling. BTW, in Amsterdam I don't need some rebel rock star MJ outlet telling me I need to buy a scdam card. If I want weed I get it over the counter over there (same as for Prague). To hell with California and may Colorado and Washington open the door to legalization that you and your ilk slammed shut.

A pig wearing lipstick is still a pig

Sean Darling,
From your comments it is clear that you don't understand what Prop 19 would actually have done (it is not legalization) and you don't understand why so many smart Californians voted it down (they don't want to give up their rights under the status quo). It has been said that ignorance is bliss so you must be a very happy person. Best wishes to you!!

Regulating Marijuana Like Wine is the Dutch model ...

Regulating Marijuana Like Wine is the Dutch model ... except with more outlets.

Here's more info if you wish to actually know what you're talking about:

http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2011/07/07/Crystal-Clear-Glasses-and-Unbleached-Rollies

Getting high is like getting drunk

Mr. Malmo-Levine,
Are you suggesting that we need a pot tank in the county jail just like the drunk tank? What are your thoughts on DUI involving marijuana? What do you think the number of nano-grams of THC in ones blood should be set at to indicate drunk (or perhaps I should say high)driving? When people smoke a bunch of pot do they tend to get loud and violent? Is cannabis a central nervous system depressant like alcohol? Is cannabis addictive like alcohol? Do cannabis users die from withdrawal like serious alcoholics sometimes do?
I hope these are not too many questions but it seems they indicate important considerations for anyone considering a alcohol based regulatory system be imposed on marijuana. A different suggestion would be the coffee model for marijuana. Regulate pot just like coffee. No taxes, no jails, no DUI, etc. What do you think?

Answers to questions

"Are you suggesting that we need a pot tank in the county jail just like the drunk tank?"

No. I think those who are problematically impaired - impaired to the point of harassing other people - should perhaps be dealt with by police ordering people to go home, and if they persist or become violent or destructive, making people spend a night in prison. This should happen regardless of which drug is creating this effect. It is my experience and understanding that this is almost always alcohol related, and almost never cannabis related.

"What are your thoughts on DUI involving marijuana?"

People who fail impairment tests - regardless of the reason - should not be allowed to drive in that state. Impairment testing - not blood or urine or stool or saliva or any other "amount of substance" test - should be the only measure of impairment. That way people who are not impaired can go about their business regardless of what drug they are on, and people who are impaired - be it a drug or lack of sleep or illness or old age or emotional state - will be removed from the road.

"What do you think the number of nano-grams of THC in ones blood should be set at to indicate drunk (or perhaps I should say high)driving?"

I don't. People should be asked to walk a straight line heel to toe, or count backwards from 100 while standing on one leg ... stuff like that. "nano-gram" measurements don't test for impairment and are likely to punish the wrong people and - even worse - allow impaired people to drive away and cause harm.

"When people smoke a bunch of pot do they tend to get loud and violent?"

No. They tend to get quiet and mellow. Maybe talkative at first with some of the strains, but the only drug that's really associated with violence is alcohol.

"Is cannabis a central nervous system depressant like alcohol?"

No. Some strains of cannabis are a relaxant, but not like alcohol. Cannabis users don't die of overdose, don't get hangovers, don't die from withdrawal, don't get physically addicted and don't get violent or aggressive. This is the "Pharmacological Risks" section of my comparative analysis of both drugs:

The most famous study of different popular drugs compared and contrasted were the Henningfield and Benowitz study of 1994. Both researchers rated alcohol as more likely to cause withdrawal, reinforcement, tolerance, dependence and intoxication than marijuana. (136)

Alcohol is a very toxic substance. Just 8 times an average “euphoric” dose can equal a lethal dose (137). Cannabis, on the other hand, is very non-toxic. It is estimated that a lethal dose of Cannabis is thousands of times the “euphoric” dose (138). There is no actual known lethal dose for Cannabis because there are no deaths by overdose on record (139). Even smugglers who had their hash baggies burst in their bellies have not died of overdose, according to the Canadian Government’s own pot researcher, who admitted as much under cross-examination (140).

Alcohol withdrawal is very serious, sometimes resulting in death. (141) Cannabis withdrawal is mild (142) and does not result in death or even unpleasant side effects such as the famous caffeine-withdrawal headache (143). And while leading researchers into marijuana smoking admit that there are no known marijuana-only smokers that have gone on to get lung cancer from smoking marijuana (144), there is a large, Europe-wide study from the British Medical Journal that suggests that 1 in 10 of all cancers in men and 1 in 33 of all cancers in women are caused by past or current alcohol intake (145). There is also such a thing as “fetal-alcohol syndrome”, but no such thing as “fetal-Cannabis syndrome” (146).

The special relationship between Cannabis’s prohibition and its reputation was accurately assessed in the 1987 Merck Manual: "...the chief opposition to the drug rests on a moral and political, and not a toxicological, foundation." (147)

http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/2011/07/07/Crystal-Clear-Glasses-and-Unbleached-Rollies

"Is cannabis addictive like alcohol? Do cannabis users die from withdrawal like serious alcoholics sometimes do?"

No.

"I hope these are not too many questions but it seems they indicate important considerations for anyone considering a alcohol based regulatory system be imposed on marijuana. A different suggestion would be the coffee model for marijuana. Regulate pot just like coffee. No taxes, no jails, no DUI, etc. What do you think?"

I think the coffee model is more accurate and vastly superior in every way to the alcohol model with the exception of two things. 1) It will take a little while for parents to get used to the idea of teens having access to cannabis sales, and 2) those who finance lobbying and initiatives know this, and would rather put their money into efforts that will not be opposed by hysterical, ignorant parents, who make up a significant section of the voting public.

Jail my teenager, Please!!

Mr. Malmo-Levine,
First I thank you for your well written, well documented and thoughtful response to my earlier queries. For the record, we are basically in agreement on almost all of these major considerations. There is one area of disagreement remaining and I have a question which you may be able to help me understand. First, I disagree with your final remark about parents not wanting their kids to have access to pot. I think this is a false choice. Parents today have many tools to control or guide their children. If asked I suggest that most parents would prefer raising their kids without the input of the state. More specifically, the real question is do parents want their kids arrested and given a criminal record for marijuana? I suggest that even parents who disapprove of pot don't want their kids arrested for it. They would prefer to use other means at their disposal to effect their goals for raising their children. I believe the polling data backs me up on this one although I confess I can't cite such right here.
Secondly, I have a question that I really hope you can help me with. It has to do with the general issue of how people perceive the effects of cannabis usage, specifically people who don't have direct personal experience using cannabis themselves. Do you have any polls or research on this issue? Do people really think pot is just like wine (or beer or gin) in terms of its effects on the user? Or do they think it is like heroin or cocaine or speed or LSD or mushrooms? Do they think it is like coffee? Or do they put it in its own category? This is an area where I have seen no public opinion polling and I am eager to hear what you have seen. Your research citations are wonderful but this is an area which might be a challenge for even yourself. I have heard a few opinions but seen no data to back them up. Thanks again for your well reasoned responses.

no data on either of these things

I have no hard data to back up my beliefs ... these are just manifestations of personal experiences I've had in what I feel is one of the most liberal and freedom-loving communities on the North American continent - Vancouver. Parental hysteria is alive and well in even the most educated populations and parents everywhere still are afraid of their kids getting high.

All the Canadian public opinion polls and political party attitudes on cannabis that I know of are found here:

http://frankdiscussion.netfirms.com/info_statistics.html

http://www.cannabisfacts.ca/supportopposition.html

http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/371/ille/rep/repfinalvol1part5-e.htm#Chapter%2010

Oh ... one other poll comes to mind.

There is one other poll that is relevant:

Nearly 60 Percent Of Americans Say Tax And Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

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February 17, 2011 - Palo Alto, CA, USA

Palo Alto, CA: Nearly six out of ten people believe that marijuana should be "treated like alcohol and tobacco," according to a national poll of 1,000 Americans. The poll, conducted by YouGov America and commissioned by The Economist, has a margin of error of ±4.2 percent.

Thirty-four percent of respondents said that they 'strongly agreed' with the statement: "Some people say marijuana should be treated like alcohol and tobacco. They say it should be regulated and taxed and made illegal for minors. Do you agree?" Twenty-four percent of respondents agreed with the statement.

Only 23 percent of those surveyed said that they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the notion of taxing and regulating adult marijuana consumption.

A majority of respondents in all age groups endorsed ending criminal marijuana prohibition, with those age 18 to 29 expressing the strongest support for legalization. Among those over age 65 with an opinion on the subject, approximately 45 percent endorsed regulating pot; fewer than 40 percent of older Americans opposed the idea.

Those respondents who identified themselves as Democrats were more likely to support the idea of taxing and regulating cannabis than Republicans, the poll found. Overall, however, majorities of both parties said that they supported legalization.

"If our poll is right, then it can only be a matter of time before laws start to change, at least in the more liberal states," pollsters concluded.

The YouGov/Economist poll was conducted February 5-8, 2011. Details of the poll are available online at: http://www.economist.com/node/18118857?story_id=18118857.

http://www.norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=8490

Prosecuting and jailing kids to keep them off pot...

Mr. Malmo-Levine,
Once again thank you for your time, concern and wonderful research. I won't waste your time quibbling about the differences between alcohol and tobacco regulations. I think you can see where I would go in that direction. (18 years old to smoke, 21 years old to drink, etc.) There is really only one final point I think is important enough to reiterate.

To quote you: "Parental hysteria is alive and well in even the most educated populations and parents everywhere still are afraid of their kids getting high." I have no dispute whatsoever with your observation.

Because this discussion is ultimately about writing a law I think we must be extremely clear in what we are saying and what we mean.

If we don't legalize pot for all ages then what we are saying is that those too young to smoke should go to jail and be treated as criminals. That is the way it is right now under the status quo (with the exception of medical use which does cover all ages.) And that is the real reason to legalize it for all ages.

Would legalizing it for all ages mean that kids have to smoke pot? Of course not. Would it mean that they should smoke pot? Of course not. Would it mean that their parents would have to allow them to smoke pot? Of course not.

Just because we say that the state won't prosecute and jail kids for smoking pot does not mean that their parents will allow them to smoke pot. It just means that the matter is one between the kids and their parents and schools but not the cops.

Why do this? Because even parents who "are afraid of their kids getting high" do not want their kids to get busted, prosecuted and go to jail. This is a critical distinction to understand. It is being used by our political opponents (who merely wish to preserve the miserable current situation) to split our movement and bait us and ultimately set us back. We don't need to protect the kids from pot by arresting them and throwing them in jail. This is a bad policy and needs to be discontinued. Once more I thank you for your patience.

True ... but ...

"If we don't legalize pot for all ages then what we are saying is that those too young to smoke should go to jail and be treated as criminals."

This is absolutely true and the main reason I prefer the Herer initiative.

Of course, something similar could have been said about Prop 215: "If we don't legalize pot for those without doctor's recommendations then what we are saying is that those without doctor's notes should go to jail and be treated as criminals."

I believe there are such things as fatal compromises (such as the punishment-switching found in decriminalization) and I believe there are such things as incremental steps. "Medical" marijuana use (more accurately "doctor-supervised" marijuana use) was one incremental step. The wine model is another incremental step. I don't believe we can jump to the coffee bean model right away ... I think we need this step first.

To jail the kids or not to jail the kids -- that is the question

Mr. Malmo-Levine,
Lets be clear. When we wrote Proposition 215 we had detailed polls making it very clear that without the doctor thing the voters would not have passed the law. However all use is medical so anyone who needs to use marijuana in California can get a doctors note. The main point being that Prop 215 was in sync with polling data.

But, the polls do not support locking up kids for pot. Yes there are those who want to lock up kids for pot but they are a small and deceitful minority. The question at hand is not "should kids use pot?" The question is "should we put kids who do use pot in jail?"

To be in sync with current polling data which supports full legalization of marijuana one must forge such legislation in such a way as to end the practice of arresting, prosecuting and jailing kids who use cannabis.

Put forward in an honest manner for the right reasons even parents who do not want their children to use pot will vote for such an initiative. It is not a referendum on kids using pot, it is a referendum on kids going to jail.

To quote the bible: "The truth shall set you free."

I agree.

I agree with your comments and will pass them on to the group.

A pig wearing lipstick is still a pig

Sean Darling,
From your comments it is clear that you don't understand what Prop 19 would actually have done (it is not legalization) and you don't understand why so many smart Californians voted it down (they don't want to give up their rights under the status quo). It has been said that ignorance is bliss so you must be a very happy person. Best wishes to you!!

A pig wearing lipstick is still a pig

Sean Darling,
From your comments it is clear that you don't understand what Prop 19 would actually have done (it is not legalization) and you don't understand why so many smart Californians voted it down (they don't want to give up their rights under the status quo). It has been said that ignorance is bliss so you must be a very happy person. Best wishes to you!!

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