We Should Regulate Pot, Not Criminalize It

It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. And, just as I thought the California initiative to legalize marijuana was heading to certain victory, along comes a poll showing voters in the Golden State are leaning against the groundbreaking measure.

Yes, a Reuters/Ipsos survey conducted at the start of this month found 53 per cent opposed Proposition 19. Just 43 per cent said they favoured it.

Mind you, as low in the polls politicians keep reminding us, the only poll that really counts is the one that takes place on voting day, now less than two weeks away.

Vancouver’s Jodie Emery, the current cannabis culture boss, believes it will be a nail-biter.

“It’s going to be very, very close,” she told me Tuesday, adding she’ll soon be flying to Oakland, Calif., to campaign for the proposition. “It’s hard to tell which way it will go.”

Not that Emery is anything like the proverbial fat lady. She’s the slim, young, politically savvy wife of Prince of Pot Marc Emery, currently in jail in Seattle after pleading guilty to seed-selling charges.

And she’s sure of one thing: “This is the most important vote that we [the marijuana movement]have ever had.”

As California goes, so goes America . . . and eventually Canada. And I agree with her, it’s only a matter of time before British Columbians will be able to puff away on their porch as freely as they can quaff a beer.

Passage of Proposition 19 on Nov. 2 would certainly expedite the process. But, in the short term, it could actually hurt the B.C. marijuana industry.

Indeed, Emery predicts there could be a “brain drain” of growers leaving our province for California.

“We get a lot of tourism in B.C. from people around the world who come here to experience the cannabis culture,” she said. “But once you can go to California and go to a vineyard of sorts with a bed and breakfast — or a ‘bud and breakfast’, I guess you could say — why would they come to Vancouver?”

As for her own political ambitions, the 25-year-old Emery revealed she’s considering running for the Non-Partisan Association next year in Vancouver’s civic elections, and will attend a party fundraiser later today.

Though green, she’s obviously no left-winger: “I believe in lower taxation, lower regulation, private property and all that.”

And her husband? She misses him terribly. But she visits him in prison every week in Seattle, and is happy he occupies his time by writing his autobiography and generally keeping his brain busy.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, has made it clear it is strongly opposed to Proposition 19. And U.S. Attorney-General Eric Holder says federal authorities will continue to prosecute Californians for possession of marijuana.

However, former U.S. surgeon-general Joycelyn Elders makes a compelling argument when she says the problem with the current marijuana law is that it criminalizes so many young people, and expends so many resources doing it.

“It’s not a toxic substance,” Elders told CNN.

I disagree it’s not toxic. But then most recreational and medicinal drugs are harmful to some degree. We just need to regulate them well and educate people properly about their side-effects.

– Article from The Province