Puff, puff, pass Proposition 64

Election Day is Nov. 8 and Citrus students will have an opportunity to vote on many different propositions, especially Proposition 64, the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Proposition 64 deserves a yes vote this Election Day, so get out and go vote.

If Proposition 64 passes with enough yes votes it will no longer be illegal to possess or consume marijuana in the state of California. California would join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia that have already legalized marijuana for recreational use.

This isn’t the first time California has voted on a proposition to legalize recreational marijuana use. The proposition has been voted down twice in the past, once in 1972, 66 percent no, 33 percent yes, and again back in 2010, 53 percent no, 46 percent yes.

The number of yes votes grew from one vote to the next and now poll numbers are showing that it should pass this time with support for legalization among likely voters at 55 percent.

Students at Citrus College are knowledgeable about vices such as drinking and smoking. Both activities are known to be addicting and quitting them can be difficult but they are freely available to consume legally.

The same cannot be said of marijuana which is classed as a Schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Marijuana being a substance much less harmful than other drugs on that list like LSD and heroin.

What’s even more confusing is that despite having genuine medicinal benefits, and other Schedule I drugs like heroin and LSD having none, the Drug Enforcement Administration has denied petitions to have marijuana removed from the Schedule I class of substances.

Scientists trying to study marijuana have had just about as difficult a time getting their hands on it as anyone else.

In an editorial by the New York Times titled “Stop Treating Marijuana Like Heroin” they state that “Since 1968 the University of Mississippi has been the only institution allowed to grow the plant for research.” The editorial also points out that “The DEA and FDA insist that there is not enough evidence to justify removing marijuana from Schedule I”, but only because “the government itself has made it impossible to do the kinds of studies that would justify changing the drug’s classification.”

What scientists have been able to observe are the drug’s medicinal uses. A total of 25 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, California included.

People all over the country are able to use marijuana to aid themselves against diseases that either produce tremendous pain, or reduce appetite to the point where it’s difficult to carry on.

Alcohol and cigarettes on the other hand have no real medicinal value and are freely available to purchase by adults 21 or over. Despite the fact that smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are much harder to stop doing and in themselves sound more like the classic definition of a Schedule I drug, marijuana remains illegal for recreational use.

There are also massive economics benefits to the legalization of marijuana. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune provided a projection that showed the sales of legal marijuana by 2020 could be $6.5 billion.

The bill would also allow for people in prison for marijuana related charges to be re-sentenced by judges.

Marijuana continues to be like a wrongly convicted murderer sitting on the chain gang with the other illegal substances that have been proven guilty of taking over people’s bodies and lives. A victim of a flawed system that convicted it without any conclusive evidence.

However, this election year once again, Californians, and this means Citrus students, will have a chance to vote Yes for Proposition 64 on Nov. 8 to legalize recreational marijuana use and help put more distance between ourselves and the old fearful uneducated past that this stigma was born out of.