Friday, August 07, 2009


California has a ballot initiative process that allows citizens to bypass the state legislature in order to amend the state’s constitution or to enact new laws. What could be more democratic? The problem is that some kooky propositions have appeared on the ballot and some of them have even passed. Thus, the initiative process has been a double edged sword.

Today, the land of nuts and fruits is in the throes of a financial meltdown because the Democratic controlled state legislature has been on a wild spending spree for years and because, in 1978, California voters approved the "Proposition 13" initiative.

Prop 13 amended the state’s constitution by limiting property taxation. "The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed One percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property." The resulting cap on property tax rates reduced them by an average of 57%.

What a great relief for California taxpayers! But the property tax cap of Prop 13 eventually collided with the legislature’s spending binge and, voila, the state is currently teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. And now, thanks to the initiative procedure, California is about to go to pot.

Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, legalized the use and possession of marijuana for medical purposes in California. Over 55% of those who voted approved this proposition. While the law was intended to relieve the suffering of glaucoma, cancer and AIDS patients, it has become the most abused law ever in the Golden State.

It seems as if every Tom, Dick, Harry, Mary and Jane can get a doctor’s prescription for marijuana if they have a pimple or an ingrown hair. For all practical purposes, Prop 215 legalized marijuana in California. But that hasn’t satisfied the proponents of pot who want to make it official.

A group of Oakland pot activists have filed a proposed ballot measure with the California attorney general’s office that would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over. Homeowners would be allowed to grow pot plants for personal use in their gardens up to 25 square feet. "The Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act of 2010" would set no limits on the amount of pot adults could possess or grow for personal use. It would also clear the criminal record of anyone convicted of a pot-related offense.

Adults 21 and over – what a joke! Does anyone in their right mind really believe the enforcement of that provision will be anymore effective than the enforcement of laws prohibiting those under 21 from possessing alcoholic beverages?

The proposed measure will need nearly 434,000 signatures to make the November 2010 initiative ballot. Will the proposition’s sponsors succeed in getting the required number of signatures? Most likely. And would it pass in 2010? Most likely as well. It would take a great deal of money to defeat that proposition and I just don’t see the opposition shelling out that kind of dough. Going to pot appears to be next in California’s future
and the Golden State will be the land of nuts, fruits and pot heads.

1 comment:

Centurion said...

Don't bogart that joint Howie.....

(Sorry. I've got way too much free time on my hnads lately).