As election day nears, we'll be running more and more coverage of what will likely be the most contentious ballot initiative this November: Proposition 19, which would legalize recreational possession and cultivation of marijuana for residents over the age of 21. Or at least that's what supporters say the initiative would do: lots of folks in the medical marijuana community aren't so sure and point to flaws in the language of the proposed law that would actually restrict rights of patients. (They also point out that marijuana is already legal for anyone who has a doctor's note and you need look no further than the back pages of the Weekly
to see how many physicians are more than willing to help you get one).
Forget all that, says Duane Roberts, a veteran---gasp
who is running for U.S. Senate this November. Roberts acknowledges that Prop. 19 isn't perfect but says vote for the thing anyways because it'll send a strong message that Americans are fed up with an un-winnable and increasingly costly--especially in terms of human suffering--war on drugs that is benefiting nobody except narco-traffickers and folks who build or work in prisons.
"As I officially kick off my campaign for the U.S. Senate today, one of the first declarations I make is to call for the repeal of all federal laws on the books which make it a criminal act for people to grow, sell, and use marijuana for medicinal, recreational, and industrial purposes," Roberts stated in a Sept. 9 press release
he posted to his campaign website
. "According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 800,000 people are arrested each year in this country for using a plant of which the evidence suggests is far less dangerous to consume than alcohol, tobacco, and some well-known prescription pharmaceuticals."
Roberts argues that if Prop. 19 passes it will be the first time since 1913 that it will be legal under state law for people to possess marijuana for personal use. That year, California's pharmacy board quietly added the substance to its list of illicit drugs. "Despite some flaws in the way it is written, I strongly urge all Californians to vote 'yes' on Prop. 19. Don't make perfect enemy of the good. Its passage will create huge shock waves throughout the entire political establishment--everywhere from Sacramento to Washington, D.C."
He does have a point. Maybe the only thing more shocking would be if voters choose Roberts on Nov. 4.