DrugSense's Don E Wirtshafter Keeps It Real on Prop. 19

CW: Normally I would have some comments to go along with the posting, but in this case Don has put forth such a real and eloquent thought on the subject, I stand back and let it marinate ( I did add some groovy pictures though). Thanks Don.

As much as I agree with Squatter and David Herrick that we should hold a state-wide convention before the next initiative. I am glad we didn’t on Prop. 19.  Yes, if by some means we could come together and craft such a measure it would set us all out pushing for signatures in unison.  But I know, whatever lofty plan of attack such a conclave might have settled on for this election cycle, we would have produced an initiative the voters of California would not have been ready for.

Prop. 19 is not the work of a committee. Richard made the decisions about the details of the initiative on his own.  Richard consulted with a lot of people.  Many thought the initiative should include more reforms.  Many bristled at the 25 square feet and one ounce provisions.  But Richard stuck to his guns and present polls prove him right.  Passing Prop. 19 will be a fight, a fight we can win, but a fight everyone will have to pitch into for victory.

V is for Victory

Richard carefully tuned Prop. 19 to win.  Flat out legalization, a free-for-all in the market, would not win in California this year.  Prop. 19 can win, but it will require all of us behind it, because the forces against us are coming. Two weeks before the election the airwaves will be bombed with prominent figures belittling the reforms Prop. 19 will bring. Voters, naturally afraid of changes, will choke at the polls.

I kind of like it that some existing dealers have spoken against Prop. 19. Big dealers are just what the average voter is most afraid of.  “If the big dealers are against Prop. 19 because it would put some controls on their business, then I am all for it,” thinks that voter.  Let me explain why Prop. 19 is so important across the rest of the country. State by state, the movement is winning battles to enact medical laws.  But the common refrain of those who would narrow the rights granted in these bills is, “We don’t want to make our state another California.”  The voters in California have had 10 year’s experience seeing what a regulated market (to some people and under a physicians supervision) looks like.  If these voters now vote to open up the system to everyone, the rest of the country will have to realize what is going on out here can’t be so bad.  The voters are apparently not upset by it.  If we lose, it will be interpreted as a backlash, that people aren’t happy with the changes brought about by Prop. 215. This is not true, but it is how the rest of the country will see it.  Sorry.  We simply have to win.

Look at the polls.  Experienced initiative handlers are sweating hard this year. Conventional wisdom is that an initiative needs 65% support going into the election.  Last minute negative campaigns work well to cut out your lead.  This year we can count on our powerful adversaries coming up with the cash.  They will be quite effective in their efforts to torpedo Prop. 19 in the final two weeks.  Only our united effort actually changing voter’s minds, one by one, will be effective.  What I feel best about is the team of people who have come together to spearhead the pro-Prop. 19 campaign.  The dedication of these experienced people gives me confidence.

Powerful Adversaries….

Come on people, get real.  Prop. 19 is a huge step forward for us.  No longer will a California cop be able to search a vehicle because he smells pot.  It ends their constantly trying to shake us down to get in our pockets. If your house smells like pot, fine.  Smell, and even plain view, would no longer be probable cause after Prop. 19 passes.  It means progressive cities will allow their citizens to open coffee houses and dispensaries that can serve all.  Other cities will follow when they see how well their neighbors are fairing.

Look here, Meow- No more probable cause to search for smell…

I agree with those who say Prop. 19 is designed to leave existing medical laws in place.  After Prop. 19, patients will have a choice.  They can continue to go through the process to keep their medical recommendation and documentation up to date.  Or they can ignore the medical rules and keep their quantities small.  The occasional smoker or one who is curious if Cannabis therapy will work for them can simply go ahead and buy an ounce and get started.  Those who need the herb more can get certified and grow what they reasonably need, still.  Prop. 19 expands the options for medical patients and takes a lot of heat from the present situation.

My colleague, Eric Sterling, published an interesting blog today at http://justiceanddrugs.blogspot.com/ His response to Mark Kleiman is a little convoluted, but it reaches the same conclusions I do about Prop. 19. The real winner will the average smoker will now be able to maintain their own tray of plants openly.  With the handcuffs taken off, home cultivation will be the rage. Yes, prices will go down, but that is mostly because people who care will produce their own, and with impunity.  Pot will become free, we will become free.  I am ready.

Take the handcuffs off! Vote Yes on 19!

Don E Wirtshafter
Wirtshafter Law Office