The folks at Yahoo News are now reporting that proposition 19, the ballot measure that would have legalized marijuana for recreational use in California, has failed. I became aware of the defeat about ten minutes ago when I heard my pot smoking next door neighbor screaming at his television set through the thin walls that separate our two apartments.
Although not a marijuana user myself, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. I’ve read many good arguments recently about how legalizing marijuana would help boost California’s economy, take money out of the hands of drug dealers, and relieve quite a bit of congestion in the court and prison systems. But the thing that makes me most sad is, that as an American, I believe every citizen has the right to choose whether or not to use pot.
Many aspects of our lives are regulated by the government, and for the record, I’m not a conspiracy nut. There is no secret government conspiracy to enslave us and take away our rights. In this case, it was the voters of California who policed themselves. I was looking forward to a long week of celebratory parties and contact highs, but alas, there will be no early Christmas in Whoville this year.
Outsiders often mistake California as the most liberal places in the country, but every governor who has held office in this state since 1983 has been a republican, with the exception of Gray Davis, who was booted out of office before his term was up. California voters also chose Republican candidates in every presidential election from 1972 through 1988 went they helped elect George Bush Sr. California also had a republican representing them in the US senate in the late eighties and early nineties. Although under my radar, there must be a strong conservative voter base out here somewhere. Today, those selfish voters played the role of the angry mother who finds her son’s secret stash, and tosses it in the garbage. “Not under my roof,” she says.