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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Proposition 19 burns out

Proposition 19 burns out

Michael Christina
Journal Contributor

We’ve all heard the argument. Marijuana should be legal. You can’t overdose from it. Liquor is more dangerous and is responsible for many more problems in our society, including death. We’ve all seen the statistics. In 2008 Time Magazine survey, 42 percent of Americans said they had tried marijuana. And in a recent survey conducted by Elizabeth Mendes, 46 percent of Americans were in favor of legalizing marijuana, a new high. Fifty percent were opposed to legalizing it, a new low. Within the same survey, it was found that 72 percent of liberals supported legalization, with 61 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds being on board as well.

Now you would have to figure that if any state driven by young liberals was going to get this right, it would have to be California. But that wasn’t the case in last week’s election. A variety of factors can be attributed to the failure of Proposition 19, a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for Californians who are 21 or older. One factor may be that claims made about the legalization of weed drastically helping California’s budget by generating tax revenues and reducing state spending were understated. Another idea, that the legalization of weed would help to slow down Mexican drug cartel violence, was also minimized due to the dealers being involved in many other trades, including cocaine and methamphetamines. Perhaps prior decriminalization of weed in California had provided older voters enough of a compromise. And we cannot forget the amount of growers residing in Northern California who were opposed to the measure for fear that it might have hurt their livelihoods.

It would be hard to sit here and minimize any of these factors for the pure sake of argument. I am not a resident of California, so I do not know all the specifics as to how the debate has split Californians. I am, however, an American, and if there is one thing I have learned throughout my time on this earth, it is that Americans love their drugs. Drug abuse is as American as apple pie. Don’t believe me? In the aforementioned Time Magazine article,  it stated that Americans were the highest percentage of people around the world who had tried marijuana, cocaine, tobacco, or alcohol. In a day and age where this country is desperately trying to find something that it is no. 1 in, we’ve finally found one occupation to hang our hats on.

Is this really a surprise, though? In a culture where a party is never too hard to find, it is easy to see why Americans love drugs. I know personally, for my generation, we’ve been bred into a monster of a party. From movies to music, you cannot escape it. We have been taught to own our drug use and embrace it, which poses the questions: Who are we lying to? Who are we still trying to protect? This is not to minimize drug addiction in any way; for I have seen the unfortunate consequences within my own lifetime. But to have an argument over protection of the American people in terms of drugs is quite frankly insulting. It’s like showing up to a murder scene and trying to resuscitate the body of a person whose head has been blown off.

All I ask is that we are completely honest about drug use in this country. We like to be under some kind of influence, and there is a drug for everything these days. They have been tailor made just for us. So who has the final authority on what drugs are acceptable? If you ask me, why not our generation? With the emergence of the Internet, cable programming specifically being catered for drug education (I’m looking at you National Geographic channel), and countless hours of hands on experience, who better to come up with a set of guidelines than us? I’ve heard all of the arguments for and against drugs, and I’m sure I have touched on a few that have been beaten into the ground several times.

The fact is, as I sit here and rant, nothing will change. Proposition 19 will likely pass in 2012 and be viewed as a major victory for pot smokers abound. I just hope that the denial this country has about drugs finally turns into acceptance at some point in my lifetime. We have a drug problem. Our current system does not work. Something needs to be done about it. Oh wait, this is America, which means nothing will ever be solved. Sorry to harp on that sentiment, but as someone who was told all of my life to go to college and a job will be waiting for you on the other side, it’s kind of hard to have faith in anything these days. Could someone at least just toss the country a bone? Literally.

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  • AnonymousJan 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

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Proposition 19 burns out