Recreational use of marijuana should stay illegal in California

On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the future of marijuana possession changed dramatically when Colorado and Washington State passed bills legalizing the use of recreational marijuana.

Angelica Piantadosi, a junior at CLU, believes this law could be beneficial for California’s economy.

“I think the legalization in Washington and Colorado is a good idea and California should see how it benefits their financial situation, to see if it would benefit us,” said Piantadosi.

The proponents for legalizing marijuana have been pushing this idea for years.

According to, I-502 could provide half a billion dollars in revenue each year.

However, the passing of I-502 doesn’t mean that every house in Washington or Colorado will be able to grow marijuana plants in their backyards.

Sorry to disappoint anyone who was packing their bags for Denver or Seattle.

Sophomore Annie Quist, a political science minor at CLU, said that it is possible the new law will base their system on Colorado’s medical marijuana system designed by Matt Cook, the senior director of enforcement at the Department of Revenue.

Tony Dokoupil, who writes about the usage and culture of marijuana for the Daily Beast, also relayed the same sentiment in an interview with National Public Radio on Nov. 13.

According to Dokoupil, medical marijuana in Colorado is grown in strictly regulated warehouses that are under surveillance around the clock. The surveillance tapes are also available to the state at any time.

The process to even gain a license to grow is so lengthy and detailed that it is unlikely that any college student could grow the plant.

In addition to the tax revenue and regulation requirements, age and driving issues also factor.

According to the ballot measure for I-502, the “measure would license and regulate marijuana production, distribution and possession for persons over twenty-one”.
The law will also prohibit persons under the age of twenty-one from entering a store selling marijuana.

However, regardless of the regulations and laws about buying and selling, the passing of I-502 also poses another risk: driving while under the influence.

“As with alcohol, driving while impaired by a drug such as marijuana is illegal, and nothing in the Washington or Colorado ballot measures changes that,” said attorney Rhett Francisco. “Additionally, Washington’s law changes DUI provisions by setting a new blood-test limit for marijuana.”

Francisco said that while many people might be concerned about the passing of I-502 and a possible increase in driving while under the influence, most people can agree that it is just as hazardous as driving while drunk.

Quist believes that it is possible the federal government will intervene.

“I am skeptical that the federal government won’t have some paramount involvement in the development of legalizing marijuana,” said Quist.

Francisco said that in 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would aggressively prosecute marijuana laws, which they have done to some degree.

However, after the passing of I-502, the U.S. attorney offices in Denver and Seattle offered “very little, if any, position on whether they would sue, or take other measures, to prevent the Colorado and Washington measures from being put into effect,” said Francisco. “Time will tell.”

So with all the facts of I-502 being discussed,  we should not be proponents of legalizing marijuana.

It is comforting to know that there are strict regulations for growing and selling marijuana, but I just can’t imagine what society would be like if adults get high just as often as they get drunk.

I’m in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana. However, I just can’t morally be in favor of completely legalizing marijuana, regardless of the economic arguments.
I’m just old-fashioned at heart.


Madison Jones
Staff Writer
Published Nov. 28, 2012