The Wikipedia piece does such a good job of presenting a section-by-section rundown on the initiative with a good comparison of pros and cons we won’t restate them.
We'll point out a few things to consider that aren’t apparent in the ballot title:
· This would defy federal law. How that shakes out is uncertain, but it raises questions about states' snubbing Congress. People with a liking for federal laws and regulations should consider the implications of ignoring them piecemeal. Do state-versus-federal law conflicts lead to bad precedent? It’s worth pondering. States’ rights challenges don't always end well.
· It may not matter to you, but the plan places marijuana and related “controlled substances” under the management of the Liquor Control Board – bureaucrats. Most of the initiative talks about production, manufacture and sales without addressing home herb gardens (the number of plants people can have is limited). There's talk about THC concentration (how does a person determine that?), what a person can carry, etc. and parts of this could create an enforcement nightmare. There may be tension between the new liquor control board business and what's already on the books about medical marijuana.
· This would present entirely new regulatory and law enforcement challenges. Unsafe behavior "under the influence," public inebriation, and DUI won't be judged or tolerated much differently than they are now. Know that levels of THC in your system can be tested, just as for alcohol.
· WE honestly don’t know how businesses would have to adapt their drug testing and employment policies and standards if marijuana is "decriminalized" on the state level, but people working for federal agencies and maybe even those doing work funded by federal grants would probably have to abide by federal workplace laws and regs to avoid jeopardy.
· It’s always seemed hypocritical that many who vehemently oppose smoking tobacco and obsess about organic food and fitness go totally brain-dead where it comes to public health consequences and the physical effects of smoking weed. Whether or not you believe grass is harmful, the state will continue to officially categorize marijuana use as a problem. Millions will be spent on programs to discourage abuse at the same time that it's skimming taxes on sales and handling. The tax revenue (at least at this point) is mostly slated for health and drug-treatment, but WE also suspect that - like always - those funds will be raided for other things.
At a minimum, readers should take time to understand what this initiative actually says before voting. The "decriminalization" of pot has been proposed before, and not all opponents have been squares. The situation is not a dead ringer for prohibition.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is legalization in the true sense, it's not. Have ads been honest? Here in Whatcom County we haven't seen too many. However positive the spin, no one should expect this to be a joyride with Cheech & Chong. It will take few to the happy place they'd really like.
Go - Google, Wiki, and learn what you can about what may be nothing more than another 66 pages of bad regulation.