Monday, November 1, 2010
I love making predictions on stuff, whether it's on what someone is going to do, what a football game score is going to be, etc. It's a fun little test for my knowledge on a subject. It's part educated guess and part luck. I'd like to take this time to make some educated guesses towards Prop 19 passing in California, which would pretty much legalize recreational use of pot. Polls can always be tricky, or really just unreliable, but it seems to me that Prop 19 will likely pass. If it doesn't, well, the rest of this post is a huge waste of time.
The big question is: Will this even work if it's passed? Well, it's kind of like being around the Continental Congress and asking, "If we sign this Declaration of Independence, will we be free?" You might declare your freedom, but the big guys in power (the King George III, or the Federal Government) ain't just going to let you gain your freedom that easily without a fight. The Obama Administration is already warning to "Strike Back" if this thing passes. The Feds know that if this passes, it's going to be a huge domino effect. Their huge con game, based on convincing the public to be scared of pot use, that has gone on for decades, will finally be over.
They have plenty of good reason to be afraid of this passing, besides looking like liars. To be honest, looking like liars is the least thing politicians worry about. Lying and politicians go together like nudity and strippers and it's already expected. The thing they fear the most over this is losing government jobs. Right now we are in a recession with a double digit unemployment rate. That rate going up makes them look worse. If we start dismantling the war on drugs, that's going to mean we can no longer justify as many police officers, prison guards, or even private bail bondsmen. I don't think legalizing pot will make a huge dent in that since you'll still have other illegal drugs they can go after and it doesn't take a reason to have a government employee around for them to keep their job. Still, some of those people are going to be let go and law enforcement unions realize this. Of course if we keep paying taxes to keep these people in jail, that's less money being spent on jobs in the private sector. If people are in jail, they aren't out in public working at a job, making money, spending money, or producing tax dollars. Whenever the states want more regulation, it seems that the Federal Gov. doesn't try that hard to cut it down, but if they want to deregulate and it goes against them, watch your ass! The only exception I can think of is the Arizona illegal immigration thing, but I think that was only because so many people were in an uproar about it.
California is treading water right now. They're going to need much more than just legalizing pot to help them out. They have to start cutting spending and in some cases, destroying government jobs all across the board to stay alive. However, there really hasn't been a better time, or place to legalize pot in this country. Not only are the people more educated now on the stupidity behind this being kept illegal, but because of the bad economy, they can no longer support such stupid legislation. You add the word "tax" to this and it starts to win people over who don't want to smoke it, but want the stuff that tax dollars from it could give them. I don't like the idea of taxing anything since it just means that politicians will think they have more money and justify more spending. Also, taxing beer, cigarettes, TVs, or something that requires a lot of technical equipment to manufacture makes sense for those who want money, but if you can grow your own pot and only smoke a little bit of it a year, you can avoid paying taxes on it. Then again, if it's legalized, it might be much cheaper and easier to buy it and pay a tax, than growing your own, whereas you can make lots of money off of growing it while it's illegal. However, I don't know if you could get the public support to get it legalized without that dirty little "T" word.
Pot is no longer being seen as a scourge of society, but a money maker to help people get back on their feet financially. It's kind of ingrained in our society today that if you see someone who was raised poor, who doesn't really have a good education, talents, or anyway to make lots of money, yet are going around with flashy jewelry and a nice car, you're going to assume they sell drugs, or are doing some other illegal activity. Selling illegal drugs is seen as a quick way to get ahead in this world and Californians see this as their golden ticket. The problem with that belief is that the only reason they're making huge amounts of money off of it is because it's illegal and that drives prices up. If you make it legal, even if you tax it, prices are going to come down and trying to selling it legally isn't going to get you as much money as if you sold it illegally. Unless California can figure out a way to grow lots of pot and sell it to the rest of America where it's still illegal, I just don't think they're going to be making a lot of money off of it.
So here's basically what I think will, or could happen. Prop 19 will pass (hopefully). I've heard polls conducted by live people end up it being more against, but automated polls where when people feel more anonymous have it passing. Since the voting place will be anonymous, I think it will pass. Whatever it ends up being, I think it's going to be close. Now after it passes (if it passes), that's when the Fed is gonna take it to the courts and try to take it out. This is gonna be the freedom of the people vs. the iron fist of the Federal Government. This is when the real fight begins and when supporters really need to kick it in gear and voice their support and hope that it convinces enough people in power that this could cost them future votes to support knocking this down. The politicians trying to knock this down will have to be more afraid of the people wanting freedom than the law enforcement that might lose their jobs to change their minds. If it passes, and if the Federal Government loses their fight against it, I think it will be a huge domino effect after that. You have lots of governments in this country who are in the same shape as California, some might not be as bad, but they're getting there. Once the rest of America can see all the positive effects from legalizing pot, they're going to want do that too. They won't have to worry about angry voters as much and I think you'll have braver politicians that will push to legalize marijuana instead of cowardly leaving it up to voters to decide during elections. If Prop 19 passes, I think California will still be screwed financially, but the crime rate will go down (other drugs will still be illegal of course, so it might not be a dramatic drop), but they will have made some progress towards freedom and will probably help out their economy a bit. Whether this will be another failed attempt at legalization, or the beginning of the end for the drug war will be decided tomorrow by California voters.