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Norm Blackburn
Proposition 19
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          In California we are being asked to vote on a Proposition that would legalize the selling and use of marijuana. The citizens have already made medical pot legal. This new law, if passed, would take off almost all restrictions to selling or using except for minors. The opponents say that the passage of Prop 19 would cause very real damage to our society and make California the pot capital of the nation with druggies committing more crimes and making the more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin the next easy step. The proponents say that people can already get all the grass they need on the street so why not make it legal and tax the sale of it. Revenues would go a long way to solving Californiaís budget problems.
          To many, marijuana is a benign leaf that brings comfort to the ill and euphoria to the needy. So, why not make it legal? Why not let any adult go to a licensed store and buy it? After all, alcohol and tobacco are drugs and they are legal.
          OK, letís give it a shot. But wait, as they say on TV, thatís not all. While we are legalizing pot letís lift restrictions on some other illegal things.
          The oldest profession has been banned in most states since the missionaries landed. While it is a victimless crime, it offends our moral compass to see prostitutes in windows beckoning potential customers like they do in Amsterdam. But why not make it legal? We could do like they do in Nevada, make the purveyors get medical checkups and tax the sales. Another contribution to our state coffers. Goodbye pimps.
          The Indians have found a way to profit from the roll of the dice and feeding the slots. Letís make gambling legal throughout the state. Letís allow slot machines in gas stations and restaurants and letís have dice and roulette tables in hotels and shopping malls. Tax 50% of the house winnings and we have a fiscal fix. The Indians and churches will scream (no more bingo), but they had their run and made money.

                                                                                 More drugs
          There are more illegal drugs out there besides pot and crack and horse. LSD, PCP, Ecstasy, opium, magic mushrooms and a whole list of bad stuff you inhale, smoke, eat and inject are available if you know the right pusher. Since they are on the street, why not make them legal and tax the hell out of them. Bring them out of the closet and letís see what happens.
          Not so fast you say? Letís not get carried away. Legalizing pot is just a little thing. The other stuff is really bad for society. Well, whoís to say? Once the door is open who knows what will be next? I am certain marijuana is an entry drug. People, especially young people, who smoke it are far more likely to go on to harder drugs. Donít believe me? Visit your county hospital and ask how many teenagers come in stoned on more than grass. Ask your police how many crimes are drug related.
          I am voting ďNoĒ on Prop 19 not because I think marijuana is a killer, but because I think it is a bad idea to make available a plant that when you use it, it takes you away from rational thinking and decision making. I will gladly pay my taxes to keep this drug off the shelves.
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