By Jordan Walker>Syracuse University> Senior> Magazine Journalism and Spanish major, English and Textual Studies minor
On Nov. 2, Californians statewide will vote either on Proposition 19, or the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. Among these Californians voting to make marijuana use legal will be college students, in particular those who are members of the various Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, or SSDP, chapters.
Heather Turner, Vice President of the SSDP at University of California, Los Angeles, says that she will definitely vote in favor of Proposition 19 in November. “Marijuana poses no health risks,” she said. “It is not a gateway drug, you cannot overdose on it, and smoking it does not cause cancer.”
As an SSDP chapter member, Turner and fellow club members “fight back against counterproductive drug policy measures that do nothing to protect or improve the quality of life.” The UCLA chapter has held many voter registration drives and has worked to get Proposition 19 on November’s ballot.
“We acknowledge that there are serious consequences to drug abuse,” Turner said. “But we also see that the [War Against Drugs] has been an utter failure.”
Rob Pfountz agrees with Turner. As Vice President of the SSDP chapter at University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Pfountz wants to see marijuana at least made available for medical, like it is in California, if not made legal in general.
“I’m not in favor of complete legalization where marijuana is made as available as apples and oranges,” Pfountz said, “ but even with that policy approach it would be less destructive to society than our current course of action.”
Even though Arkansas has been shown to possess the most support for legal marijuana among the southern states through polls, Pfountz said that the legislative bills regarding it have not even made it out of committee in recent years.
“Except for a select few,” he explained, “Arkansas politicians have shown that they are unwilling to address this issue. It is going to be legislation by the people, through our initiative and referendum process, that will bring about marijuana reform to our state.”
Madison Margolin, Historian on California’s SSDP Board of Directors and student at Berkeley, has plenty of experience with marijuana reform. Her father is in charge of Los Angeles’s NORML (The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) and her sister has been dubbed “LA’s Dopest Attorney.” In her father and sister’s footsteps, Margolin will vote yes on Proposition 19 in November and claims that California will benefit as a whole.
“The current marijuana black market is a multi-billion dollar untapped industry, from which California, if not this country, could significantly benefit,” she said. In her opinion, Californians, and eventually all Americans, should be able to access marijuana freely.
“I don’t believe marijuana is for everyone, nor should its use be promoted,” Margolin said. “However, it should be the right of citizens to make that choice for themselves.”
What will your vote be?
Images courtesy of techvert.com and pegasusnews.com.