Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Californians for Cannabis

news_budWith legalization on the November ballot, GT takes a look back over the movement’s history
“Doctors smoke it. Nurses smoke it. Judges smoke it, even the lawyers too …” It seems as though Jamaican reggae singer Peter Tosh’s message has finally gotten across to Californians. A proposition to “Legalize It” will appear on the November statewide ballot, asking voters to make recreational marijuana use legal for everyone over the age of 21.

Marijuana has been in the public eye since the 1960s, and has been on a tumultuous path toward normalization ever since. The upcoming ballot initiative, titled The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, seeks to end the battle once and for all.

According to the Act, approximately 100 million Americans—around one-third of the country’s population—acknowledge that they have used cannabis, confirming that a large percentage of Americans have made marijuana a part of their life regardless of legal implications.

California went on to decriminalize marijuana possession in 1976, reducing the crime from a felony to a misdemeanor and taking the first steps toward recognizing marijuana as separate from, and therefore less dangerous than, other narcotics.

marijuana leafIn 1990 the California Research Advisory Panel, overseen by the Office of the Attorney General, recommended that personal possession and cultivation of marijuana be made legal because attempts by the state to deter use has been considered “worse than useless.” The panel recommended that marijuana be “further isolated from other illegal drugs” and that California consider allowing “cultivation of marijuana for personal use.”

Recommendations to decriminalize marijuana were put forth by the advisory panel in an attempt to alter the current “drug war” system that has done little to keep drugs out of the hands of Americans—despite billions of dollars spent.

California took one further step toward legalization with Prop 215: The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which legalized marijuana for medical use in the state. Despite numerous attacks by the federal government, which still considers marijuana, medical or otherwise, to be illegal, patients across California have acquired legal access to marijuana to cure what ails them.

Locally, Santa Cruz adopted Measure K in 2006, a city ordinance “that requires the Santa Cruz Police Department to make adult (age 18 or older) criminal marijuana investigations, citations, arrests, property seizures and prosecutions their lowest law enforcement priority.” The measure goes on to support the taxation and regulation of marijuana and advocate for changes to state law, similar to Measure Z that was passed in Oakland in 2004.

The current proposal to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use elicits plenty of mixed feelings. Growers in the Santa Cruz area support marijuana, but have varying views as to the legalization, and, most importantly, the taxation, of their lucrative business.

“They say that money doesn’t grow on trees. Well, I’ll show you one tree that grows plenty of money,” says Craig, who asked that we not use his real name. He has been able to support himself by cultivating and selling marijuana on the black market. “It’s not that I don’t want it to be legal, I’m just wondering how it will impact the market,” he says. “Will small operations be able to afford the licenses necessary to grow pot and distribute it legally?”

Katherine, another local grower who wishes to go by an alternate name, has tapped into the market of growing marijuana legally for medical use and has found it to be a competitive, but profitable, market. She is set up with premium equipment to cultivate and distribute to medical clubs all across California. The legalization for recreational use “can only boost my market and my sales,” she says. “I’m all for the legalization, which will stop tying up court systems with non-violent offenders and create needed revenue for California and our local communities.”

Local business owner Matt Pinck, of Notorious Teaze, is using Assembly Bill 2254 to try to generate business in this time of economic uncertainty by printing organic T-shirts with “Legalize California” and “Tax It” logos. Pinck has advocated for marijuana for about 20 years. “This is what we all dreamed of when we were teenagers,” he says. “All of a sudden it’s a lot closer than we thought.”

With daily reminders that the economy is in dire straits, proponents stress that legalization has the potential to bring billions of tax dollars into state coffers. California NORML estimates that revenue from legalizing marijuana will not only bring in tax dollars, but it could also generate 500,000 new jobs and $1.4 billion in wages, create more tourism revenue, boost retail sales by $3-$5 billion and save over $200 million annually in enforcement costs for arrests, prosecution and prisons.

“This is the quiet before the storm,” says Pinck, adding a phrase borrowed from his T-shirts: “Tax it! Legalize it!”

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by nikole, May 14, 2010
hemp hemp hurry... we need hemp legalized to grow food, fuel, clothing, etc.. not just for medical...smilies/grin.gif

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Simplicity Preparing for Thanksgiving

When we study and apply astrology in our daily lives, we are anchoring new Aquarian thinking. Study, application and use of astrology, understanding its language, builds the new world, the new culture and civilization. Astrologers are able to plan right timing and right action. Next week is Thanksgiving (Thursday, Nov. 26). It’s good to understand the energies influencing us in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. When we know these things we are able to make Right Choices, have Right Action. We link heaven and Earth, our minds with the starry energies that influence us. Let us consider the following influences. The North Node (point in space where sun and moon meet, representing humanity’s present/future pathway) has just entered Virgo. Virgo is about food, purity, cleanliness, service, detail, order and organization. What can we learn from this? Because these energies are available to us we, too, can have intentions and a rhythm of order and organization, purity and cleanliness. Sunday, the sun enters Sag, joining Mercury (we have high ideals, many goals). Tuesday, Mercury/Saturn (structured disciplined thinking) squares Neptune (thoughts, ideas, goals dissolve away). Wednesday is 3 degree Sagittarius solar festival (full moon). Sag’s keynote is, “We see a goal, we achieve that goal, and then we see another.” We might have many plans and goals for Thanksgiving. However, on Thanksgiving those goals may be dashed. Saturn (structure) squares Neptune. All structures and plans dissolve and fall away. What is our response to this? We simplify all that we do. We plan on everything changing. We don’t fret. We adapt instead. Adaptation is the behavior of the Disciple. Sagittarius is the sign of the Disciple. 


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location


If you could be someone else for one month, who would it be?

President Obama, so I could change a lot of laws that pertain to people in jail for drug possession and other minor crimes. Raouf Ben Farhat, Petaluma, Self-Employed



Blanc De Blanc Sparkling Wine is best shared with the one you love


Rainy Refuge

Kelly’s offers killer sliders and pumpkin pie, plus dining pet peeves and wine of the week