The Los Angeles Times, which is the 4th most distributed newspapers in the United States, has endorsed Proposition 64 to legalize cannabis for everyone 21 and older. This is a particularly big deal considering that the Times opposed Proposition 19 which would have legalized cannabis in 2010.
“On balance, the proposition deserves a “yes” vote”, the Times Editorial Board states in their endorsement article. “It is ultimately better for public health, for law and order and for society if marijuana is a legal, regulated and controlled product for adults. Proposition 64 — while not perfect — offers a logical, pragmatic approach to legalization that also would give lawmakers and regulators the flexibility to change the law to address the inevitable unintended consequences.”
The Board notes that; “For decades, drug enforcement — and particularly enforcement of the marijuana laws — has disproportionately affected African American and Latino men, leaving them with criminal records that make it harder to get a job or to advance in their careers. Though California decriminalized marijuana possession in 2010 and misdemeanor arrests have fallen by 90%, there are still people serving time for marijuana crimes or who are hindered by past marijuana convictions. If the initiative passes, individuals could ask to have their sentences reduced, or if they are no longer incarcerated, they could ask the courts to have their criminal records changed. Also, Proposition 64 would take a less punitive approach to youth enforcement: People under 18 caught with marijuana would be sentenced to drug education and community service.”
If Proposition 64 is passed into law, it would be legal for those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis, to grow up to six cannabis plants and to purchase cannabis from a state-licensed retail outlet.
According to polling released earlier this month by the CALSPEAKS Opinion Research Center, 71% of voters in California are leaning towards voting “Yes” on Prop 64.