Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California failed Nov. 2, despite support from interest groups around the country.
Proposition 19 would have allowed California residents to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate their own crops in a garden up to 25 square feet.
With 54 percent of the voters denying the legislation, it is clear that people just aren't ready for such a change in the way they view marijuana. But why?
A report of a death caused only by marijuana cannot be found in the U. S. Still, the general view of marijuana is that it is harmful and prohibition should continue.
In an article on CNN.com, Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron believes that Prop 19 should have passed, but the organizers emphasized too much on the change it would bring to America.
"Many voters sensed that Prop 19 supporters were overreaching, and this made them suspicious of all the arguments in its favor. Common sense should have recognized that since marijuana was close to legal already, Prop 19 would not have had dramatic effects."
Other than increasing revenue for the struggling state, Prop 19 wouldn't have brought much change to California. The access to marijuana is already widespread, and getting a prescription for the drug can be an easy process.
Miron went further.
"Prop 19 failed also because it overreached. One feature attempted to protect the ‘rights' of employees who get fired or disciplined for using marijuana, including a provision that employers could only discipline marijuana use that "actually impairs job performance." That is a much higher bar than required by current policy."
The issue didn't concern only Californians. Leaders from around the world were cautious of what the effects would be if it passed. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos commented during an interview found at allheadlinenews.com.
"Tell me if there is a way to explain to a Colombian peasant that if he produces marijuana we are going to put him in jail and that the same product is legal (in California). That's going to produce a comprehensive discussion on the approach we have taken on the fight against drug trafficking."
But if President Santos would have embraced the issue and followed California's lead, he could have let Colombian peasants sell marijuana legally to the U. S. and created more jobs for his people and more tax revenue for his struggling country.
Colombia does have a long history of violence, and it would not be easy to take the business of illicit drugs away from the cartels, but it could have been possible for Colombia to legalize marijuana as well and add a very lucrative export.
It's time for people to stop legislating morality.
Whether you feel it is wrong to use marijuana or not, the drug is harmless. Marijuana gets categorized with other illicit drugs that are harmful such as cocaine, heroin and opiates.
But they are not in the same ball park or even the same game.
The truth is marijuana does not kill anyone. If a death results after the use of marijuana, it is the cause of either an allergic reaction or other pre-existing health problems, not marijuana alone.
But just because Prop 19 failed doesn't mean the fight for legalization is going to slow down any time soon.
Endorsements for Prop 19 were announced from various groups including the NAACP, National Latino Officers Association and Students for a Sensible Drug Policy.
"A lot of campaign donations were made at the last minute; in early October, SSDP received a $75,000 donation for Prop 19 from Dr. Bronner's Soap and $25,000 from Capital Hemp.
Facebook co-founder Sean Parker also donated approximately $155,000, and Peter Lewis of Progressive Car Insurance contributed $159,000. George Soros donated $1 million Oct. 19. It's possible we could have done more if some of those last-minute donations were made a little earlier. "The failure of Prop 19 is but a mere hiccup on the road to legalization," said Drew Stromberg, WVU's SSDP Chapter president.
But efforts will never succeed if the people of this country don't wake up and realize how hypocritical it is to keep marijuana illegal.
With the alcohol-related deaths exceeding 37,000 in the past year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and marijuana a fat zero, how could anyone disagree?