California has had quite a bit of buzz surrounding them this year in the cannabis industry because of their Proposition 64 that will be on the ballot this November to legalize recreational cannabis. This change has been a very long time coming considering that California was the very first state to legalize medical marijuana way back in 1996. Now 20 years later it looks like the Golden State is finally going to get recreational cannabis as well. There have been many attempts already, but some of the previous propositions turned off cannabis consumers with strict guidelines that would essentially allow a couple companies to monopolize the industry. This seems to be a different scenario with polls showing that over 60 percent of people plan on voting yes on Prop 64. Unfortunately not everyone is on board obviously. The police in California specifically are starting to try to get their voices against legalizing heard by garnering funds to defeat the initiative. With such a successful medical marijuana program and relaxed laws on possession of cannabis it is a little surprising to hear that California law enforcement is so against it.
Law enforcement usually has a pretty powerful voice when it comes to these kinds of issues, so plenty of people are listening to what these officers have to say about criminal activity that they deal with first hand on a daily basis. Many police officers don’t believe that legalizing recreational cannabis will do any good to take money out of the black market. They point to the problems that Colorado has continued to have with trafficking since legalizing as a good example. On top of that, Proposition 64 would allow for people with prior drug felonies to be approved for recreational cannabis related businesses. People within the industry know that this is simply to protect people that have been involved in medical cannabis since its infancy and may have faced unfair prosecution. Police officers on the other hand are seeing this inclusion as a blatant way to hand over the businesses to drug dealers that sell cocaine and heroin too. The other biggest issue that police officers seem to have with Proposition 64 is that it doesn’t do enough to keep cannabis away from children or to keep impaired drivers off the road. Of course there are multiple sections of Proposition 64 that address both of these issues though.
At the end of the day the police in California might not have as much sway with the general public as they used to. On the one hand tensions are definitely high with all of the recent Black Lives Matter incidents, but even more debilitating for them is their lack of funds. Now that the medical marijuana industry is so successful in California, they have the money to back up the legalization effort. Law enforcement and conservative groups just can’t compete with the eclipsing amounts of cash that investors are throwing at the legalization effort. In fact at this point supporters for Proposition 64 have raised over 40 times the amount of money that the opposition has collected. The police are having a hard time finding other companies to chip in for their cause because these companies are aware the majority of Californians plan on voting to legalize. The margins are currently so high that donating to the cause is a pretty bad idea, investment wise. Proponents of legalization say that the failed drug war has gone on too long and it is finally time for California to start truly regulating and profiting off what has already become their number one cash crop, cannabis.