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Should California Decriminalize the Use and Possession of Marijuana?

July 19th, 2010

This coming November California voters will be presented with a Proposition that will decriminalize and tax the use and possession of marijuana if enacted.  Proponents, of what is otherwise known as Proposition 19, argue the fact the initiative will generate millions of dollars in tax revenues in support of the measure.  Opponents argue quite forcefully and logically: why would any one support a measure that essentially supports people getting high?

This writer certainly shares the measure’s opponents concerns about recreational drug use and abuse, and opposes same, but as a practicing criminal defense attorney, I also know that there is a terrible disparity in society’s enforcement of its drug laws along racial and ethnic lines.  And, our society has spent billions of dollars, has ruined perhaps an many as millions of lives, and has the highest incarceration rate in the world, because of our so called war on drugs.

Our scheme of drug laws in archaic, doesn’t work, and is to expensive to enforce in our current economic times.  Along with its predecessors, Proposition 215, the 1996 initiative allowing for the medicinal use of marijuana, and Proposition 36, the 2000 initiative allowing an opportunity for first and second time drug possession offenders to be placed in treatment, rather than incarcerated, Proposition 19 appears to be another step in the right direction.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a drug crime in Santa Clara County, contact the San Jose drug lawyers at the Law Offices of Bernard P. Bray.

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