Proposition 19

James L. Alban, Sports Editor

What it is

If Proposition 19 passes, it will legalize various marijuana-related activities in the state of California. Citizens of the state would be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce (28 grams), consume and grow marijuana in non-public environments for personal use while remaining within the legal boundaries.


Impaired driving as a result of marijuana is one of the concerns that has been raised as voters take the ballots in November. There are currently no measurements or tests to conclude an individual has used too much marijuana to operate a vehicle safely. Scientific evidence has proven short-term effects of marijuana could inhibit one’s ability to operate a moving vehicle. Distorted perception, loss of coordination, short-term memory loss and anxiety are some of the symptoms opponents of Prop. 19 are concerned about. These effects are subjective to the user pertaining to his or her marijuana tolerance level, but evidence suggests that much like alcohol impairs driving, marijuana can also have similar dangerous affects.

However, if Prop. 19 were to pass, there would still be strict enforcement of existing laws pertaining to driving under the influence and selling marijuana to minors. Adults over the age of 21 would be allowed to grow and use marijuana. Any illegal sale to a minor under the age of 21 would result in imprisonment in a county jail or state prison. Employers would still have the right to address an employee’s marijuana consumption if they believed it impaired or inhibited an employee’s job performance.

Prop. 19 requires a simple majority vote and even if Prop. 19 is passed, marijuana would remain illegal under federal law.

Supporters and Opponents

Advocates for “Yes on 19” suggest that the legalization of marijuana would revive California’s economy. Voting in favor of Prop. 19 would allow local governments to regulate these kinds of activities. It would permit local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes.

The Service Employees International Union, the largest labor union in California is supporting Prop. 19. NAACP also supports Prop. 19.

Opponents of Prop. 19 believe the legalization of marijuana would send contradictory messages about drug use to children and promote drug use in schools. Marijuana, seen as a “gateway drug” by opponents, invites children to be curious about drug use and possibly explore other drugs.

Student Impact

Prop. 19 makes the use of marijuana by students over the age of 21 legal. This would reduce the amount of criminal charges against students found in possession of marijuana.

Funding pro and con

Support for Proposition 19 is funded by a number of committees, such as Tax Cannabis 2010 and the Victory Credo Fund. Contributors include S.K. Seymour LLC, a medical cannabis provider, which donated more than $800,000 and Oaksterdam University, a cannabis college, which donated $120,000.

Committees such as Public Safety First: No on Prop. 19 and Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana fund opposition of Prop. 19.

The California Police Chiefs Association is their biggest contributor with $30,000. Others are:

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians: $25,000, and the California Narcotic Officers’ Association: $20,000.