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Marijuana and Guns, Knowing the Issues

Selecting how we vote on propositions, which are the measures or legislation “proposed” to the voters, and the ones the strongest approval/disapproval results will be put in place. Each state has its own set of propositions it poses to voters, and sometimes those propositions are a matter of lifestyle and personal morals.

Two of those propositions that are a matter of moral and lifestyle include the legalization of marijuana (prop 64), and the enforcement of stronger gun control (prop 63).

Whether a person smokes marijuana or not, they likely know people who do, as it is a very common recreational drug. The Public Policy Institute of California reported in mid-September that about 60 percent of voters supported the measure, thus emphasizing its favor as being a legal substance among Californians.

What does legalizing marijuana mean for the state? Adults, age 21 and up would be able to possess and use marijuana recreationally, as long as it’s in a private home or licensed business; they also would legally be able to grow up to six plants within their residence. It also will allow for commercial advertisement for marijuana and marijuana-related products to be shown on public television.

Not everyone is in support of this movement. “They [proponents] are asking voters not just to endorse an idea, but a specific business model that creates winners and losers. The money behind Prop 64 has nothing to do with good public policy, and everything to do with making some obscenely rich people even richer. The California Association of Highway Patrolmen strongly oppose Proposition 64 because it has no standard for marijuana impaired driving. They cite a recently-released AAA Foundation study in the State of Washington where fatalities doubled in auto crashes involving marijuana. Current law prohibits convicted meth and heroin felons from being involved in medical marijuana. But this new initiative will specifically allow for dealers convicted of dealing up to 20,000 heroin doses or up to 10,000 meth doses, to receive marijuana licenses.” says the official statement from the group, No on 64.

Those in favor of the proposition see it differently. The group, Yes on 64, says on their official website: “Proposition 64 is the consensus measure based on recognized best practices to control, regulate and tax responsible adult use, sale and cultivation of marijuana in California.” They share that some of the benefits they expect to see from the approval of this measure include exempting patients with voluntary ID cards from the state sales tax when purchasing marijuana, capping fees for voluntary ID cards at $100, with fee reductions for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and waivers for medically indigent adults, subjecting any patient database to the state’s highest medical privacy protection standards, including the guarantee that patients will have unique identifiers rather than being identified by name, ensuring that patients cannot lose their custodial or parental rights for lawful use of their medicine.”

A vote yes on prop 64 will show voters’ support in legalizing marijuana, allowing it to be used and produced recreationally and legally, as well as publicized. A “no” on the proposition will indicate that the voters wish to keep things the way they are, as marijuana is currently illegal to use—though many still use it anyway.

Another proposition up for election is prop 63, the prop that is for gun control. This matters to students because many prefer being armed for protection, some use guns recreationally (like for hunting and target practice), and guns have been noteworthy for their use in crimes—crimes like school shootings.

Many Americans, some collected together in groups like “The Coalition for Civil Liberties,” believe that enforcing stronger gun control is taking away rights from “law-abiding Californians.” They, likely along with other voters against this proposition, feel that millions of legal magazines be taken or sold out-of-state, or taken away by law enforcement. Because a lot of firearms require excessive amounts of magazines, they will become illegal if the prop is passed. “This backdoor gun ban is not just on future sales, but forces you to surrender your existing private property to law enforcement,” the site says.

On the other hand, there are other voters that may see liberal gun use as a liability for citizens. “We can stop deadly shootings and save lives,” says the website for the group, Yes on 63—Safety for All. They shared that their research found that in 2002 to 2013, 38,576 Californians died from gun violence, which included 2,258 children.

A “yes “ on prop 63 means the voter is in favor of tighter gun control, such as prohibiting the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines (not literal reading-material magazines; arsenal racks, as in bullets) and requiring certain individuals to pass a background check in order to purchase or obtain guns and other ammunition. If the voter is against prop 63, that means they oppose this change in ammunition rules.

Do you think that legalizing marijuana is just allowing American citizens to indulge in just another habit and pleasure, or is it a risk to the user and those around it? Do you think that stronger gun control is a tread on gun owners’ rights, or is it a protection for everyone? Your chance to give your answers to those questions will be on November 8, 2016 at the voting ballots.

Image Sources

  • news telescope logo: The Telescope Newspaper
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