Proposition 19 would legalize marijuana in California for personal use by individuals 21 years of age and older. The measure would authorize the commercial sale of marijuana under several restrictions. The state and local governments could regulate and tax sales of the drug. While California law will change if the proposition passes, federal law will not be affected and federal agencies could continue to enforce existing national marijuana laws.
For more information on this proposition, including voter resources, in-depth analysis, and endorsements, please see the California Choices web site.
Supporters say that Proposition 19 will save the state money currently spent in enforcing the failed laws against marijuana growth and use. They say that Proposition 19 will effectively end the violent drug market created by marijuana prohibition. Proponents argue that marijuana arrests have cost the state millions of dollars in police, prosecution, and prison costs. They argue that taxing the sale of marijuana could bring in large sums to help the state during current budget deficits.
Opponents say that Proposition 19 is a flawed measure which loosens penalties for driving or working under the influence of marijuana. They believe that legalized marijuana will have public costs that will be larger than any amount of revenue brought in by the drug. Many opponents believe that marijuana is a "gateway" drug and will lead users to more dangerous drugs like heroin or cocaine.