Legalization Doesn't Sit Well With All Advocates

By Matt baume
|  Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010  |  Updated 1:59 PM PDT
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Meet the MET: Marijuana Eradication Team

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SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 13: A worker at the Alternative Herbal Health Services cannabis dispensary packages medicinal marijuana July 13, 2006 in San Francisco. San Francisco city planners are deciding July 13 if they will issue a permit to allow Kevin Reed to open the Green Cross medical marijuana dispensary right in the middle of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf area, a popular tourist destination. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Prop 19 would legalize possession and growth of small amounts of pot for personal use -- but it's running into some opposition from the very people who you might expect to be its biggest fans.

The East Bay Express spoke to legalizations advocates who were surprisingly critical of the legislation. They see numerous shortcomings including that pot would be regulated, taxed, limited to adults over 21, and prohibited in public. In addition, counties would have the option to impose their own restrictions. That doesn't sit well with advocates who want all restrictions on the substance lifted.

In addition, many mainstream organizations that push for legalization have stayed out of the fight, verbally supporting the measure but not contributing.

Another potential problem is with lax pot enforcement in Northern California and strong tendencies toward prohibition in Southern California, towns around Los Angeles may become dependent on towns around San Francisco for their marijuana. That creates the potential for an economic injustice that worries some activists.

On a site called "Stoners Against the Prop 19 Tax Cannabis Initiative," a blogger named Dragonfly de la Luz writes, "STONER BEWARE: this initiative is NOT what you think it is." Her complaint is that the measure is too "corporate," and that trade should be unfettered rather than regulated.

Meanwhile, other opposition to the measure is coming from more predictable sources. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recently look a stand against legalization, worrying that it would strain social services in some nebulous, unknown way.

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