The campaigns for and against California's Proposition 19 marijuana initiative have yet to hit the airwaves with commercials. But an on-line spot for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws is laying out an idyllic vision for what legal pot can do for California.
The video pitch is accompanied by images of a child holding a "Save our Schools" sign and of pockmarked drug addicts said to need state-funded treatment. There are images of medical professionals and a list of pot's medicinal benefits. There are also depictions of state parks that can be protected from ravages of illegal marijuana cultivation and of urban gardens that can be paid for with taxes on legal weed.
Here's the text and some observations:
Vote yes on Prop 19. It's no secret that our state has taken a hit from the recent budget cuts, and one of the hardest hit has been our education system.
In order to ensure our children have a bright and prosperous future, we propose that the revenue from the legalization of marijuana can be used to supplement the education system in California.
Addiction has become an epidemic in the United States, and California is no exception.
Revenue from the legalization of marijuana should be used to fund addiction treatment centers and give California an opportunity to be on the forefront of the cure to addiction, as opposed to the leader in incarceration.
The legalization of marijuana gives us the opportunity to supplement the treatment of diseases that marijuana has long been known to cure.
For years, the illegal drug trade has taken a toll on our state parks and open spaces. We propose revenue generated from the legalization of marijuana also be used to keep our state parks open and thriving.
At the some time, we need to encourage more local green spaces and community gardens. This will ensure that our state remains beautiful for generations to come.
Vote yes on Prop 19.
Got a better idea?
The NORML spot articulates a vision for spending tax dollars from legal marijuana that won't be found in any requirements of Proposition 19. The initiative would legalize possession of an ounce of marijuana and allow small residential cultivation for adults over 21.
The initiative vows to "generate billions of dollars in annual revenues for California to fund what matters most to Californians: jobs, health care, schools and libraries, roads, and more." But nothing in the measure specifies how marijuana tax dollars will be spent - or even what the taxes may be.
The initiative would permit local governments to tax and regulate retail marijuana sales - if they decide to permit them. It also allows room for the Legislature to amend the measure "to establish a statewide regulatory system for a commercial cannabis industry."
If Californians do pass Proposition 19 - and the federal government doesn't intervene - at least one part of NORML's vision is bound to be realized.
California will indeed bloom with "more local green spaces."
Check out the spot below: