Opinion

Why Passing Prop 64 was a Mistake

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According to a poll taken on the approval of Prop 64 before the election, 71% of surveyed California voters said that they supported the legalization of recreational marijuana. (Source: CA Counts)

By DILRUBA ASICI
Staff Writer

California voted yes on Proposition 64, which states that adults ages 21 and over may possess, grow or use marijuana for “recreational” purposes. Although some seem to believe that this new proposition is good for the country and will have positive effects, this is completely untrue. This proposition will have a negative influence due to an excessive smoking of marijuana that will cause highways to become more dangerous and possibly cause the crime rate to go up. In order to prevent these dangers, Proposition 64 must have more strict and clear rules for smoking marijuana.

Since people ages 21 and over with a state license are legally allowed to sell 28.5 grams of the substance, it’s clear that this proposition could provide adolescents with easy access to marijuana. While the proposition states that sellers must be 600 feet away from schools, day cares, and youth centers, neighborhoods still exist in which selling drugs like marijuana occurs daily, and the legalization of recreational marijuana would make it even easier for teenagers to get cannabis.

Although there are many studies that show the legalization of marijuana does not increase crime rates and is likely to maybe even decrease crime rates, there are also many police reports which show contradictory evidence to this statement. According to Fox News Denver, Colorado saw an increase of murders motivated by marijuana in the past 10-15 years. “There is increased crime, sometimes violent crime, associated with legalization of marijuana,” said Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler. “That’s not what you’d expect. You’d expect the harder-core drugs.”

Brauchler also stated that it’s easier to run a black market in a legalized system than it was before. This proves that the legalization of marijuana could actually greatly affect crime rates, and it’s plausible to believe that California will face a similar experience. We must take action to create and enforce strict rules so that marijuana is only used when allowed legally.

Data from the Seattle Police Department shows that property crime rates within Seattle have been rising since possessing marijuana became legal. Almost all property crimes have jumped by more than25%, in the two years after legalizing marijuana, with motor vehicle theft having the biggest increase of 50%. Although these increases may not have a clear connection with marijuana, it’s also true that these increase in rates are only happening after legalization of marijuana, so we must question whether these are mere coincidence.

Marijuana has affected crime rates, and the problem is that legalizing it won’t change this fact and may make it worse.  However, it isn’t just Seattle that’s seeing an increase in crime rates. According to reports from the Metropolitan State University of Denver, total crime in Denver has seen quite an increase since voters legalized marijuana. After the legalization of marijuana, the year following they saw an increase of 29% of total crime, and last year they saw another 15% increase in total crime incidents.

Both of these incidents show that there is a relation between marijuana and the increase of crime rates. It’s possible that with the legalization of marijuana, California will also experience an increase in crime rates. Allowing this proposition to pass as it is will negatively affect our state.  

It is only a matter of time before Californians see this side of Proposition 64. With the increase of intoxicated people, highways might get more dangerous and cause more car accidents. Before more teens can be exposed to marijuana and crime rate increases , we must make this proposition less dangerous and adjust it, so that there are stricter rules on using, seling and growing marijuana in our state.

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