Since the November 2014 midterm elections several states, including Washington D.C. have voted to legalize marijuana and now some residents of California are awaiting another chance to have the decision of whether to legalize the recreational usage of marijuana put to a vote. Despite a 2010 vote that resulted in a defeat of proposition 19 that would have legalized certain activities associated with the public distribution of marijuana, social implications reveal that support of voters who favor legalizing marijuana is rising. In a recent interview, Oaksterdam University’s Executive Chancellor, Dale Sky Jones discussed how a legalization process that seeming started in California is now faced with the challenge of catching up with the popular demands of the Oakland community and society at large. Jones views the proposal to marijuana reform as the biggest Civil Rights issue of our time and credits public awareness forums, such as those conducted at Oaksterdam as important factors in helping move on along the conversation on policy reform and the legalization process.
Could legalizing marijuana perhaps help to stabilize a local economy that has been under direst due to other state management issues like water shortages and unemployment? An employee at Green Palace dispensary located in central Los Angles, CA, David Parisa, believes policy makers are siding with the medical field and are intentionally trying block any efforts by advocates to legalize marijuana. “They don’t want it to happen because it will decrease the need for prescription and over the counter drugs, like vicodin and Tylenol… it would also mean more jobs.” Other Los Angeles residents like Lakesha Alexander agree that marijuana reform would prove beneficial to the local economy. Alexander says “it would create more revenue that the city needs to operate and pay for services and things that need to be done.”
Several reports are indicating that provisions are being made to have the issue put on the ballot for the 2016 presidential election. Although democrats have maintained relative control of the California State Senate, even prior to the November 2014 midterm elections, some liberals suggest that a vote 2016 would greater increase the chances of a yes vote on the ballot in determining whether or not to legalize marijuana. Proponents of marijuana reform have not necessarily had their way in the issue on whether to legalize marijuana. In June 2012, the Huffington Post reported that federal agents conducted a raid and arrest warrant at Oaksterdam University in what some supporters viewed as an effort to cut off access to medical marijuana. In spite of such controversy and the ongoing debate pro-marijuana reform advocates continue their efforts to increase support for the issue through online communities and tech panels that encourage legalizing marijuana. For now any Californians desiring access to the lawful procurement of marijuana have to go through the proper medical compliance channels before they are granted entrance to any of the several hundred marijuana collectives operating as taxable businesses.