Dear Big Daddy,
I heard there’s going to be another attempt next year to legalize marijuana. What do you think?
–Margaret in Milpitas
It will go nowhere, just like Proposition 19 went nowhere. It’s not that plenty of Californians don’t like marijuana, it’s just that those who do can’t put down their munchies and stop listening to Cheap Trick or Uncle Tupelo long enough to organize a winning campaign. Or even vote.
You can’t legislate morality, as Mr. McIver once said, and that’s too bad: Otherwise, we could let the Legislature vote it up and put it in the governor’s lap. And he’d sign it.
But that’s not the way of California, where voters get to weigh in on everything. So if it qualifies for the ballot – a big if – marijuana legalization will go to voters yet again next year, and once more it will go the way of the Dodo – until 2014, presumably.
The only positive strategy for the proponents – the same people who backed Proposition 19 – is that they are looking at 2012, when there will likely be a strong Democratic turnout in a presidential election year. And since the state’s economy is likely to be worse off than now, a measure that allows the locals to tax weed and grab the revenues may find support.
Naturally, if I was still treasurer, I’d be pushing this with both hands, but with one minor difference – the tax money would go to the state. I know money, and I can handle money. Trust me.
Local politicians are even more timid than state politicians, which is no mean feat. There will be support in Berkeley, because that carries no risk, and opposition in Mission Viejo, because that carries even less risk. But the rest of the state will be indifferent, bored, bemused or hostile, and few of them really believe legalizing pot is a good idea, anyway. And those that do, especially the younger ones, won’t make it to the polls. A sad circumstance, but that’s Democracy, the worst form of government except for every other one.
So I predict the next marijuana legalization bid will fail by six points, which is better than its eight-point defeat last year.
Of course, I enjoyed a joint frequently and I found it helped my eyesight and appetite. I’d give you more details, but it’s all a blur now.
But I stopped when I got up here, because you can’t stay here if you do something illegal. That only plays in Sacramento. And I never mentioned it in Sacramento.
Look what happened to Maddy: He smoked a joint and lost the governorship.
So keep your vices to yourself and pack a tight suitcase, especially if you’re in politics. And be comforted by Philip Marlowe’s wise words: Everybody has something to conceal.
I know I do.