Surveys say California voters are evenly split on the Nov. 2 proposition that would make their state the first to legalize the growing, selling and recreational use of marijuana, says the Washington Post. Proposition 19 would take away criminal penalties for people 21 and older for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. Fourteen years ago, California became the first to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Since then, 13 other states and Washington, D.C., have followed suit.
Advocates for legalization say they hope the vote in November will set off another trend across the nation. “If and when this passes,” said Jeff Jones, a longtime cannabis advocate who was arrested a decade ago for opening a medical marijuana dispensary, “you will see stories around the world saying this was a major shift in drug policy.” Opponents warn of a legal nightmare: They say the referendum would bar employers from firing stoned workers without proving first that they were impaired. That would mean school bus drivers, for example, could get high before climbing behind the wheel, according to critics. An unlikely coalition has formed, with medical marijuana dispensary owners and marijuana growers joining law enforcement to oppose the measure. That group disputes the promise of a new stream of cash into state coffers.