From Dr. Michael Aldrich October 23, 2015    The best initiative ever was CMI 1972 —the California Marijuana Initiative. It told the government what it could not do (send people to jail for marijuana possession, cultivation or transportation) rather than trying to make a detailed plan for legalization.

Michael Aldrich waiting to testify at a meeting of the SF Supervisors 2007

Michael Aldrich waiting to testify at a meeting of the SF Supervisors 2007

Retail sales were not included in 1972, which was a mistake. But at least it was not written for cops who somehow think they’re qualified to say anything about marijuana, and who think they don’t have to enforce Prop 215 or any other rules they didn’t write. Including the police in the discussions serves no purpose except to give them a stage they do not deserve. They will never ever come around and should not be allowed to intentionally damage everything they can.

A good contemporary initiative would include a provision to free the thousands and thousands of prisoners unjustly incarcerated for no reason.

It would not allow employees to be fired for using medical marijuana.

It would be written for 18 year olds, not 21 year olds (saving thousands and thousands of college students from being the main thrust of law enforcement).

It would legalize marijuana in all shapes and forms, all products regardless of whether the police like it or not.

All of these ideas have been lost because of timidity —as if some voters might disapprove. That is the wrong way to write an initiative.

I approve very much of Gavin Newsom, his committee, and its ideas. The time has finally come when a politician can campaign seriously for governor by encouraging the legalization of marijuana. But you asked for an ideal proposition and those are my ideas. The only reason we left retail sales out of the 1972 initiative was we didn’t think people would approve full legalization. So Joel Fort talked us into doing a mere decriminalization initiative. I honestly believe we would have gotten the same vote— one-third of the electorate— had we included it. And “legalizing” marijuana short of providing for thousands of prisoners and students, and again kowtowing to the wishes of police is not ideal and very possibly makes it worse.

Thank you, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, for requiring that the cases against Lynette Shaw and others must be dropped. The police opposed that too, of course. Like the Republicans, the police think that Obama’s tiny smidge of reform should be ignored. Like the Republicans they want to INCREASE penalties against marijuana. The time has come for California to regain the initiative process (suborned by big companies buying signatures and ballots) and write the most progressive, liberal, free everyone initiative of any state. I think the voters will approve.

Editor’s Note: We had asked Aldrich, who has been advocating legalization since the end of the 1960s:

What is the closest thing out there to a Real Legalization initiative?  Has anyone ever written one in the spirit of a “pipe dream,” i.e., not with an idea towards what the funders and the cops might go for, but what would best serve the interests of the pot-loving masses?

Please send the best draft extant, or dash off what you consider the key points of such a measure.

Prop 19 -73