Dear California: Please Legalize Marijuana. For America.

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Dear California -

Tomorrow, you vote on Proposition 19, which is an opportunity to legalize Marijuana in California. Right now, the referendum's prospects don't look great, as it's currently polling seven points under being voted into law. You've got to pass this thing (to the left). Not just for you, but for America. Though especially us.

We've had our differences as states. Los Angeles and San Fransisco are seen as the West Coast rival-metropolises to New York City. But like you guys, our state is in an absurd amount of debt that could be relieved through the taxation of marijuana sales, for one thing. For another, the drug trade takes lives, here, just like it does there. Hell, the drug trade takes lives everywhere, especially in Mexico, where so much of the fuel to the fire of the immigration debate has taken the form of border violence in Mexico instituted by relentlessly violent cartels. Making Marijuana an American product isn't a cure-all for that problem, but it certainly has the potential to soften the blow.

In fact, it isn't a cure-all for anything, but it does help Americans relieve the pain of many things, including cancer. You know this already. You also know that it's less addictive than alcohol or tobacco, a crop that practically built the economy of the southern states. You also know that the end of prohibition signaled the end of so much violence at the hands of king-making bootleggers, especially on the East Coast.

But again, none of this is anything you don't know. Consider this, however: California has been ahead of the rest of the country in its commitment to environmentalism in many, many ways. Here in New York City, we use public transit and cabs as a primary means of getting around. Hell, half the people born in Manhattan don't even know how to drive. But it sure works. It's efficient, it's environmentally friendly, and it cuts down the risk of drinking and driving exponentially. The need for public transit will rise as the smoke does. Surely, some people will drive around blazed out of their minds. But here in New York, we don't have to worry about that. We can get as goddamn high as we want, and never have to put anyone else in danger in the process.

And surely, we'll be ordering some of the best buds in America from you in due course, if this thing goes through. Think of all the money that would pour into your state as the most premium marijuana strains -- of which, everyone knows California has the finest --make their way between our two respective economies.

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But the real bottom line is that we are stressed. These are stressful times! And you would be leading a weary, industrious nation eager to Get Things Done into the future as one that can also relax a little. For too long, America has relied on booze -- something that causes people to scream and get angry and beat up other people! -- as the numbing agent of choice, and many of us are weary and tired of that, too. Has anyone ever beaten anybody up while blazed out of their minds? Probably, but no question, it was probably easier to do wasted than it was on weed. Also, think of America's agriculture industry. Think of the farmers! You know how it goes: the Munchies are not bullshit. They are real. They are universal, but in America, where any kind of cuisine is so readily available, they're a side-effect this country is more than well-equipped to handle.

But really, a lot of Americans wanna get high, we wanna get high legally, and we're counting on you to do it first, for us. That's really all there is to it. Do it for America. Vote Yes on Proposition 19 for Other Americans. And in the process, show us just how much of a role model the Great Republic of California can be.

Our request is simple. We ask not what your country can smoke for you, but what you can smoke for your country. And we'd be glad to let you get greens.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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