Pubdate: Wed, 06 Oct 2010
Source: Daily Bruin (UCLA, CA Edu)
Copyright: 2010, ASUCLA Student Media
Author: Kylie Reynolds
Cited: Proposition 19
Bookmark: (Proposition 19)


Younger Generation More Willing to Discuss Drug Legalization Than in 
Past; Their Votes Key to Prop. 19's Outcome

The 1936 film "Reefer Madness," which was created to deter students
from using marijuana, tells the story of young adults getting into car
accidents, committing murder, suicide and rape and ultimately
descending into insanity as a result of marijuana use.

Becoming a cult classic for its unintentional humor, the film failed
to prevent students from drug use when it was released, and it has yet
to change many students' opinions on marijuana in 2010. In fact,
people aged 18 through 39 comprise the largest supporters of
Proposition 19, with 59 percent planning to vote in support of it in
November, according to a recent field poll.

Brent Gaisford, a second-year economics student and co-president of
the Roosevelt Institution at UCLA, said younger people are generally
more open to the idea of the proposition.

The Roosevelt Institution, a public policy think tank, will co-host an
on-campus debate on the proposition with Bruin Democrats and Bruin
Republicans on Tuesday. Moderated by UCLA public policy professor Mark
Kleiman, the debate will feature Allison Margolin, an attorney in the
Los Angeles office for the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws, in support of the proposition and Joel Hay, head of
the University of Southern California's Department of Pharmaceutical
Economics and Policy, against the initiative.

"A lot of the negative stereotypes of marijuana that existed in the
40s and 50s . are now known to be often racially motivated and false,"
Gaisford said. "Those societal moral qualms have fallen by the
wayside. I think a lot of college students have experienced marijuana,
and it doesn't seem to them to be a horrible, societal thing."

For third-year English student Ginger Buswell, legalizing marijuana
would be a positive move for California.

"More often than not, (marijuana use) is a victimless crime," Buswell
said. "It's a waste of tax money to prosecute those who use it."

Although more than half of current undergraduate students will not be
immediately affected by the proposition, which will only allow those
over 21 to possess the drug, many students, including second-year
biochemistry student Jonathon Amzleg, are in support of the initiative
because they do not think its passage will change much about marijuana

Like any controversial proposition, however, some students differ in
opinions from the majority. Arpi Shak, a fourth-year philosophy
student, said she does not support the proposition because it may
increase drug usage.

"Right now there are restrictions, so some people won't try it because
it's illegal. With no restrictions, it will be more freely used, like
cigarettes," she said.

While supporters of the proposition cite its economic advantages to
California, Aline Robles, a third-year biology student, said she
opposes the proposition because it is not the right way to generate
revenue for the state.

"(The government) should put more money into the (University of
California) system, which creates the most jobs and business for the
state, instead of getting money from marijuana," Robles said.

But regardless of where students stand on the initiative, Proposition
19 remains one of the leading issues in this year's election to
college students, who are often new voters. With a precarious 49
percent of all voters in support of the proposition, students' votes
will likely be a determining factor in whether the proposition is
passed, according to the field poll.

"There are so many propositions in California, and I think this is the
one by far the most students will know about," Gaisford said. "I would
say every student knows this is on the ballot, and that is definitely
not true of lots of other worthy propositions." 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake