California Proposition 215: Medical Marijuana

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California Proposition 215

For many years in the past, marijuana has been made to look like a dangerous drug, linked to crime and addiction. In the early 1920s and ‘30s most people still did not know what marijuana was or had even heard of it yet. Those who had heard of it were largely uninformed. The drug rarely appeared in the media, but when it did it was linked to crime and even thought to be murder-inducing. A 1929 article in the Denver Post reported a Mexican-American man who murdered his stepdaughter was a marijuana addict (Baird 2011). Articles such as this began to form a long-standing link between marijuana and crime in the public’s mind. Soon, laws against marijuana began coming into place. In 1970, Congress classified
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Last, I will discuss how interest groups such as Californians for Medical Rights and Californians for Compassionate Use affected the bill’s success.
In 1996, California Proposition 215 passed with 55.6% votes in favor and 44.4% against it (Baird 2011). That is more California votes than Bush, Clinton, or most other elected presidents have received. Proposition 215 was the first statewide medical marijuana voter initiative adopted in the USA. This proposition was envisioned by San Francisco marijuana activist and owner of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyer’s Club, Dennis Peron, in memory of his partner, who smoked marijuana to help with symptoms of AIDS. Initially, California claimed its support for the legalization of medical marijuana by voting 80% in favor of Proposition P, the San Francisco medical marijuana initiative in 1991 (Baird 2011). Three California polls show a majority siding with Proposition 215, which would require only a ' 'doctor 's recommendation ' ' for marijuana use by patients with AIDS, cancer, glaucoma ' 'or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief (Goldberg 1996). ' ' A Field Poll ending Oct. 9, 1996 showed that 56 percent of those surveyed would vote for the measure, a private poll in the same period by the campaign for Proposition 215 found 57 percent supporting it, and a Los Angeles Times poll found 58 percent in favor. The opposition
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