Blog: Artists Come Out Strong in Support of Marijuana Legalization in California

By Tony Newman

A group of well-known actors and musicians today came out in favor of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, a voter initiative on the November 2016 ballot that will control, regulate and tax responsible adult use, sale and cultivation of marijuana in California.

Artists for 64 is being organized by dream hampton and Mike de la Rocha of Revolve Impact and includes Jesse Williams, Shailene Woodley, Olivia Wilde, Shawn "Jay Z" Carter, Russell Simmons, Danny Glover, Piper Kermon, Ty Dolla $ign, Pusha T., Common, Tim Robbins, Michael K Williams and Al Harrington.

Last week Jay Z released a video about the history of the War on Drugs, calling it an “epic fail” and favoring Prop. 64.  And yesterday retired 16-year NBA veteran Al Harrington released another powerful new video on In it Harrington describes the benefits he and his grandmother receive from using marijuana.

Artists for Prop. 64 joins an unprecedented coalition of bipartisan supporters of this initiative, including: California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Academy of Preventative Medicine, California Nurses Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council, California Medical Association, United Farm Workers, California State NAACP, the Courage Campaign, Equality California, the National Latino Officers Association, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and leading activists Michelle Alexander, Dorsey Nunn and Susan Burton.

Proposition 64 contains important sentencing reforms that eliminate or reduce most adult use and cultivation marijuana offenses. It ends the wasteful of expenditure of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars every year in California on the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of nonviolent, marijuana-only offenses. Proposition 64 also reduces barriers to entry to the legal market, and drives hundreds of millions of dollars in investments to low-income communities that have been most negatively impacted by the drug war.

Proposition 64 will alleviate California’s overburdened criminal justice system and directly roll back America’s failed War on Drugs. Over the last decade, nearly half a million Californians have been arrested for low-level pot-related crimes.

New tax revenue from the retail sales of marijuana, estimated to be up to one billion dollars each year, will also fund substance use treatment for youth, environmental restoration, research on implementation and medical marijuana and reentry programs in communities harmed by the war on drugs.

Learning from Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and the District of Columbia, California’s ballot initiative resets the bar on marijuana legalization by ensuring it centralizes reparative justice and helps to heal all those who have been harmed by failed marijuana prohibition.

Tony Newman is director of media relations at Drug Policy Action.

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