Question #2 this year would replace the criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties.
I understand and appreciate the arguments in favor of it, but I think the arguments against it are more compelling. An ounce of marijuana is actually a good amount (56 individual sales according to the District Attorneys Association), first-time offenders get probation and don’t get a publicly-available criminal record, and it’s just not a good public image for the government to say that “minor” drug use is “okay”, and we’ll just charge you a $100 tax when you get caught. I don’t believe that it will save $30 million in police costs, and I think that it’s a good use of police time to try to get drugs off the streets, and get the drug users into the probation and rehabilitation programs.
It will be interesting to see if this will pass. This state is sometimes socially liberal and sometimes socially conservative, in ways that seem contradictory at times. There have been non-binding questions in some areas of the state in years past, and I think that many of those passed. But I wouldn’t bet on the outcome of this question either way. I think it’ll be close.