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"In Southern California, the mindset is 'Prop 19 is not going to happen for us,'" Soares said. "The mindset of the dispensary owner down here is, 'We'll just stay medical, because we're not going to be able to do recreational anyway.'"
Lee says he had to allow counties to opt in or out in order to skirt federal drug laws. But he might've failed to fully grasp the Southern California mindset.
Dispensary owners down south are like beaten dogs, loathe to provoke their master, according to Soares. The prospect of recreational use makes Southern California clubs fearful of renewed crackdowns on medical usage and more vigorous DEA raids.
"It's not just Southern California that's having issues with medical marijuana," she said. "Recreational is not going to be any better."
Lee says places like San Diego should change policy at the ballot box through local voter initiatives of their own. "Just because the local county supervisor is an asshole doesn't mean they don't have the votes," he said. "If they can collect signatures, it's easy. So local activists have to get busy and do it."
But Soares speaks to an even bigger psychic divide that's more ancient: the ongoing rivalry between Northern and Southern California. She speculates that the north's lax policies will create a climate where Los Angeles is beholden to Oakland for its pot needs. Since Lee is from there, he will profit off the restrictive climate down south.
"For me, it's great Oakland is going to have a measure for them, but they are pushing it on the rest of the state," said Soares. "I just don't think that this proposition is written good enough for the rest of the state to help Oakland out."
There have even been news reports that growers in Northern California are worried about the consequences Prop 19 might have on their economy. But Berkeley Patient's Care Collective manager Erik Miller, who deals with growers all the time, says he thinks most of them are in favor of the proposition. "I've noticed that the news likes to put people on from Humboldt that claim they're against it because the region could lose money, but I think that's a minority of people that are selfish," he said. "Obviously I haven't conducted a poll, but maybe 90 percent are in favor of it. Having some protections so people aren't being carted off is worth it, even if the price drops a little bit. Our medicine should be cheaper anyway, shouldn't it?"
The Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel, which represents some local growers, distributors, and other cannabis services, is also supporting Prop 19. HUMMAP Secretary Charley Custer said he's not seeing critical growers hitting the streets or handing out literature. Most are for change, even if it's incremental. "We're all going to be voting for it, with various reservations, some more than others," he said. "The strongest criticism I've seen happened at our forum. The youngsters are furious this thing embalms sanctions against a 22-year-old giving a joint to a 19-year-old in the State of California's constitution. But that provision is almost impossible to enforce or indeed to prevent."
For Soares, Prop 19 amounts to not enough change. But some of her peers want much, much more.
Dragonfly de la Luz, a San Francisco-based cannabis and travel writer for Skunk Magazine, says "the universe" gave her her name a couple years back. But the Internet made Dragonfly a name thanks to her blog titled "Stoners Against the Prop 19 Tax Cannabis Initiative."
First posted in July alongside photos of the dreadlocked woman hitting a three foot-long joint, her screed has been widely circulated and reposted since then. She has 78 comments on her site, and plenty of haters across the 'net. On the political spectrum of left to right, Dragonfly represents the point where the radical legalization left falls off the edge of the map and into political oblivion.
Chasing an endless summer around the globe while smoking weed, Dragonfly says when she first heard of Prop 19 last year, she was stoked. But then she read it.
"I'm like, 'Is this what legalization looks like?' I just don't think this was what Peter Tosh had in mind when he implored us to legalize it."
Her thousand-word criticism of Prop 19 boils down to two main issues: It doesn't go far enough, and Prop 19 represents "the corporatization" of cannabis.
She notes that even though about 61,000 Californians are arrested for marijuana crimes each year, that number will not drop to zero on November 3. Those under 21 without a medical marijuana card can still be arrested, and adults who give weed to those under 21 can also get in trouble with the law. So can unlicensed dealers.
"We should be able to buy our cannabis wherever we want," said Dragonfly. "We're not forced to only buy our alcohol from Safeway." Lee says regulation of sales is the whole point, as opposed to the "anything goes" environment currently on the streets.
But Dragonfly's biggest problem seems to be Lee himself and what he represents to her and other radical reformers. "This proposition wasn't written by activists; it was written by businessmen," she said. "Its aim is the corporatization of cannabis. This might be our last chance to stop it."
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