Californians will vote on 17 propositions in the 2016 ballot that address a variety of issues and problems in the state. Three issues that Californians will be voting on in November include: the legalization of marijuana and hemp, the California public school bonds for education, and issues revolving around the death penalty.
Proposition 64, known as the “California Marijuana Legalization Initiative,” legalizes the use of recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21. A person will be able to possess up to 28.5 grams of unconcentrated marijuana, or up to eight grams of concentrated marijuana at one time. The proposition will create two new taxes, the first, for the costs of cultivation of the crops and the second on the retail prices on the drugs. The money made from the taxes will go into research of the effects marijuana, treatment for marijuana use and the prevention of environmental damages that come from the production of marijuana.
Another important proposition is prop 51, the California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative, will fund the improvement of public schools, colleges, and universities by issuing $9 billion in bonds. This proposition serves as an attempt to return school funding to pre-recession levels and restore the economic status of the state, because of the effects from the budget crisis of 2008 that took away spending for public education.
Opposing this proposition are some wealthy citizens who believe that the state cannot afford to issue these bonds and that they will end up having to paying higher taxes for it. Upper School debate coach and history and social sciences teacher Adam Torson said that the proposition could be complicated because of the economic status of the state.
“The push to return to pre-recession levels of funding for those institutions is a good idea, but the state doesn’t have unlimited money and could run into financial problems,” Torson said.
Lastly, propositions 62 and 66 address opposing views regarding the death penalty in California. Prop 66 proposes to repeal the death penalty and give convicts life without parole, while prop 62 limits the number of petitions prisoners can file to try and change their convictions, and speeds up the process that can lead ultimately to the death penalty.
The two propositions are not complementary. Legal experts have said that it won’t work if people vote for both, because they support opposing causes.
Attorney and Los Angeles Community Advocate Karriann Farrell Hinds said voters need to understand that if both propositions pass, they cannot be implemented together.
“They are dueling propositions because they are both trying to address the death penalty, but the way prop 66 is written is if they both win, one of them has to get more votes than the other to actually go through because they can’t operate together,” Hinds said.