BARSTOW • Marijuana has an ambiguous future within the city of Barstow even if a proposition passes on Tuesday that would legalize possession and potential sale within the state of California.
Proposition 19 would legalize the use and cultivation of marijuana in adults age 21 or older. Both state and local governments would be able to authorize, regulate, and tax the sale of marijuana.
The use of marijuana would still be illegal under federal law, which is causing some debate among politicians. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that he will still use federal law to prosecute marijuana users in California even if Proposition 19 passes.
Although voters approved a proposition in 1996 that allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes, Barstow and the County of San Bernardino currently have a moratorium on the sale of medical marijuana within Barstow's city limits and unincorporated portions of San Bernardino County.
Barstow's mayor and one member of City Council were unable to give a definitive answer when asked if marijuana would be allowed to be sold within the city if Proposition 19 passes. Calls to the other three city council members and to Police Chief Dianne Burns went unanswered Friday.
Councilmember Timothy Silva said that he wanted to wait for the outcome of some pending court decisions on medical marijuana before he made a decision about whether or not the city would allow marijuana to be sold within city limits.
Mayor Joe Gomez said that he would like more input from residents before he made a decision about the sale of marijuana.
An informal survey of ten Barstow residents outside Walmart on Friday afternoon had six residents against the proposition and four residents for the proposition.
Some of the residents against the proposition said they were afraid that children and teens would be able to have easier access to marijuana if it were legalized for adults.
"There's too many kids that might get into drugs," said Inez Francia, a resident of Barstow. "A lot of kids are doing drugs at a young age."
Residents who were for the passage of the proposition said that it would help people with chronic pain or conditions such as anxiety.
"It's an anxiety calmer," said Sue Nelson, also a resident of Barstow. "To me, it's just like drinking a beer."
A recent poll done by the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California also found that more people are opposed to the proposition, with 51 percent opposed and 39 percent in support.
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