Last night, San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum threw eight innings of one run baseball, racking up 10 strikeouts in the process, and leading the Giants to their first World Series victory since moving to San Francisco at the end of the 1957 season.
Why am I writing about this on the MPP blog? Because Lincecum, a former Cy Young Award winner, is one of the millions of Americans who has used marijuana and been subjected to the criminal justice system for using a substance less harmful than alcohol. Lincecum, 26, was charged with marijuana possession last year and, after a plea agreement, was forced to pay a fine. He is not, by any stretch, the first successful athlete to use marijuana and be punished for his actions.
Lincecum’s dominating performance serves as a timely reminder that marijuana prohibition makes criminals out of both everyday and extraordinary Americans. Maybe it’s a midlevel executive working mother who uses a small amount of marijuana after her kids go to bed to unwind. She’s a criminal. Maybe it’s a wounded veteran returning from Iraq who finds marijuana works best to control his PTSD. If not covered by a medical marijuana program, he’s a criminal. Or maybe he’s the leader of the free world. Yep, they were all criminals, too.
Luckily, Californians have a unique opportunity today to end this unjust criminalization of otherwise law-abiding adults by voting yes on Proposition 19.
Will California claim two historic victories in two days? We shall see.