Jay Z Joins Celebrities In ‘Artists For 64’ To Help Marijuana Reform Take Giant Leap On Election Day

The New York Times reports today that the legalization of marijuana could take a “giant leap” on Election Day this year, if California and four more states vote in favor of Proposition 64, a bill for marijuana reform. The Los Angeles Times also reports today that Jay Z has joined a bevy of celebrities that have formed a coalition known as Artists for 64, a coalition whose main purpose is to ensure that California votes for Proposition 64.

New York Times says that if California does vote for Proposition 64, commonly referred to as Prop 64, this will be a game changer for the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. The New York Times also reports that the way the California polls are looking right now, California will vote for Prop 64 come Election Day.

This would turn the entire West Coast green, says the New York Times, and would mean a block of states from “the Pacific to Colorado” would put the pressure on the federal government to lift the ban on marijuana. At present, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska, all have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.

In addition to California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, and Arizona also have legalization of marijuana initiatives on the ballot come Election Day.

Nevada is reportedly split on the topic. But the New York Times says if California votes yes for Prop 64, it would “blow the door open” for the legalization of marijuana across the country. Jay Z and many other celebrities have formed a coalition in California to make sure that happens.

It’s called Artists for 64 and includes Sarah Silverman, Danny Glover, Tim Robbins, Ty Dollar $ign, Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy, Olivia Wilde, Michael Williams of The Wire, and Shailene Woodley. Artists for 64 also includes author Piper Kerman, author of the book Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison.

Alternet reports that Proposition 64 is a bill that would include sentencing reforms and reductions for marijuana use as well as the cultivation of marijuana in California. Alternet says if passed, the initiative would cut “tens of millions of tax payer dollars every year in California on arrest, prosecution, and incarceration” of marijuana-related offenses. Prop 64 will also reportedly infuse “hundreds of millions of dollars” into low-income communities impacted by the war on drugs, says Alternet.

Proponents of Prop 64 say the program will also raise tax dollars from new businesses in the industry, which could then be used to provide treatment for at-risk youth. The New York Times reports that currently, the state-only initiatives on the legalization of marijuana make it difficult for marijuana business owners to open bank accounts or get credit cards.

Prop 64 passing in California could give marijuana business owners just the leap they need to circumvent those business challenges, reports the New York Times. The marijuana industry for both recreational and medicinal use is expected to grow to $22 billion within four years and is currently estimated to be a $7 billion dollar industry if California says yes.

The New York Times says that Colorado has already seen a reduction in criminal budget squeezes, as well as an influx of tax dollars, due to the legalization of marijuana in that state. California would likely see the same benefits, reports the New York Times. Troy Dayton, the chief executive of Arcview, a company that connects investors to marijuana businesses, told the outlet that California is a game changer.

“This is the vote heard round the world. What we’ve seen before has been tiny compared to what we are going to see in California.”

It was just last week that Jay Z issued a video Op-Ed video where he cited the war on drugs of the Reagan Administration as an “epic fail” reports the Los Angeles Times today.

Lethal Weapon star Danny Glover, a member of Artists for 64 agrees, saying, “In California, the question on whether to legalize marijuana for adult use is a policy change that will have a lasting impact on historically marginalized communities. Marijuana laws have been used as a tool by law enforcement to racially profile, harass, intimidate, and criminalize mostly young African American and Latino men for decades.”

The Los Angeles Times reports that actress Olivia Wilde said, “I don’t smoke marijuana, but I don’t want people who do to be punished for it.”

Opponents of Prop 64 reportedly allege that celebrities aren’t the most credible endorsers of Prop 64, saying they are “out of touch” with the realities of drug abuse.

Culture Magazine reports it’s not just celebrities who are endorsing Prop 64. The United Farm Workers has a vested interest in this proposition as well.

The UFW has endorsed Prop 64, with UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez saying, “Proposition 64 will bring legal justice and job training to communities of color that have been cynically targeted by the failed war on marijuana. It also extends strong workers and safety protections for those who toil in the fields of this industry and work in every part of the supply chain.”

Alternet concurs, saying that an “unprecedented coalition of bipartisan supporters” are also involved. California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom is on that list.

He told the New York Times, “It’s on us to prove we can do this responsibly. I grant that there are those who don’t believe we are up to it. We have to prove them wrong.”

Watch Jay Z’s video here, where he cites the war on drugs from the Reagan Administration as an “epic fail” and analyzes the statistics that he says support that.

Joining the list of celebrities who support Prop 64 are the California Academy of Preventative Medicine, the California Nurses Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council, the California Medical Association, the California State NAACP, the Courage Campaign, Equality California, the National Latino Officers Association, and the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Activists such as Susan Burton, Dorsey Nunn, and Michelle Alexander have also reportedly been vocal in saying yes to Prop 64. Do you?