Proposition 19, the proposal to regulate cannabis and make marijuana-related activities taxable, will appear on California ballots on Election Day next Tuesday (Nov. 2), and Asher Roth has become one of its most vocal supporters. In the spare time he had while working on his sophomore album, the 25-year-old "I Love College" rapper created an online initiative called "Bongress" in order to encourage voters to consider the benefits of Prop 19.
"[With] proposition 19 being on its first ballot in California, it's so important for the youth to get aware and get involved," says Roth. "We have a country that is losing people left and right to legal pharmaceutical drugs and an economy that can't produce any jobs... I just see an opportunity here to educate people instead of scare them away."
Roth says that he came up with the "Bongress" idea after a radio interview about the legalization of marijuana made him realize his passion for the subject. The rapper set up the Bongress website that offers medical facts on marijuana, reasons to vote yes on Prop 19 and T-shirts that read "Demochronic" and "Repufflican."
Roth doesn't shy away from his personal bias on the matter. "I'm a weed smoker; it is what it is," he says. "I'm more of an advocate for smoking weed than getting obliterated and black-out drunk."
As Election Day approaches, Roth is confident that enough people will share that outlook and approve Proposition 19. "I think it's gonna pass," he says. "And if it doesn't pass, I think it's gonna get awfully damn close. It's very real right now, especially with California swamped with debt. But people also have to realize that this isn't gonna happen overnight. This is just California, and hopefully we can start going through the states and it can be a stepping stone for something."
Aside from his political work, Roth is following 2009 debut "Asleep in the Bread Aisle" with a collaborative EP with rapper Nottz Raw, which will be issued for free in November. Roth then hopes to release sophomore LP "The Spaghetti Tree," which will feature Pharrell, Organized Noize and Ryan Leslie, in early 2011.
"It's a record that's about possibilities and imagination while based off of real events," Roth says of "Tree." "I'm just trying to have fun and do something that means something."