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Dueling Statements | MND’s Cannabis Liberty

Here are the ballot statements regarding Proposition 19 in California — the legalization of marijuana.

The con statement is signed by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Laura Dean-Mooney (President of MADD). The pro statement is signed by Joseph McNamara, James P. Gray, and Stephen Downing (all LEAP members).

ARGUMENT AGAINST PROPOSITION 19

Even if you support legalization of recreational marijuana, you should vote “No” on Proposition 19.

Why? Because the authors made several huge mistakes in writing this initiative which will have severe, unintended consequences.

For example, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) strongly opposes Proposition 19 because it will prevent bus and trucking companies from requiring their drivers to be drug-free. Companies won’t be able to take action against a “stoned” driver until after he or she has a wreck, not before.

School districts may currently require school bus drivers to be drug-free, but if Proposition 19 passes, their hands will be tied – until after tragedy strikes. A school bus driver would be forbidden to smoke marijuana on schools grounds or while actually behind the wheel, but could arrive for work with marijuana in his or her system.

Public school superintendent John Snavely, Ed.D. warns that Proposition 19 could cost our K-12 schools as much as $9.4 billion in lost federal funding. Another error could potentially cost schools hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants for our colleges and universities. Our schools have already experienced severe budget cuts due to the state budget crisis.

The California Chamber of Commerce found that “if passed, this initiative could result in employers losing public contracts and grants because they could no longer effectively enforce the drug-free workplace requirements outlined by the federal government.”

Employers who permit employees to sell cosmetics or school candy bars to co-workers in the office, may now also be required to allow any employee with a “license” to sell marijuana in the office.

Under current law, if a worker shows up smelling of alcohol or marijuana, an employer may remove the employee from a dangerous or sensitive job, such as running medical lab tests in a hospital, or operating heavy equipment. But if Proposition 19 passes, the worker with marijuana in his or her system may not be removed from the job until after an accident occurs.

The California Police Chiefs Association opposes Proposition 19 because proponents “forgot” to include a standard for what constitutes “driving under the influence.” Under Proposition 19, a driver may legally drive even if a blood test shows they have marijuana in their system.

Gubernatorial candidates Republican Meg Whitman and Democrat Jerry Brown have both studied Proposition 19 and are urging all Californians to vote “No,” as are Democratic and Republican candidates for Attorney General, Kamala Harris and Steve Cooley.

Don’t be fooled. The proponents are hoping you will think Proposition 19 is about “medical” marijuana. It is not. Proposition 19 makes no changes either way in the medical marijuana laws.

Proposition 19 is simply a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe. We strongly urge you to vote “No” on Prop 19.

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Laura Dean-Mooney
National President, Mothers Against Drunk Driving

PROPOSITION 19: COMMON SENSE CONTROL OF MARIJUANA

Today, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are spent enforcing the failed prohibition of marijuana (also known as “cannabis”).

Currently marijuana is easier for kids to get than alcohol, because dealers don’t require ID.

Prohibition has created a violent criminal market run by international drug cartels.

Police waste millions of taxpayer dollars targeting non-violent marijuana consumers, while thousands of violent crimes go unsolved.

And there is $14 billion in marijuana sales every year in California, but our debt-ridden state gets nothing from it.

Marijuana prohibition has failed.

WE NEED A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO CONTROL AND TAX MARIJUANA LIKE ALCOHOL.

Proposition 19 was carefully written to get marijuana under control.

Under Proposition 19, only adults 21 and over can possess up to one ounce of marijuana, to be consumed at home or licensed establishments. Medical marijuana patients’ rights are preserved.

If we can control and tax alcohol, we can control and tax marijuana.

PUT STRICT SAFETY CONTROLS ON MARIJUANA

Proposition 19 maintains strict criminal penalties for driving under the influence, increases penalties for providing marijuana to minors, and bans smoking it in public, on school grounds, and around minors.

Proposition 19 keeps workplaces safe by preserving the right of employers to maintain a drug-free workplace.

PUT POLICE PRIORITIES WHERE THEY BELONG

According to the FBI, in 2008 over 61,000 Californians were arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession, while 60,000 violent crimes went unsolved. By ending arrests of non-violent marijuana consumers, police will save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars a year, and be able to focus on the real threat: violent crime.

Police, Sheriffs, and Judges support Proposition 19.

HELP FIGHT THE DRUG CARTELS

Marijuana prohibition has created vicious drug cartels across our border. In 2008 alone, cartels murdered 6,290 civilians in Mexico — more than all U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

60 percent of drug cartel revenue comes from the illegal U.S. marijuana market.

By controlling marijuana, Proposition 19 will help cut off funding to the cartels.

GENERATE BILLIONS IN REVENUE TO FUND WHAT MATTERS

California faces historic deficits, which, if state government doesn’t balance the budget, could lead to higher taxes and fees for the public, and more cuts to vital services. Meanwhile, there is $14 billion in marijuana transactions every year in California, but we see none of the revenue that would come from taxing it.

Proposition 19 enables state and local governments to tax marijuana, so we can preserve vital services.

The State’s tax collector, the Board of Equalization, says taxing marijuana would generate $1.4 billion in annual revenue, which could fund jobs, healthcare, public safety, parks, roads, transportation, and more.

LET’S REFORM CALIFORNIA’S MARIJUANA LAWS

Outlawing marijuana hasn’t stopped 100 million Americans from trying it. But we can control it, make it harder for kids to get, weaken the cartels, focus police resources on violent crime, and generate billions in revenue and savings.

We need a common sense approach to control marijuana.

YES on 19.

www.taxcannabis.org

JOSEPH D. MCNAMARA
San Jose Police Chief (Ret.)

JAMES P. GRAY
Orange County Superior Court Judge (Ret.)

STEPHEN DOWNING
Deputy Chief, LAPD (Ret.)

The con argument is obviously disingenuous. It’s interesting that practically the entire thing is riding on the notion that the public won’t be aware that marijuana stays in your system for days when you’re not stoned.

Is that an opportunity? ie., is there a way to increase that awareness in a positive way (without appearing defensive)?

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