When it comes to California’s Prop. 19, I’ve found there are roughly 3 types of people opposed to the initiative.
Some politicians or law enforcement types who think it is in their best interest to oppose cannabis reform.
People who have not read the initiative and have been relying only on hearsay and urban legends (or who misunderstand the language in the initiative).
Those with investments in the medical marijuana industry who are more concerned about losing money if the price of cannabis goes down or if CA residents no longer have to pay MediCann $200 to get a doctor’s note saying it’s ok for them to use medical marijuana.
Below are parts of a post from Opposing Views that includes a debate going on between Chris Conrad, NORML and Dragonfly de la Luz. Dragonfly is the author of a blog called "Stoners Against Prop 19" in which she states mountains of misinformation and lies that were quickly and easily refuted by Chris Conrad and Russ Belville at NORML.
Dragonfly: Nowhere in my article do I claim that marijuana is more legal when it’s decriminalized. I said it is more legal now because it IS legal now. Marijuana has been legal in California since 1996.
NORML: Really, I’ll have to mention that to the 78,514 Californians arrested in 2008 for marijuana offenses. In fact, marijuana IS NOT legal in California and since 1996 a handful of Californians have only been exempted from criminal prosecution under Prop 215 (except, of course, Eugene Davidovich, Donna Lambert, James Stacy, Jovan Jackson, Felix Kha, and a whole bunch of other people who thought they were legal under Prop 215 yet still ended up in a courtroom and behind bars for a time). . . .
The LGBT and marijuana legalization movements have a great deal in common. Extremism, misinformation and bigotry have made it difficult for both drug users and homosexuals to be open and come out about their lifestyles. And to be frank, whether it’s marijuana or a penis, what right does the government have to tell me what I can’t put into my own body if I don’t harm anyone else?
Yesterday, SaveCalifornia debuted their anti legalization commercial on YouTube (with comments disabled of course) and new website, StopProp19.com. The new commercial has some frightening "facts" and black and white images aimed at making pot look almost as scary as a gay couple adopting a child.
This video is ripe with misinformation and exaggerations.
Marijuana use causes cancer
A NIDA funded study published in 2006 (the largest case control study ever done on this) looked at the association between marijuana use and cancer and "unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer." Dr. Donald Tashkin who headed up the study even used subjects who had smoked over 22,000 joints.
"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."
Now here’s the real kicker for you. In 2003 The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services was granted a patent on cannabinoids as… antioxidant and neuroprotectants. That’s right. The U.S. government in all its drug war glory has a patent on the active and inactive ingredients in marijuana as something that protects your brain (and other) cells!
Marijuana is the #1 cause of addiction for teens in rehab
First of all, isn’t that in itself a glaring testament to the failure of marijuana prohibition? This stuff has been illegal for almost a century and over $10 billion dollars is spent enforcing marijuana laws every year. If the current laws are so successful why do teens have such easy access to pot that it’s the #1 cause of addiction? Most importantly, that statement is a distortion because it doesn’t take into account how many of these kids are getting treatment not because they need it but because they are being coerced after getting arrested with a joint. If you had the choice between having a drug arrest on your record or saying you’re an addict and going to treatment – which would you choose?
Then there are the claims made about the actual initiative. That it will allow marijuana to be sold in grocery stores and that highway accidents will increase. If passed, Prop 19 wouldn’t allow pot to be sold in grocery stores – it would allow counties to decide if and how they will regulate the sale and taxation of marijuana (and most counties will do no such thing). Even if a county allowed grocery stores to sell it, Safeway isn’t going to risk going head to head with the feds so they can sell weed. Driving under the influence remains illegal under Prop 19 and there is a strong argument against pot related accidents increasing based on studies and data.
And will teen marijuana use go up? It’s possible. But Prop. 19 doesn’t legalize marijuana for teens. It legalizes if for adults over 21 and creates laws against the sale of cannabis to a minor by an adult similar to the way we regulate alcohol sales.
Now I’m not saying pot is good for anyone (the government can do that with their patent), but SaveCalifornia’s claims about marijuana legalization are as valid as their claims against same sex marriage.
And neither did the UK. But that’s not stopping those opposing California’s Proposition 19 from lying about it on television (either they’re lying or they know so little about drug policy, they actually believe it to be true).
First, Jane Hamsher went on CNN to discuss the campaign alongside No on Prop 19 spokesman, Tim Rosales. Rosales claims, "They’ve tried it in Mexico, uh, they’ve seen an explosion in drug violence…"
First of all, Mexico has never legalized marijuana. What they have done is decriminalize the personal possession of small amounts of all drugs. Decriminalization is not legalization. Furthermore, decriminalization was a response to the explosion of drug violence that was already occurring thanks to drug prohibition here in the U.S. and was intended to allow law enforcement to focus more on cartels than users. Rosales goes on to say that legalization would give cartels a platform to sell marijuana. Scott Morgan easily debunks that statement over at the Speakeasy blog.
Then there is the Bishop Ron Allen from Sacramento, California who SSDP’s Aaron Houston had the pleasure of debating. The Bishop has more difficulty keeping his composure and controlling the words that come out of his mouth than Rosales did. He claims that both Mexico and the UK have tried legalizing all drugs – something that would probably surprise the UK chapters of SSDP.
This is all pretty basic information. You don’t need to be a sociologist or policy wonk to find out whether or not entire countries like Mexico or the UK have legalized drugs. But I guess the requirements for managing an anti-legalization campaign or becoming a spokesperson against sensible drug policy reform are pretty low. You just have to be a good liar or a raving lunatic.
Stop lying about Prop 19 and marijuana legalization.