A Point By Point Response To The Objections To the Marijuana Initiative (Prop. 64)

Black Votes Count Too
Black Votes Count Too!

In the California official voter information guide the opponents of Prop. 64 list 5 objections to Prop 64. The following is an item by item response to those objections.

1. Objection: The AAA Foundation for Highway Safety reports that deaths in marijuana-related car crashes have doubled in Washington state since it approved legalization. Currently there is not yet any reliable science to determine how much marijuana in the blood is too much to drive safely.

1. Rebuttal: This is certainly a serious issue that must be addressed. However, according to an August 2014 article in the Washington Post, Since Colorado voters legalized pot in 2012, highway fatalities in Colorado are at near-historic lows. There has been no clear upswing from any cause, including marijuana use.

Secondly, a recent report from the US Department of Transportation cites two studies that suggested that marijuana use has minimal or no effect on the likelihood of a car crash. However the report also says various studies have produced different conclusion on this question.

This is certainly a serious issue, but the evidence is unclear at this point.

It is worth noting that, according to the California Legislative Analyst, Prop. 64 provides for the taxation of recreational marijuana and says that 20% of the tax revenues would be dedicated to programs to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs.

State and local governments currently tax medical marijuana. And, According to the San Jose Mercury News, they took in $58 million of these taxes in 2015. The Mercury News estimates that annual marijuana taxes would increase by $1 billion if Prop. 64 was approved. That could provide a lot of money for driver safety programs.

2. Objection: Allows marijuana growing near schools and parks. I assume the fear is that children are likely to get some of this marijuana.

2. Rebuttal: Prop. 64 requires that marijuana be grown out of public sight and in a locked place. That will keep most kids away from it. Also, the Prop. requires a whopping 60% of the new tax revenues be dedicated to youth programs including substance abuse disorder education prevention and treatment.

3. Objection: Opponents of Prop. 64 note that organized crime filings have “skyrocketed” in Colorado since marijuana legalization.

3. Rebuttal: According to the Denver Post, Denver city officials did a study of this problem. They found that marijuana-related crimes in Denver make up less than 1 percent of all offenses.

4 Objection: Prop. 64 will allow marijuana advertising on TV at times when children or teens are watching, and tempting them to try it.

4. Response: Then why do we not see ads for medical marijuana on TV? That product is legal now.

The American Bar Association Journal ( of the legal profession) notes that “Section 843 of the Controlled Substances Act (federal law) makes it a felony for a “communication facility” to transmit advertisements for Schedule 1 drugs, a classification that includes LSD, heroin and marijuana” If advertising becomes a problem in California our state could enact its own ban.

5. Objection: Opponents of Prop 64 say the Proposition abandons underprivileged neighborhoods “already reeling from alcohol and drug addiction”.

5. Response: A recent study done by the ACLU and Human Rights questions this claim.

The study found that roughly the same number of African Americans and Whites smoke small amounts of marijuana, but African Americans are arrested, AND PROSECUTED, far more often than Whites. Prop 64 would put an end to this discriminatory law enforcement practice.

That may be why the California NAACP supports proposition 64.

I think we all should support Proposition 64.

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