by Roger Morgan, Take Back America Campaign, published in the Contra Costa Times
In 1996, California voters were hoodwinked into approving Prop 215, the Compassionate Use Act, by a propaganda campaign financed by three out-of-state billionaires with George Soros at the helm. Since Peter Lewis and John Sperling, the other two billionaires are deceased, New York billionaire Sean Parker has been recruited to fill the void. Parker didn’t make over $2 billion because he is dumb, but apparently he thinks we are.
Their stated benefits of legalization are frankly an affront to one’s intellect.
Protection For Our Kids – They want to tax and regulate marijuana so we have money to teach our kids not to use it. Brilliant! Expanding the availability and access will increase adolescent use and if they care about education, they could tap the $58 to $103 million they currently collect taxing marijuana.
Adult Use Only – Today’s highly potent pot can cause permanent physical and chemical changes in the brains of anyone under 25 years old. Marijuana use peaks at age 20 and tapers off rather rapidly after age 25, so the focus from a marketing standpoint is on young people, just like Big Tobacco. Governor Brown has stated, “…How many people can be stoned and still enable us to have a great state and nation?” Actually it’s worse than just getting stoned. Diminished intellect, mental illness, psychotic breaks, depression, suicidal tendencies and addiction are life-long chronic conditions. You can’t just sleep it off.
Better Regulations – If Gavin Newsom was capable of, or cared about, regulation, God knows he hasn’t demonstrated it. California has over 50,000 mostly illegal cultivation sites producing pot under the guise of medicine, then illegally selling to 60% of the US market. In the meantime, the pot plantations are annihilating our natural resources and inflicting irreparable harm on our precious ecosystems. He should be in high gear fixing what is already broken.
Economic Benefits – A study called Shoveling Up, by CASA at Columbia University (www.casacolumbia.org) showed that in 2005 19.5% ($19.9 billion) of the California budget was consumed by substance abuse; less than 1% on prevention and the balance shoveling up the damage and treating the wounded. This is horrible economic policy and an assault on all taxpayers. The social costs of marijuana, like alcohol and tobacco, are 10 times greater than tax revenues. Expanding the use of marijuana for the sake of the 8% who want to get high, or make money on those who do, will cost the other 92% more. Nor will the black markets won’t go away. The experiment in Colorado proved that with 40% of sales.
Local Government Control – Over 83% of California communities currently have bans or moratoriums on marijuana because they don’t want this junk in their communities. Under the Newsom initiative they would lose that control unless the people, through a ballot initiative, decide they don’t want it. How’s that for “slipping it to
“Medical Marijuana” – The existing program which allows anyone for any purported illness to access all of the pot they want doesn’t go away. We already have de facto legalization and are producing more pot than Californians can consume, so why do we need full legalization? In the interest of public safety and environmental protection, we need to roll back what exists.
Marijuana is a dangerous drug, with proven ability to destroy the brains of our youth and inflict irreparable harm on our natural resources. Anyone that aspires to be Governor of this fine state needs to demonstrate that protecting people, the planet and our tax dollars are of higher priority than pandering for drug money that flows from and through out-of-state billionaires. Further, since marijuana is a Schedule I drug and illegal by federal law, Newsom needs to renew his vows as an American.
Voters need to get it right this time. We don’t need more marijuana, we need less. And we don’t need out of state billionaires with maligned motives shaping our policies. That is what started the mess we have now.
ROGER MORGAN Chairman/Founder, Take Back America Campaign,