Legalizing marijuana in California would be harmful, not beneficial

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a proponent of the legalization effort, should be reminded that his most important responsibility as an elected official is to protect the people from all enemies, foreign and domestic. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act is rumored to be bankrolled by billionaires who do not have California’s best interest in mind. New York billionaire Sean Parker has purportedly been recruited to augment money that will flow from George Soros and the Drug Policy Alliance. They didn’t earn billions because they are dumb, but apparently they think we are. Their stated benefits of legalization are frankly an affront to one’s intellect.

It is a lie to say this will protect children. Proponents of this act want to tax and regulate marijuana and teach our kids not to use it. Absurd! Expanding the availability and access will increase adolescent use as it has in Colorado and Washington. Ability for anyone to grow 6 plants in a home will endanger children living there and provide even easier access for kids and their friends, while serving as a magnet for home invasion robberies.

Adult use only is unattainable. Today’s highly potent pot can cause permanent physical changes in the brain, especially in those under 25 years old. Marijuana use peaks at age 18 and tapers off rather rapidly, so the focus from a marketing standpoint is on young people, just like Big Tobacco. Gov. Jerry Brown has stated, “…How many people can get stoned and still have a great state?” Actually it’s worse than just getting stoned. Diminished intellect, mental illness, worsening of psychotic breaks, depression, suicidal tendencies and addiction are life-long chronic conditions, while brain impairment leads to traffic deaths.

It is not possible to regulate. If the government was capable of, or cared about, regulation, surely they would have demonstrated it by now. California has a multitude of cultivation sites producing pot, then illegally selling to the rest of the U.S. market. In the meantime, the pot plantations are inflicting irreparable harm on our precious ecosystems.

The state will not reap exclusively positive economic changes. Nor will the black market go away: cartels don’t pay taxes so they have a price advantage. Many California communities already have bans or moratoriums on marijuana cultivation because they don’t want this junk in their communities.

The medical marijuana program will be retained. The existing program which allows anyone over 18, for any purported illness, to access all of the pot they want for personal consumption or to sell, doesn’t go away. We already have de facto legalization, producing more pot than Californians can consume. Obviously they are planning to sell more outside of California, which could trigger federal enforcement.

Marijuana is a dangerous drug, with proven ability to inflict irreparable harm on our natural resources and pose a public health and safety problem. Anyone who 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 for his or her personal campaign. Newsom states on one hand that he doesn’t want marijuana anywhere near his kids, but is part of the effort to make it available.

In the interest of public safety, environmental protection and the future for our children, defeating full legalization isn’t adequate. We need to roll back what exists and tell Newsom and his out-of-state billionaires to go packing.

Roger Morgan is the founder of Take Back America Campaign and has spent 20 years in drug prevention work.

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