California Drug Prevention Groups Put Marijuana Reform Initiative on 2016 Ballot
On November 25 the California Attorney General’s Office approved for circulation a ballot initiative submitted as The Safe and Drug-Free Community Act, now called MEDICAL MARIJUANA. INITIATIVE STATUTE. The initiative was submitted by Roger Morgan, Founding Chairman of the Take Back America Campaign and is co-sponsored by Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM) and The International Faith Based Coalition (IFBC).
The essence of the initiative continues making marijuana available to the few for whom the benefits may outweigh the harms, but ban privately owned grow sites in favor of one site owned or sanctioned by the government. By doing so, the potency, compounds, dosage and packaging can be more safely managed. It also looks to curb abuses under the current program while improving public safety and reducing teen drug abuse.
Proponents say the initiative seeks to address the many abuses caused by Proposition 215 in California, which started in 1996 as a means of providing marijuana to a few who were suffering from chronic illnesses. “California’s medical marijuana program morphed into a free-for-all and spawned 50,000 cultivation sites in California, most of them illegal. Cartels have invaded our precious National Forests, but all of the grow sites on public or private land are inflicting irreparable environmental damage.” explains drug prevention leader, Roger Morgan.
“Today, California is supplying 60% of the recreational marijuana in the United States. Thousands of dispensaries in California sell marijuana to anyone 18 years or older for any purported illness. These actions are well outside the intent of Prop 215. They violate federal law and are contrary to public health and safety for Californians and the nation,” Morgan further explains.
Teen use is rising in the state which is a cause of concern for long-time drug prevention activists. Researchers are finding that high-potency marijuana can cause permanent brain damage and loss of IQ to anyone under the age of 25. Marijuana concentrates (THC content can go as high as 90%) often lauded as “medicine” and sold in the form of cookies, candies or used in vape pens are becoming commonplace in California youth culture.
Scott Chipman, Co-Founder of CALM, says, “…The adverse impacts on young people, our communities and our natural resources have been enormous, as well as the social and economic impact on local communities. Over 83% of communities in California have a ban or moratorium on dispensaries or cultivation, so we know most people don’t want more marijuana.”
Bishop Dr. Ron Allen of IFBC adds, “…If we continue to allow marijuana to adversely affect the brains of our youth, they have no future, nor do we as a nation. We are already 24th (last) in the industrialized world academically. The school dropout rate is a significant problem in minority communities, which in turn leads to more poverty, crime and welfare. Marijuana’s contribution to crime is evident when 59% of all those arrested in Sacramento test positive just for marijuana; 83% for any drug. We don’t need more marijuana. We need less.”
Traffic safety is another goal of the MEDICAL MARIJUANA. INITIATIVE STATUTE. “Of great importance…” says Dr. Phillip Drum, whose sister was killed by a pot-impaired driver in Seattle, “…the bill also adds clarity to what constitutes impairment related to traffic accidents and deaths. Since 2004, when marijuana was made available for any illness, traffic deaths owing to marijuana impairment have doubled. Nationally, 12.6% (one in eight) of all drivers are impaired by marijuana to some degree, so the streets aren’t safe. For that matter, stoned drivers are even killing people on sidewalks.”
An advocate of education to prevent early drug use, Morgan says, “We believe if people understand the harms of today’s pot far fewer will use it, allow their kids to use it, or vote for anyone or anything that would expand the use.”
Citizens can follow the campaign on Facebook.
The summary of the Safe and Drug-Free Community Act initiative appears below:
MEDICAL MARIJUANA. INITIATIVE STATUTE. 15-0069 Bans all privately owned medical marijuana cultivation sites and dispensaries. Creates state-owned/operated dispensaries, and a single state-owned/operated site for medical marijuana cultivation, testing, and processing. Allows local governments to ban or restrict the number and location of state-owned dispensaries. Establishes packaging, lab testing, and potency standards for medical marijuana. Sets minimum age for medical marijuana use, at 21. Requires adoption of strict standards to govern physician medical marijuana recommendations for their patients. Specifies marijuana blood-content levels that establish driving under the influence. Retains current prohibition on recreational use of marijuana. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Unknown change in state and local revenues related to sales of medical marijuana depending on how the measure is implemented by the state. Increased state costs of millions to tens of millions of dollars annually to implement a program to educate K-12 students and their teachers and parents regarding marijuana use. (15-0069.)