Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession Ahead of Prop 19 Vote

Share:
marijuana2 As California debates as to whether to legalize marijuana, Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law SB 1449 that will now reduce possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction, with a maximum punishment of a $100 fine.

Even as a misdemeanor, possession of up to an ounce of pot was still punishable only by a $100 fine and no jail time. But offenders also faced arrest, a possible court appearance and a criminal record.

The Governor argued that this was not about supporting marijuana but rather about saving the state money, at a time when it was cutting back drastically on services.

“I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “The only difference is that because it is a misdemeanor, a criminal defendant is entitled to a jury trial and a defense attorney. In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket.”

The bill authored by Senator Mark Leno was supported by the Judicial Council of California and by the California District Attorneys Association.

“Marijuana possession has a unique status under current law, as it is the only misdemeanor that is not punishable by any jail time,” said Senator Leno.

“Serious unintended consequences have surfaced as a result of this mischaracterization,” the Senator wrote.  “As the number of misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests have surged in recent years, reaching 61,388 in 2008, the burden placed on the courts by these low-level offenses are just too much to bear at a time when resources are shrinking and caseloads are growing.  Defendants may demand an entire jury trial – including the costs of jury selection, defense, and court time – for a penalty of only $100.”

“Keeping this misclassification in the Penal Code lacks common sense, especially in light of the fact that minor marijuana offenses can be completely expunged from the criminal record just two years after conviction,” wrote Senator Leno.

“In light of this and the state’s current budget crisis, SB 1449 has the potential to save precious few resources by imposing the very same financial penalty, while keeping these low-level offenders out of court,” he continued.

“Though classified as a misdemeanor, conviction of marijuana possession subjects a defendant to no greater punishment than that associated with being found guilty of an infraction. SB 1499 will correct this anomalous and wasteful law.”

However, the state’s major law enforcement and police associations were strongly opposed to it.

Opponents said reducing possession to an infraction would discourage people cited for the offense from seeking state-funded drug treatment, as provided for drug offenders under a ballot measure passed in 2000.

I would point out, however, that most people caught in possession of marijuana are not in need of drug treatment and the state should save its resources for drugs like meth and cocaine.

“Californians increasingly recognize that the war on marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources,” said Dale Gieringer, director of the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and co-author of the state’s landmark medical marijuana law.

Authorities made more than 61,000 arrests for marijuana-related misdemeanors in 2008, the latest year for which data exists, California Department of Justice records show. Over the prior ten years, such arrests averaged about 48,000 until 2006, when the figure exceeded 50,000 for the first time.

While police groups opposed the change, many police officers have privately told me that, given the maximum fine for marijuana possession, the state lost money prosecuting such cases.

Given existing penalties for possession of marijuana, this seems a commonsense approach.  Now, possession of marijuana in quantities of less than an ounce is effectively decriminalized.  At $100, this is merely an opportunity cost associated with possession, and in reality, unless one is utterly foolish and smoking one’s pot in the park, one is probably never going to get caught with marijuana anyway.

While an ounce does not sound like a lot, an ounce of marijuana is a quantity high enough that only dealers would likely possess more than an ounce at any one point in time.

The real focus at this point turns to Proposition 19, which would take marijuana possession to the next step and legalize the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use, and of cultivating gardens up to 25 square feet.

Recent polls show a possibility that measure may pass.  As we noted last week, all major newspapers have opposed the measure, as has the Republican Party, and even the Democratic Party has taken a neutral position on the measure.

According to the AP yesterday, supporters of the measure have raised $2.4 million, with $1.5 million coming from Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur Richard Lee.  He argues that legalizing marijuana will boost the state’s economy and undermine violent Mexican drug cartels, which profit from the black market pot trade. 

On the other hand, opponents have only raised a little over $200,000, mostly from law enforcement, suggesting either that they do not believe that Prop 19 has a chance to pass or they otherwise do not see it as a priority.

Meanwhile, some retired law enforcement officers have argued that the passage of Proposition 19 will allow police to devote resources to other, more dangerous crimes. 

The Service Employees International Union has taken the stance that the law could help the state raise additional tax revenue to save threatened public programs.

However, the Legislative Analysts’ Office questions this.  “The federal government could prosecute individuals for activities that would be permitted under this measure,” the LAO wrote in their fiscal analysis of Prop 19.  “To the extent that the federal government continued to enforce its prohibitions on marijuana, it would have the effect of impeding the activities permitted by this measure under state law.”

“Thus, the revenue and expenditure impacts of this measure are subject to significant uncertainty,” they write.

Where most of the money could be saved would be in the reduction of state, correctional, court and law enforcement costs.

“The measure could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually. The county jail savings would be offset to the extent that jail beds no longer needed for marijuana offenders were used for other criminals who are now being released early because of a lack of jail space,” the LAO report reads.

The state district attorneys association and leaders from both parties worry that Prop 19 would lead to an increase in driving while under the influence of marijuana.

Also, the California Chamber of Commerce says the law would make it harder for employers to discipline workers who are high while on the job.

While these may seem to be unlikely occurrences, I think there is a legitimate concern that at this time the proposition is unlikely to generate tax revenue. However, along with the new framework for SB 1449, it ought to reduce greatly many law enforcement costs.

An analysis of 13 polls since May show that the average poll has Prop 19 narrowly ahead, 47.4 to 43.2 opposed, and a low number of undecideds at 9.4%.

On the other hand, a recent Reuters/ Ipsos poll has Prop 19 losing by ten points.

Nate Silver, who runs the FiveThirtyEight.com blog, and is a polling guru, finds evidence of a social phenomenon in the polling.  People are more likely to admit support for the initiative in automated polls than in live-operator polls.

Wrote Mr. Silver in July, “What if voters are more likely to admit their tolerance for marijuana to an automated script, which may create the feeling of greater anonymity? Marijuana usage remains fairly stigmatized in polite society in America, enough so that even liberal politicians like Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown and Barack Obama have refused to state their support for legalizing the drug. But, as most Americans between ages 20 and 55 have smoked marijuana, they may not consider it such a big deal in the privacy of their homes — or the privacy of the ballot booth.”

On the other hand he argued, “Perhaps this hypothesis is overstated, and drug use does not carry the same stigma in California that it does elsewhere in the country.”

Bottom line, Prop 19 is too close to call and I would not be comfortable projecting results until we see actual live vote totals.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Share:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts

35 thoughts on “Governor Signs Bill Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession Ahead of Prop 19 Vote”

  1. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “But, as most Americans between ages 20 and 55 have smoked marijuana, they may not consider it such a big deal in the privacy of their homes — or the privacy of the ballot booth.”

    Who says most Americans between ages 20 and 55 have smoked marijuana? Maybe in CA, but not necessarily elsewhere.

    On the other hand he argued, “Perhaps this hypothesis is overstated, and drug use does not carry the same stigma in California that it does elsewhere in the country.””

    CA is out of step with the rest of the ocuntry on a lot of issues…

  2. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Who says most Americans between ages 20 and 55 have smoked marijuana?”[/i]

    I don’t know where David got that number, but I suspect it is true. This data comes from the Office of National Drug Control ([url]http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/drugfact/marijuana/marijuana_ff.html#go10[/url]): [quote]According to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 102 million Americans aged 12 or older have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetimes, representing 41% of the U.S. population in that age group. [/quote] I would think a substantial majority of people 56-100 have not used marijuana, but I could find no such data. But if my guess is right and you exclude them from adults, it does not seem unlikely that David’s statement is right.

  3. Don Shor

    “…have smoked marijuana, they may not consider it such a big deal in the privacy of their homes — or the privacy of the ballot booth.”
    The odor might be a little conspicuous in the ballot booth.

  4. JayTee

    I don’t really see this as a big deal. People who smoke marijuana already know where to get it, and those that aren’t interested in smoking it in all probability aren’t going to suddenly start because it becomes legal. As far as CA being out of step with the rest of the country – who says we need to be in step with any other state? There’s no reason why we can’t march to the beat of our own drummer and if other states want to fall in line with us, great. If not, that’s cool too.

  5. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Bottom line, Prop 19 is too close to call and I would not be comfortable projecting results until we see actual live vote totals.”[/i]

    My guess it will lose by 15-20%. I think there are four major reasons it will lose this year:

    1. This is going to be a big year for conservatives to turn out and a poor turnout year otherwise. So the electorate will be unfavorable;

    2. Most propositions lose, in part because a segment of the voters tends to vote no on everything;

    3. People are generally afraid of change, even small changes, and legalizing pot seems like a big change to many people; and

    4. Because there is a legal conflict between this proposition and federal law, voters might feel like this initiative will be thrown out by the courts and is therefore costly and pointless.

    One more point: even though I suspect that a large percentage of adults who will vote next month have tried marijuana (myself included), most of that subset no longer use it (myself included) and as such don’t care all that much about this issue for themselves. However, they might have children or grandchildren or nieces or nephews who are say 12-24 and they fear that legalizing pot will make it more likely that their loved ones will try it or even become big users of marijuana [i]just because it is legal.[/i] My own view is that that view is stupid. Alcohol is perfectly legal. And I almost never have a drink. If heroin were legal, I would not shoot up. People who abuse drugs or otherwise make bad life decisions will do so whether those substances are legal or not. But not everyone thinks the way I do, and that other perspective on this will turn out and vote Prop 19 down.

  6. Don Shor

    “they might have children or grandchildren or nieces or nephews who are say 12-24 and they fear that legalizing pot will make it more likely that their loved ones will try it…”

    Or they might have children etc. and consider the legal consequences to those children that result from the current criminalization of marijuana to be undesirable. No young adult should ever face any legal consequences from private use of marijuana.

  7. indigorocks

    Perhaps your headlines should read:
    “Rich republican Pothead gives himself a tax cut and a bump”

    Your lack of coverage on the governor’s debate was dissappointing. I mean it’s clear you must be a republican at this point. First of all, you said something about no “knockouts”..WHAT?????
    Sorry but Jerry Brown kicked whitman’s ass. She was well rehearsed, rigid, cold and hard of hearing. The woman wants to get a bunch of nazi billionairs to come in and raid the state coffers.
    she’s corporate..she’s decided that it’s cheaper to just run for office to influence laws…

    bribing all those rich republicans must get expensive over time…why do you think arnold ran for office?
    8 years of bullshi. promises and still, we’re ridiculously in debt..he’s cut social services to the bone, raised taxes for the poor and middle class and skated on by with a nice tax cut for himself.

    WHEN WILL PPL GET IT..REPUBLICANS WILL DO NOTHING FOR YOU..THEY WILL TAKE TAKE TAKE, AND WON’T SPEND A DIME ON AMERICANS.
    THEY WILL OUTSOURCE YOUR JOBS, THEY WILL GIVE THEMSELVES A TAX CUT, THEY WILL FIRE YOU, AND TURN AROUND AND TELL YOU TO GET A JOB THAT WAS OUTSOURCED…THEN THEY’LL GIVE THEMSELVES A NICE LITTLE BAILOUT, AND TELL YOU TO FEND FOR YOURSELF.

  8. proudsocialist

    So effing what…arnold schwarzneggar likes to get stoned with his chronies…
    wether someone smokes weed not, this does not define their political ideology.
    there is only one difference between republicans and democrats.
    republicans want to give tax credits to their rich cronies. they want us to spend spend spend money on the war machines and cops to keep them safe in their homes.
    democrats believe in making everyone pay their fair share of taxes. they believe in a progressive tax system. if you have more money you pay more taxes, and that money goes into the system to pay for things like schools, cops, (health care in better countries, but obviously not here)..
    you know mail, roads..etc etc etc etc…

    this is the difference between repubs and dems.
    repubs claim that the free market will work itself out, then come running to the government for a bailout when it fails.
    then when they get their billion dollar bail out to pay for thier million dollar car, they tell the peasants to get a job that isn’t their.
    they tell the peasants to fend for themselves..
    they are lying stealing cheating theiveing hypocrits and they care about nothing but MONEY!!

  9. E Roberts Musser

    Rich Rifkin: “However, they might have children or grandchildren or nieces or nephews who are say 12-24 and they fear that legalizing pot will make it more likely that their loved ones will try it or even become big users of marijuana just because it is legal. My own view is that that view is stupid. Alcohol is perfectly legal. And I almost never have a drink. If heroin were legal, I would not shoot up. People who abuse drugs or otherwise make bad life decisions will do so whether those substances are legal or not. But not everyone thinks the way I do, and that other perspective on this will turn out and vote Prop 19 down.”

    Ergo everyone that doesn’t think like you is stupid?

    ERM: “Who says most Americans between ages 20 and 55 have smoked marijuana?”

    Rich Rifkin: “I don’t know where David got that number, but I suspect it is true.”

    Suspecting its true and knowing its true are two different things…

    Rick Rifkin: “My guess it will lose by 15-20%.”

    I hope you are right.

    Don Shor: “Or they might have children etc. and consider the legal consequences to those children that result from the current criminalization of marijuana to be undesirable.”

    Or they might have children etc. and consider the medical consequences to those children that may result from the legalization of marijuana to be undesirable. Especially in light of statistics that show marijuana is often a gateway to the use of much more harmful drugs like heroin, crack, etc.

    proudsocialist: “repubs claim that the free market will work itself out, then come running to the government for a bailout when it fails.
    then when they get their billion dollar bail out to pay for thier million dollar car, they tell the peasants to get a job that isn’t their.”

    Seems to me the Democrats gave plenty of bailout money to the banks, no? And spent tons of money promising to stop foreclosures, and didn’t. And gave out tons of stimulus money to create jobs, yet we lost 95,000 in the month of Sept. alone. At what point are you ever willing to hold Democrats accountable?

  10. Don Shor

    ERM: Or they might have children etc. and consider the medical consequences to those children that may result from the legalization of marijuana to be undesirable.

    I am more than happy to discuss the possible, very minor health consequences of occasional consumption of marijuana with them. Those consequences are significantly lower than any resulting from drinking or smoking, but they are real and should be the focus of education efforts by parents and educators.
    But nobody should suffer any legal consequences whatsoever for casual use of marijuana.

  11. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”Who says most Americans between ages 20 and 55 have smoked marijuana?” [/i]

    [b]I don’t know where David got that number, but I suspect it is true.[/b]

    [i]”That figure was contained in a quote from Nate Silver, it was not my claim.”[/i]

    Sorry for the error of my ways, David. I looked up Silver’s post ([url]http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/04/why-marijuana-legalization-is-gaining.html[/url]) (in the NY Times) and found this graph, which may help Elaine:

    [img]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_5ieXw28ZUpg/Sdk8KeG2xhI/AAAAAAAABDM/R6Cmq5YIYhU/s400/potuse.png[/img]

    Silver writes: “The key feature of this distribution is how rapidly lifetime usage rates decline after about age 55 or so. About half of 55-year-olds have used marijuana at some point in their lives, but only about 20 percent of 65-year-olds have.”

    He says the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use & Health ([url]http://oas.samhsa.gov/NSDUH/2k7NSDUH/tabs/Sect1peTabs1to46.htm#Tab1.32A[/url]) is where he got the data for that graph.

  12. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”But nobody should suffer any legal consequences whatsoever for casual use of marijuana.”[/i]

    As of a few days ago, marijuana possession up to one ounce is “an infraction, on par with traffic and littering tickets.” ([url]http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-10-02/news/24108322_1_marijuana-initiative-pot-possession-sb1449[/url]) [quote]The law, which takes effect immediately, reduces possession of up to an ounce of marijuana – enough for about 30 joints – from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Already, marijuana possession was the only misdemeanor under California law that didn’t allow for jail time. [/quote]

  13. E Roberts Musser

    ERM: “Ergo everyone that doesn’t think like you is stupid?”

    Rich Rifkin: “Air go.”

    Hot air go!

    dgm: “Rich and Elaine: I’m surprised at both of you. That figure was contained in a quote from Nate Silver, it was not my claim.”

    What, I can’t argue Nate Silver’s claim in your blog? Haven’t you ever heard the expression that goes something like this “Their are lies, damn lies, then there are statistics!” I don’t believe most of what I read, bc almost everything these days is so agenda driven. And as I think back on my history courses, I realize how sanitized they have been – almost a re-writing of history so that it little resembles reality. Furthermore, it depends on how questioned are asked in statistics samplings, how the sampling was taken, etc. It is much like taking a survey about who has had sex when. Are you entirely sure the survey takers will tell the truth? And how is the question phrased?

    Just as an example, when I entered college, we were given a survey to fill out that asked a lot of very personal questions I considered extremely intrusive. I went up to the proctor to complain, and he told me I could not register for classes unless I filled out the survey. So what I did is fill in EVERY SINGLE ANSWER, a, b, c and d for every question. It was none of their business the questions they were asking. So how did the machine score my survey? Did it get thrown out, or was each answer recorded? Get my point?

    Don Shor: “But nobody should suffer any legal consequences whatsoever for casual use of marijuana.”

    Tell that to the shop owner whose store front was rammed by George Michael’s car, while Michael was under the influency of cannibas and prescription drugs (cannibas having a multiplier effect) – the judge in the case indicated Michael’s problem was a severe addiction to cannibas. I would rather stop cannibas use before it results in someone getting hurt or killed. Legalizing it is just encouraging its use.

    Just to put this more in perspective, I had a nephew who killed himself in a car accident while driving while intoxicated. His father was feeding this kid tastes of beer at the tender age of five years old. The dad was a heavy drinker. Kids follow what their parents do. IMHO, and you are certainly free to disagree, when kids see parents smoking pot, they are going to follow suit. And they are not going to hesitate getting into a car under the influence of pot, just as they don’t hesitate to get into the car under the influence of alchohol. I miss my nephew – he died in his late teens. And I curse his father every day for having handed this kid beer at such an early age, and setting such a bad example. We all have our life experiences that color our thinking – this is mine.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”I would rather stop cannibas use before it results in someone getting hurt or killed.”[/i]

    Clearly outlawing marijuana has not stopped its use.

    [i]”Legalizing it is just encouraging its use.”[/i]

    So what you are saying is that if Prop 19 passes, you are personally going to be encouraged to try it like this guy:

    [img]http://punditkitchen.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/political-pictures-arnold-schwarzenegger-pot-governing.jpg[/img]

  15. E Roberts Musser

    Rich Rifkin: “So what you are saying is that if Prop 19 passes, you are personally going to be encouraged to try it like this guy…”

    I will not be encouraged to try it, but many kids will as they see their parents inhaling at home, just as my nephew followed the example of his father and ended up wrapping his car and himself around a tree, ending his young life.

  16. Don Shor

    Your nephew died from drunk driving. That is very sad, and I believe it should be illegal to drive drunk and to provide alcohol to children.
    George Michael abused prescription drugs with marijuana and then crashed his car. I believe it should be illegal to do that, too.
    How do either of those instances pertain to decriminalization of marijuana? Criminalizing marijuana use doesn’t stop it. It certainly doesn’t make it inaccessible to youngsters. Any teenager will tell you he or she has much readier access to marijuana than to alcohol or cigarettes.
    Criminalizing it has failed completely. Marijuana should be handled exactly as alcohol and tobacco are. Personal, private use should have no sanctions of any kind, not even a citation. Unless, of course, possession of a six-pack or a pack of cigarettes will also lead to a citation. I suppose the state could use the revenues.

  17. Steve Hayes

    I am having difficulty understanding why:sad:1) marijuana smoke is considered politically correct (and therefore good);(2) second-hand marijuana smoke is considered politically correct(and therefore good);(3) tobacco smoke is considered politically incorrect(and therefore bad); and finally,(4) second-hand tobacco smoke is also considered politically incorrect(and therefore bad).

    I guess I will finally begin to understand the dynamics (hypocricy) of these competing causes when I see the first “bleeding heart” ad about the adverse impacts of second hand marijuana smoke on some poor, unfortunate child.

  18. E Roberts Musser

    To Don Shor: I believe legalizing marijuana will ENCOURAGE kids to try marijuana – “after all, it is legal for adults, looks cool to do, so why not?” will be their argument. If mom and dad can now legally smoke marijuana at home, “why hide it from the kids, it is perfectly legal for adults to smoke pot, so why not?” will be their argument. Then kids are more likely to copy their parents and smoke pot, especially because it is readily available in the house of pot smoking parents who do not “lock their pot up for safekeeping out of the reach of their children”. I personally do not want to ENCOURAGE pot smoking, because I think in the long run it will be detrimental to the health and well being of society. I don’t think stoned citizens will be productive, safe or desirable. And I suspect this is where you and I have a philosophical difference, and will have to agree to disagree 🙂

  19. E Roberts Musser

    Don Shor: “Your nephew died from drunk driving. That is very sad, and I believe it should be illegal to drive drunk and to provide alcohol to children.”

    My fear is legalizing pot will encourage parents to provide pot to their children, just as some stupid parents provide alcohol to five year olds.

  20. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”… my nephew followed the example of his father …”[/i]

    Alcoholism runs in families. It’s likely a bad gene ([url]http://www.learn-about-alcoholism.com/genetics-and-alcoholism.html[/url]). I’m lucky that disease does not run in my family*.

    *Ashkenazi Jews tend to have a lower alcoholism rate than other white ethnicities. That’s likely due to genetics, though culture probably plays a part. Alas, we tend to have higher rates of many other diseases, including depression disorders.

  21. Alphonso

    I am having difficulty understanding why:sad:1) marijuana smoke is considered politically correct (and therefore good);(2) second-hand marijuana smoke is considered politically correct(and therefore good);(3) tobacco smoke is considered politically incorrect(and therefore bad); and finally,(4) second-hand tobacco smoke is also considered politically incorrect(and therefore bad).

    Inhaling smoke in any form can not be good for the lungs. However, tobacco smoke does cause chromosomes to change and that leads to cancer. Marijuana smoke does not cause cancer.

  22. Steve Hayes

    Alphonso-Marijuana smoke does not cause cancer.

    Even the dated Wikipedia entry (below) is not clear about that. I wouldn’t risk it, and certainly wouldn’t expose any children to the effects of second hand marijuana smoke.

    Main article: Effects of cannabis[edit] Smoking lung cancer risk
    Main article: Effects of cannabis: Cancer risk

    A major 2006 study compared the effects of tobacco and Cannabis smoke on the lungs.[19][20] The outcome of the study showed that even very heavy cannabis smokers “do not appear to be at increased risk of developing lung cancer,”[20] while the same study showed a twenty-fold increase in lung cancer risk for tobacco smokers who smoked two or more packs of tobacco cigarettes a day.[19][20] It is known that Cannabis smoke, like all smoke, contains carcinogens and thus has a probability of triggering lung cancer, but THC, unlike nicotine, is thought to “encourage aging cells to die earlier and therefore be less likely to undergo cancerous transformation.”[20] Cannabidiol (CBD), an isomer of THC and another major cannabinoid that also grows on cannabis, has been reported elsewhere to have anti-tumor properties as well. However, in other studies, some cellular abnormalities were documented, indicating that a possible increase in lung cancer risk in very heavy users cannot be completely ruled out.[21]

  23. Rich Rifkin

    [i]” I wouldn’t risk it, and certainly wouldn’t expose any children to the effects of second hand marijuana smoke.”[/i]

    Any adult who would smoke marijuana in front of a child likely has far more pressing issues of stupidity than worries about the health consequences of second-hand smoke. Whether the drug is made legal or remains an infraction, you can’t make laws which outlaw stupidity.

  24. E Roberts Musser

    Rich Rifkin: “Alcoholism runs in families. It’s likely a bad gene. I’m lucky that disease does not run in my family*.”

    My nephew was adopted. He followed the example of his adoptive father, who was and is a heavy drinker. Kids follow by example. If it looks like an adult thing to do, children will imitate it. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alchol, having indiscriminate sex. Legalize marijuana, and kids who might not otherwise dabble in pot will imitate parents who smoke cannibas in the home. The next thing you know the kid will have wrapped himself/herself in a car around some telephone pole. You will never convince me that legalizing marijuana is a good thing.

    And just to add some more context to my nephew’s tragedy, he had a car accident prior to the one that killed him. And he was DUI in that wreck as well, but tragically did not learn from his mistake. Kids unfortunately tend to think they are invincible, do things to excess, and copy just about everything they’re parents do…

    Alphonso: “Inhaling smoke in any form can not be good for the lungs. However, tobacco smoke does cause chromosomes to change and that leads to cancer. Marijuana smoke does not cause cancer.”

    At one time cigarette smoking was assumed to be “safe”. You don’t know that smoking marijuana doesn’t cause cancer. You only hope it doesn’t. Any type of drug, including something as benign as aspirin can have toxic effects long term or depending on the individual ingesting it. What is the natural reaction of someone who has to inhale smoke? Coughing, bc it is the body’s natural reaction to keep such pollution out of the lungs.j

    Rich Rifkin: “Any adult who would smoke marijuana in front of a child likely has far more pressing issues of stupidity than worries about the health consequences of second-hand smoke. Whether the drug is made legal or remains an infraction, you can’t make laws which outlaw stupidity.”

    But you don’t have to encourage parental stupidity by making it legal for parents to smoke at home where it will bound to be in front of their children.

  25. Alphonso

    You don’t know that smoking marijuana doesn’t cause cancer. You only hope it doesn’t.

    Why would I “hope” one way or the other? I have no stake in the use of marijuana – I drink red wine periodically and eat Good and Plenty (actually my wife told me I should cut G&P out of the diet-no more sugar).

    I simply consider it is rather stupid to maintain laws that so many people ignore/flaunt. I read that somewhere close to on million Americans are criminally charged for marijuana use each year (entire country). That is a huge waste of resources – Police, Courts and Jails. There is no compeling evidence (Real Evidence) that marijuana use is generally detrimental. Sure there is some abuse but the vast majorityof people do not abuse mariiuana use. So you have to weigh the cost of a minimal amount of future abuse against the cost of prosecuting a million people per year. We have more important things to spend our money on. Looking back, Prohibition was a dumb idea – all it did was to encourage mob crime and I imagine in 75 years people will feel the same way about our current marijuana laws.

  26. David M. Greenwald

    Steve Hayes: One big thing you are missing is quantity. The reason that cigarette smoke is so dangerous is the quantity people inhale. People are simply not going to smoke the equivalent of one to three packs a day of marijuana. But, within the proposition are provisions that would prevent people from smoking in public, and doing the kinds of things that cause cigarette smoke to be a nuisance. In my opinion, behind closed doors people can do what they want. If they get behind a wheel, then prosecute them like you would someone drinking alcohol.

  27. Steve Hayes

    David M. Greenwald “….In my opinion, behind closed doors people can do what they want.”….

    When users light marijuana up… “behind closed doors”…, they expose those around them to second hand smoke.

    Children involuntarily exposed to this addictive drug apparently have no say in this issue. It is clear that no one smokes marijuana in a vacuum, and this issue is a big loser for anyone who cares for children and is a responsible parent.

  28. E Roberts Musser

    Steve Hayes: “Children involuntarily exposed to this addictive drug apparently have no say in this issue. It is clear that no one smokes marijuana in a vacuum, and this issue is a big loser for anyone who cares for children and is a responsible parent.”

    AMEN!

    dmg: “People are simply not going to smoke the equivalent of one to three packs a day of marijuana.”

    First, how do you know that? Second, pot has a multiplier effect when taken with prescription or other drugs with unknown consequences. Look at George Michael who drove his car through the front window of a store bc of a cannibas addiction (judge said it) combined with prescription drugs. I’d say that could be a pretty lethal combination. The only ones who get caught for a DUI while smoking pot are those that have an accident and/or death. Why would we want to encourage that? And behind closed doors parents smoke, and kids watch and will imitate. And will have access to pot more readily from mom and dad.

    Alphonso: “I simply consider it is rather stupid to maintain laws that so many people ignore/flaunt. I read that somewhere close to on million Americans are criminally charged for marijuana use each year (entire country). That is a huge waste of resources – Police, Courts and Jails.”

    This is a bogus argument, since now you can only be fined $100 for possession of an ounce or less of pot, right?

  29. Superfluous Man

    ERM,

    “If mom and dad can now legally smoke marijuana at home, ‘why hide it from the kids, it is perfectly legal for adults to smoke pot, so why not?’ will be their argument.”

    You assume that parents will openly smoke marijuana in front of their children and I’m sure some will/presently do because they are sh**y parents. Irresponsible parents are just that, I don’t think the law is going to morph responsible parents into terrible ones who smoke marijuana in front of their children, by and large.

    You fail to consider that there are alternative ways of ingesting the substance, which are more clandestine (if the parent(s) wish to “hide” their use, just as some do with other bad example-setting habits). In so doing, the “my parents smoke MJ, therefore I too will…” argument is irrelevant and the children are not exposed to the substance, at least in that form.

    One more thing, and I don’t know if this has been addressed, but what of the parents who do smoke marijuana in front of their children? Surely the possibility of the drug getting into the child’s system is possible if the air they breathe contains THC, right? What have the proponents said about this?

  30. Superfluous Man

    ALphonso,

    “Marijuana smoke does not cause cancer.”

    To the best of my knowledge, marijuana use has not resulted in cancer to wny , bu it does have cancer causing properties…

  31. Superfluous Man

    Alphonso,

    sorry, my computer wigged out. what I meant to write was this:

    To the best of my knowledge, marijuana use alone has not resulted in cancer, but it does have cancer causing properties…

  32. E Roberts Musser

    To SM: Kids copy what their parents do (it looks cool), no matter how much parents try to hide it.

    I have a funny story on that issue, sort of off point but illustrates what I am talking about. A friend of mine had two very smart little boys – toddlers. My friend thought she had “babyproofed” the house, particularly the kitchen cabinets. She kept the children’s vitamins in a kitchen cabinet over the refrigerator behind a “child proof” lock. When she would get vitamins for the children, she supposedly did it “out of sight” of the children.

    One day my friend got the flu. Her husband had to be at work. So my friend pretty much stayed in bed, getting the boys their breakfast, then returning to her bedroom. Things got a little too quiet at some point, so she went to check on the boys. She caught them ingesting the children’s vitamins like candy. They had climbed onto the counter, onto the top of the fridge, opened the “child proof” lock, and were having a wonderful time eating what they thought was “candy”. Both had to be rushed to the hospital and have their stomach’s pumped.

    Anyone who has kids knows that they will copy what their parents do…

  33. E Roberts Musser

    SM: “One more thing, and I don’t know if this has been addressed, but what of the parents who do smoke marijuana in front of their children? Surely the possibility of the drug getting into the child’s system is possible if the air they breathe contains THC, right? What have the proponents said about this?”

    Proponents claim smoking marijuana is harmless, ergo second hand smoke from smoking marijuana is harmless, ergo there is no reason not to legalize marijuana…

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for