First, the possession, cultivation and distribution of pot will still remain illegal according to federal law. If Proposition 19 passes, the vote of Californian voters will not change the federal government's refusal to legalize pot. Attorney General Eric Holder warned Californians that if Proposition 19 passes, the feds will continue to prosecute those who are caught in possession of illegal pot. If you proceed to grow your marijuana garden in a "legal" 5x5 parcel according to Proposition 19, you run the chance of getting busted by the feds.
According to the 1988 Drug Free Workplace Act, it "requires some Federal contractors and all Federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a Federal agency." Though the Drug Free Workplace Act does not require drug testing, there are notification requirements if an employee has been convicted of a criminal drug violation in the workplace.
For all those government jobs created by the Obama administration, pot smokers are to beware. An employer can take action against you if it determined that your work performance is being affected by your usage of pot.
In addition, since pot smokers are to smoke only in non-public places such as their personal residence in accordance with Prop 19, the federal ban on pot would not allow a user of marijuana to smoke a joint in Section 8 or any housing paid for by the U.S. government. If the possession and cultivation of pot is against federal law, how can a marijuana addict smoke weed on federal property?
If a pot smokers has a job that is a recipient of a federal grant, their use of pot could jeopardize the continuation of the grant since they are in violation of the 1988 federal law. Is the company you work for (receiving federal funding) going to allow you to endanger their continuation of receiving a grant or permit you to smoke pot on a smoke break somewhere on their premises? These issues are not addressed in Proposition 19 thus leaving a gaping hole on the federal vs. state's rights issue.
Second, in Proposition 19 the state of California is being given the option of legalizing a harmful hallucinogenic for the sake of bringing revenue into our lagging economy. Why stop at pot? Why not legalize prostitution and have the state regulate and tax any engagement a person may have with a hooker?
The legalization of pot in California will not decrease the number of pot users among youth, but because of its accessibility we can expect an increase in pot smoking. That increase will translate itself into more youth enrolled in rehab and treatment programs for marijuana addiction.
The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske states that the number of adolescents enrolled in marijuana rehabilitation program is higher than ever. "In California 47% of those undergoing drug treatment for marijuana in 2008 either voluntarily or after encounters with the criminal justice system, were under 18, compared to 28% for the country as a whole" (AP/KNX 1070).
Shame on us as Californians that we would legalize a harmful drug and make it easier for our youth to gain access to weed just so we can add more revenue to our bankrupt economy. Where are our morals and concern for future generations?
Third, the claim that legalizing pot will bring billions into the California budget is erroneous. The official title of Proposition 19 is "The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010. Consider the words: regulate, control and tax. It will cost money for local governments in cities where pot shops exist to license, regulate and impose taxes on these retail establishments. It will also cost the state of California to regulate cities were pot shops exist.
Proposition 19 encumbers local governments with the responsibility to control these licensed pot shops in regards to their sales, cultivation of pot, possession for sale and on premise consumption of marijuana (Article 5 Section 11301.h).
Local governments will also have to regulate location, hours of operation, occupancy, protection of nearby properties and persons from unwanted exposure to pot smoke, signs and advertising. All that revenue that allegedly will come from pot sales will be redirected to subsidize local governments so they can effectively control pot retail shops in accordance with Proposition 19. Follow the money.
Also, if the rate of pot usage among youth increases with the passage of Proposition 19 and violators of the law are court ordered to attend a drug rehab treatment program, where is the money going to come from to cover the increase of drug rehab patients? To be fair, the funds should come from the revenue that comes from the sale of pot.
What we have here by those who support Prop 19 is a failure to read the particulars of the bill. I suggest those who are considering a YES vote on this measure to carefully read Article 5, Section 11301 h-m.
Fourth, the passage of Proposition 19 will not only increase the number of pot smokers, but will add a new generation of drug dealers. According to the measure, individuals twenty-one years of age and older will be able to possess an ounce of pot. In addition, they will be permitted to cultivate marijuana on a 5 x 5 parcel of land, assuming their landlord or homeowner's association will be tolerant of pot cultivation.
If twenty-one year olds are permitted to possess and cultivate pot, the chances are very high that teens will attempt to purchase pot illegally through young adults. Most teens who smoke pot obtain their stash through friends, but where do their friends score their weed. According to my own observance and experience, college kids and older adults scout out one teen who serves as their conduit to sell pot to both middle school and high school students. In discussions with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department my observations are accurate.
If Prop 19 passes, an individual who grows pot can only possess one ounce out of his garden. He cannot sell or distribute the weed that comes from his garden lest he break both state and federal law.
For the argument's sake, let's say unless you have a 25 square foot plot of land to cultivate pot, where will you buy pot? Answer: you'll be forced to go to a retail pot shop and purchase taxed marijuana. Based on section 11301 of the measure, the overhead for operating a pot shop could be quite high. And who will pay for the overhead needed to run these shops? The consumer, of course. So pot smokers can expect to pay a high price for an ounce of premium grass.
With higher priced, premium pot, smokers may think twice about buying marijuana at the corner pot retail outlet. Rather, they may be tempted to score pot the old fashioned way through a pot dealer-twenty one years and older. who has home-grown cannabis for sale. Would a pothead really want to pay all that extra cash for retail pot when they can buy an ounce much cheaper from the dude down the street with a blooming garden of weed?
Are we that foolish to think pot smokers are going to buy taxed pot at a retail price?
Last, pot smoking on the job is going to cause havoc in the workplace. The proposition makes it clear that an employer can forbid his employees from indulging in weed if it impairs their performance on the job.
However, we are allowing that employer to make that subjective choice. What if the owner of a gas station has no problems if his mechanics smoke pot on the job? You take your car to that shop to have your brakes repaired, and Beavis is installing your brakes. You'd have to be a Butthead to do business at this establishment, wouldn't you?
As a consumer I would want to know if an auto repair establishment is drug free. What if a private bus company allows its employees to smoke dope on the job and you get on a bus with a stoner at the wheel who's flying high?
If pot becomes legal, we will enter into a legal nightmare of people suing companies for damages caused by "legally" stoned employees who work under impaired conditions. Section 11300 b.3 states no one will operate a vehicle under the influence of pot. However, pot smokers argue that they are not impaired by their usage of pot.
At a recent panel I asked college students the question, "How many of you would board a plane operated by a pilot who just smoked two joints?" The response was mixed, but most respondents felt uncomfortable having a stoned pilot operate delicate instruments in the cockpit and placing their lives into the hands of a pothead pilot.
There are many more objections I can raise, but these are some of my practical concerns I raise through my reading of the measure and from my personal interaction with potheads.
My advice is to vote a big NO on Proposition 19 on November 2. If marijuana is legalized here, we can expect more and more Beavis' and Buttheads pouring into the Golden State. Why not? Pot would be legal and they can smoke dope to their hearts content. God forbid.