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Why you should vote “no” on Prop 19

POSTED October 15, 2010 9:01 p.m.
On Nov. 2, voters have an important decision to make on whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Backers would have you believe that legalization would do everything from shutting down cartels to reducing the prison population.
Legalization advocates have three basic arguments in support of Prop 19.
 
1. Marijuana legalization will stop the bloodshed in Mexico by successfully disbanding cartels, which derive 60 percent of their income from the sale of marijuana.
 
In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times Mexico President Felipe Calderon stated “Making pot legal undermines Mexican efforts against drug cartels.” According to Calderon, marijuana is only a “small portion” of their fortune. The truth is marijuana is merely a small percentage of cartels’ illegal money making empire. How small you might ask? According to a brand new report out from RAND, marijuana represents 15-26 percent of a cartels fortune, if Prop 19 passes, it would only reduce their proceeds by 2-4 percent.
 
Cartels traffic in cocaine, heroin, meth, humans, pirated goods, guns and more. What proponents won’t tell you about Prop 19 is that it allows for the importation of marijuana from Mexico. Thereby fueling turf wars, and there is another very important factor to consider: A permissive society allows for criminal enterprises to flourish. Marijuana legalization will attract organized crime syndicates wanting to capitalize on the huge amount of money to be made. According to the Northern California HIDTA
, “The Mexican Cartels are well organized, violent and already here in California.” Prop 19 could create turf wars similar to Mexico’s right here in California.
 
2. Our prisons are filled with marijuana smokers and by legalizing the drug it would save tax payers millions of dollars and free up valuable police services to go after “real criminals.”
 
Marijuana was decriminalized 34 years ago. Marijuana users are typically fined $100 and never step foot in a courtroom, much less a jail or prison.
 
On Sept. 30 the Governor signed SB-1449 into law. It reduces possession of less than an ounce from a misdemeanor to an infraction with a $100 fine, which is simply a technicality because it was already treated as an infraction with the same dollar amount attached before SB 1449 was signed into law.
 
The drug legalization group NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) was quoted in a recent article by Josh Richman of the Oakland Tribune as saying that there were 17,008 felony marijuana arrests in 2009, however according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation data there were 1,639 inmates at the end of 2009, equaling 0.9 percent of the total inmate population. What this proves is that our jails are not filled with marijuana smokers and what voters need to understand is that you can’t trust the information provided by legalization advocates. Their information doesn’t hold up under a microscope.
 
 
3. If we legalize marijuana we can generate $1.4 billion in taxes to help our cash strapped state.
 
If Prop 19 passes anyone over 21 can grow their own marijuana in a 25 square foot area which would make it impossible to regulate or tax. Backyard grows would be impossible to control. Have you ever heard of a dealer keeping records on customers or paying taxes on the money he makes? In order to generate taxes, back yard growers would have to sell it. If the marijuana is sold, it defeats the purpose of Prop 19 as it clearly states it is for personal “use” not “sales.”
 
In July another report issued by the respected RAND Corporation estimates that by legalizing marijuana the price will drop 80 percent, further eroding any chance of collecting $1.4 billion in taxes. This same study also estimated that the number of new users will increase by 50 percent. Even the California State Board of Equalization legalization estimates an increase in new users at 30 percent.
 
Prop 19 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for anyone over 21. If it’s legalized, it will create a black market targeting everyone under the age of 21. It won’t take long to saturate the California adult market and soon after we will see an all-out effort to target children. We will see unscrupulous advertising gimmicks that will outshine the tobacco industry’s heyday. Remember Joe Camel? New technology and media outlets will make it easier than ever.
Please join us in voting no on Prop 19.
— Linda Taylor

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