Originally Published: November 7, 2016 6 a.m.
Arizona has a significant decision to make with Proposition 205, the proposed legalization of “recreational” marijuana. I would like to address some reasons to vote “no” in dispute of columnist Toni Denis’ recent comments. Prop 205 is a poorly written initiative that would adversely harm the citizens of Arizona.
Denis’ recent column on Prop 205 talked about a man possessing marijuana while at his job delivering pizzas. I read another report about a pizza delivery man in Tampa being stopped for speeding and arrested for marijuana possession. Police found marijuana and a backpack in the back seat full of anti-anxiety pills. The man was out on bond for a drug possession arrest.
Both instances raise questions about drugs and the workplace as well as impaired driving. A question for Prop 205 voters: Do you want your pizza delivery guy, your school bus driver, your child’s teacher or your fellow employee carrying marijuana while at work? It also brings to light a fact that marijuana is often used in combination with alcohol, pills or other drugs.
Traffic deaths from marijuana impaired drivers have doubled in Washington State since legalization. On Page 13 of Prop 205 it states that individuals are exempt from penalty based solely on marijuana in their system.
This proposed change to Arizona law will produce significant hurdles for law enforcement officials in prosecuting marijuana impaired drivers.
With legalization, more youth use marijuana. More children will be able to get their hands on marijuana when you can buy it in anywhere or grow it in any home. This fact is evident by looking at the states that have already legalized marijuana. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, Colorado youth now use marijuana at the highest rates in the nation, 74 percent above the national average.
Marijuana edibles are marketed to look just like today’s most popular candies, cookies and drinks. Marijuana edibles have THC levels as high as 80 percent, hundreds of time stronger than the marijuana of the 1970s.
Marijuana legalization has had many negative impacts on Colorado as reported in the 180-page document prepared by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
CBS Denver reports that at one Colorado hospital nearly half of babies tested had marijuana in their system. (For me, one baby would be too much.)
Legalization and selling drugs is not an appropriate way to support education in Arizona.
The questions to ask is “Who stands to profit from the passage of Prop 205?” Think about it. It only follows that those who hope to make the most money are those who are financially backing Prop 205, which is about making marijuana into big money for a few at the cost of Arizona citizens and families.
The Arizona medical marijuana program will continue with or without Prop 205. Although not an FDA-approved drug, medical marijuana cardholders would still be able to legally buy or grow marijuana.
Legalization would increase use and addiction. It you want to talk about the cost and damage of drug use and addiction, talk to any mother or father who has a child using or addicted, or talk to a child who has an impaired or addicted parent. That is the real tragedy of drug use. I urge you to vote in favor of Arizona’s children and vote “no” on Prop 205.
Merilee Fowler, Executive Director of MATFORCE