Column: Why you should vote ‘no’ on Prop 205
Prop 205 is 20 pages of new laws that will negatively affect our lives for years to come. It is written and funded by an out-of-state lobby and in-state marijuana business insiders. I urge you to vote no.
Prop 205 will protect marijuana users in child custody decisions, rental property use, in the workplace, in your neighborhoods and in DUI prosecutions. Growing marijuana trees in a backyard right next door to you will be legal. Neither cities nor homeowner associations will be able to ban home pot farms.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. Two thirds of their cities and towns have since banned pot shops. In Arizona, almost no community will have that right. Why? The marijuana insiders took away local control because it will hurt their profits. A handful of marijuana insiders will get very, very wealthy while the rest of us pay the price.
Colorado now boasts the highest marijuana youth use rate in the nation, 74% higher than the national average, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Harry D. Bull Jr., superintendent of the Cherry Creek school district near Denver, recently said: “The only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.”
Marijuana-related traffic fatalities rose 62% after legalization in Colorado. In Washington, they doubled. Oregon highway patrol reported a 163% increase in pot DUI arrests in the first six months of legalization.
If voters approve Proposition 205, marijuana-infused gummy bears will be legal. They look and smell no different from the gummy bears sold in Arizona stores now. Last year in Colorado, nearly half of all marijuana consumed was in the form of candies, chocolate bars, sodas, and ice-cream. According to Colorado’s marijuana website, the average potency of their edibles is now 62% THC. This is NOT the pot of the ‘60s (less than 1% THC).
Accidental exposures, hospitalizations and emergency room visits in Colorado related to marijuana are rising. Nearly half of newborns drug-tested in one month were positive for THC in one Colorado hospital. Drug-related school suspensions have skyrocketed. Drug cartels are flourishing and police are spending more time on enforcement, not the reduction promised by pot advocates.
Prop 205 bans setting any legal limit for impaired driving. While stating it is illegal to drive under the influence of pot, the authors took away an important tool to successfully prosecute these cases.
Let me be clear – our prisons are not full of pot users. That is a myth perpetuated by the backers of Prop 205. For the last 20 years, Arizona law prohibits sending a person to prison for pot use/possession until a third conviction.
For more information, visit our website at www.NoProp205.com.
Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney and Chair of the Vote No on Prop 205 campaign.