Critics of Prop. 19 on Marijuana Rely on Fear, Not Facts

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office’s recently published critique of Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, provides needed clarity to the ongoing debate regarding marijuana policy and offers a swift rebuttal to the doomsday scenarios touted by many of the measure’s opponents.

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the immediate effect of the measure would be to allow adults age 21 and older to possess and grow limited amounts of marijuana in the privacy of their own home. The agency estimates that halting the prosecution of these minor marijuana offenses would save state and local governments “several tens of millions of dollars annually,” and enable law enforcement to reprioritize resources toward other criminal activities.

The longer-term impact of Proposition 19 would be to enable “local governments to adopt ordinances and regulations regarding commercial marijuana-related activities.” These activities would include taxing and licensing establishments to produce and dispense marijuana to persons 21 and older. By doing so, “state and local governments could eventually collect hundreds of millions of dollars annually in additional revenues,” the office estimates.

Predictably, critics of Proposition 19 have tried to paint a much more foreboding picture. For example, California senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein claims that the measure is “a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe.”

Not so, says the Legislative Analyst’s Office, which calls Feinstein’s fears about pending workplace and roadway calamities unfounded. States the office: “(T)he measure would not change existing laws that prohibit driving under the influence of drugs or that prohibit possessing marijuana on the grounds of elementary, middle, and high schools. “… (E)mployers would retain existing rights to address consumption of marijuana that impairs an employee’s job performance.”

Opponents’ other claims — that Proposition 19 will dramatically increase consumption and cost the state millions in health and social costs — ring equally hollow.

Right now virtually anyone in California who wishes to obtain or consume marijuana can do so, and it is hard to believe that adults who presently abstain from cannabis would no longer do so simply because certain restrictions on its use were lifted.

Finally, unlike alcohol and tobacco — two legal but deadly products — marijuana’s estimated social costs are minimal.

According to a 2009 report by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers than they are for those who use cannabis and are more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers. It states, “In terms of (health-related) costs per user: tobacco-related health costs are over $800 per user, alcohol-related health costs are much lower at $165 per user, and cannabis-related health costs are the lowest at $20 per user.”

A previous analysis commissioned by the World Health Organization agreed, stating, “On existing patterns of use, cannabis poses a much less serious public health problem than is currently posed by alcohol and tobacco in Western societies.”

So then why are we so worried about adults consuming it in the privacy of their own home?
California lawmakers criminalized the possession and use of marijuana in 1913 — a full 24 years before the federal government enacted prohibition. Yet right now in California, the federal government reports that one out of 10 people annually use marijuana and together consume about 1.2 million pounds of it. Self-evidently, cannabis is here to stay. Let’s address this reality and stop ceding control of this market to unregulated, untaxed criminal enterprises and put it in the hands of licensed businesses. Proposition 19 is a first step in this direction.

PAUL ARMENTANO of Vallejo is deputy director of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and co-author of the book Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? He co-chairs the Health Professionals steering committee for the Proposition 19 campaign and wrote this article for this newspaper.

– Article from Mercury News.



  1. julie on

    its only a matter of time that marijuana will become legal. whatever you guys are saying against it well they dont understand the very simple facts, here:

    – alcahol and cigarretes are legal pretty much everywhere, why souldent weed be? besides, it is by far better then alchy. look at how many people have died from alch and how many from mary j? and lets not forget that it is only a plant?
    – which brings me to my second point its a plant!it grows natuarally in some areas! it just seems ridiculas ..its like making a tulip illigal would that make sense to you? no
    – this law thats being passed wont effect saftey and it WILL lessen the amount of people in jail. Do you know how many people get wrongfully arrested just for being a regular toker? They dont do any harm to anyone, they just smoke their weed be high eat and sleep.. thats not dangerous at all :s
    – it wont ruin education as teenagers who will start toking if it becomes legal they were the same who smoked it even when it was illigal anyway.

    anyone feel free to add to my list 😛

  2. dragonfly de la luz on


    19 Reasons to Vote No on Prop. 19:

    “Dragonfly Is Correct About Prop. 19’s Impact on Patients,” written by an attorney, from the modesto bee:

    and a comparison between prop. 19 and an alternative: the CALIFORNIA HEMP & HEALTH INITIATIVE, also known as the JACK HERER INITIATIVE:


  3. dragonfly de la luz on


    19 Reasons to Vote No on Prop. 19:

    “Dragonfly Is Correct About Prop. 19’s Impact on Patients,” written by an attorney, from the modesto bee:

    and a comparison between prop. 19 and an alternative: the CALIFORNIA HEMP & HEALTH INITIATIVE, also known as the JACK HERER INITIATIVE:


  4. yathatguy. on

    Im not going to wait until tomorrow for the possibility of full legalization when i can have suffecient legalization today. legalization is going to be a gradual process and to think full access will happen in one clean sweap is wrong, its decades away.
    get real.
    1 step at a time.

    we need to flame these turncoats and prohibitions who troll our movement when we see them unless we want to see more of our culture get swindled into believing the dog shit this guy is feeding us.

  5. yathatguy. on

    another prohibitionist is a hemp shirt? this website’s starting to stink of trolls?

  6. Church McMillion on

    Folks, Don’t forget the important points of this debate:
    1. There is now a debate.
    2. Marijuana is being revealed as a harmless and usually beneficial substance.
    3. Even the longest journey begins with the first step.
    4. More often than not, law enforcement will have less reasons to search, seize property, and ruin the lives of productive citizens.
    5. The word “Criminal” will no longer be applied to those who wish to smoke something other than tobacco.

  7. Anonymous on

    Fact: Prop 19 gives prohibitionist the power to tax and regulate as they see fit.

    Fact: prop19 gives counties and cities the right to ban any and all sales of marijuana.

    Fact: New tactic of taking your children away because you are force to grow your own…. if you don’t believe me… just ask Mr. Barry.

    Fact: People will still carry more than an oz on their person, which is the leading cause of incarceration.

    Fact: Taxation is not legalization but a way for prohibitionists to control the influx of marijuan withing the state of Kalifornia.

    Vote NO on prop19

  8. Church McMillion on

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Do not be waylaid by specious arguments.
    The article above and the FACTS have proven that something needs to be done in the name of sanity.
    The country is watching. Do not blow this chance to right a wrong.
    In this country, that doesn’t happen very often.
    Those of you in California, get out there and make the FACTS known.

  9. Smitty on

    This comments section reeks of DEA/NODCP counterintelligence propaganda and selfish basement growers seeking to get rich from prohibition. I am highly suspicious of anyone arguing against sanity via marijuana legalization… I guess that makes me a “commie slut” in your twisted and confused eyes.

    Vote yes on 19.

  10. Dale allo on

    Lets just get rid of police and laws altogether!Maybe all commiess post in caps!

  11. Anonymous on

    You bow again to government by signing your rights away for a bit of SAFETY!





    ALL COMMIES VOTE YES! weak people will vote yes.


  12. Interested Observer on

    If it’s legal to grow your own in a 5′ X 5′ plot, then any cannabis they find with you becomes “home-grown”, as far as you’re concerned. How are they going to know where you got it from? Any proposition which legalizes growing at home is a BIG step forward and categorically better than the status quo.

    Also, let me ask you this: how many large corporations will be game enough to take on the federal government by openly engaging in narcotics production and trafficking? No company which grows and distributes cannabis in California would be able to operate in other states without the federal government invoking its “interstate commerce” interests as a means to shut the business down and jail all of its employees on federal drugs charges. The fact that it would still be illegal federally would ensure that production, distribution and sales remained solely in the hands of small local companies.

    Many people will grow their own but those who can’t will be able to buy it legally, even if only an ounce at a time. How is this not better than the status quo?

  13. M.SebastianPatrick on

    There are already laws in place against consuming alcohol in public; ANY marijuana legislation passed will also have penalties against smoking m.j. in public-so children should not be overexposed. However under current legislation if your children choose to consume marijuana as they are growing up-they face harsh fines,imprisonment, loss of college aid, and a criminal record: is this the legacy we wish to leave for our children? I hope not. You people must understand this movement to legalize a plant is part of a much larger issue of personal freedoms in America. This country is founded upon the principal of tolerance of others’ behavior-even if you don’t agree with it, in order to preserve the freedoms of all citizens. Perhaps it’s time we return to trying to perpetuate that ideology.

  14. dragonfly de la luz on

    As for voting in prop. 19 and then voting for a better initiative later:

    Although 2012 will offer us a brilliant alternative with the CCHHI/Jack Herer Initiative, the more likely scenario is that by that time, big cannabis corporations will have all the money, power, and influence they need to thwart any challenge to their monopoly. What do you suppose are the chances of voting in an initiative like CCHHI–that emphasizes personal freedom over corporations and seeks to fully legalize possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana–after the cannabis corporations just spent two years multiplying their millions legally under the monopoly Prop. 19 creates, keeping everyone else out of the market, and making it illegal for you to buy your weed from anyone but them? There IS no chance. For this reason, ***we cannot vote in Prop. 19 now and then vote in CCHHI in 2012 to replace it.*** Because if Prop. 19 gets voted in, then once it’s in, big cannabis corporations will make sure it stays in, and that it continues to serve them and not the people.

    This is not our only chance to vote yes to legalization, but it may be our only chance to vote no to the corporatization of cannabis.

    (P.S. Why none of you has said anything about the part of prop. 19 that says you’ll be breaking the law if you’re caught with weed that you bought from anywhere other than a licensed dispensary BAFFLES ME.

    what are guys smoking???)

    VOTE NO on 19 and YES in 2012!

  15. castklearr on

    Would you wake every day not knowing what you did yesterday….you would cuz your a jealous asshole! YEP YOUR STUCK MARRIED TO SOME CRACK WHORE! How’s that going?

    I don’t deal drugs….I’m happily retired in northern Ca on my ranch growing all I want under prop 215….This prop 19 is bogus if you can even read beyond 3rd grade…..geeeees


    FREE MARIJUANA enjoy.. the PIGS don’t have the dollars to arrest anyhow!


  16. moldy on

    Good post! I think most of the people wanting prop 19 to fail are not patients. These are the people that are taking advantage of patients in the name of compassion. Its okay to make some money and pay the bills but raping people with legitimate ailments is just as bad as arresting people for cannabis. Most of the “knotheads” are just dealers that can’t handle competition. Hopefully they’ll disappear after prop 19 passes

  17. Anonymous on

    with a 5X5 grow area I would think you could easily grow 6 or more ounces., I would die for a quarter oz of 18% thc pot. Here in IL we pay 60 a qrt for crap weed five hits to feel anything and ten minutes later gone.

  18. moldy on

    There won’t be any 2012 bill to vote on. You’re lying. Vote yes on prop 19 now or risk losing all the ground gained. The Repubes are taking over next time and you may even lose your prop 215-MMJ in Cali if you’re not careful.

  19. moldy on

    Go ahead and live in the past. The future is now. Your experience is meaningless. Nobody cares about you and your past. Walk on…

  20. Anonymous on

    I agree 100% with you he proclaims he knows the facts, I lost half my brain in a stroke and am smarter and better educated than him. What a loser Do your due diligence Know yea what you post!

  21. JMF420 on

    SO your a high level drug trafficker. That explains why you don’t want this legislation passed. It would severely cut into your profits. If this law reads as you like to say, “police me”, then what does the current legislation read? It reads, “throw my ass in jail for a joint”. It may not be a perfectly written piece of legislation, but it most certainly is a good starting point. Any pot smoker who votes no on this law, is either a greedy, high level drug trafficker, such as yourself, or just plain stupid. And to all of the dispensary owners who are considering a no vote, think back to how things were during Bush’s years in the White House and remember that if a Republican wins in 2012, it will be right back to the same old shit. Vote yes on prop 19 and give yourselves another state law to try and fight the feds with. Once this law passes and everyone sees that life goes on in California, in many ways better than it was before, other stated will begin to fall like dominoes.

  22. Jordan on

    You can grow within 25 square feet in your own home after Prop.19 passes

  23. castklearr on

    Yea its about ME….Why do you exist?

    Me can’t gorw enough in 25 Square Feet.

    Me hate police!

    Me spent $150,000 on lawyers beating cases in 1968 California bad warrant, 1974 Hawaii possesion, 1994 California bad warrant, 1997 California bad warrant.
    Me spent in 1974 11 months in Cowansvliie Canada for 21 pounds RED hash oil.
    Me been smuggling hash since 1974 from Afghanistan and lived there in Kabul at the Bost Hotel on chicken street.
    Me brought 20 loads of 100 pounds or more from Tucson…1976 @ 65$ a pound sold for $125LB.
    Me personally shipped 10,000 Thai Stiks from Thailand in 1980 and resold them in Alaska for $25 ea.
    Me smuggle Columbian Gold to San Diego via fishing boat 1978.
    Me smuggling kilo’s of cocaine from Bogata 1984. FLAKE!
    Me put in 18 years in Teamsters while growing all I wanted and now retired.
    Me in 1998 smuggled 2lbs. hash and 500 grams red hash oil out of Peshawar Pakistan to Thailand then I purchased 10 pounds of Thai Chocolate and flew into California.


  24. War Veteran on

    Prop 19 will open the door for better legislation: Remember the bring your own beer bars after prohibition –illegal to buy alcohol at a bar –but legal to drink or bring your own beer as long as one paid? This was very common during the end of prohibition but over time it changed. Also the rest of the States and Canada will be watching to see how California handles this –thus leading the rest of North America and soon Europe into their versions of Prop19. This will also cause a cry for legal industrial Hemp to be grown all across the U.S. and Canada. If Prop 19 isn’t perfect –it will be because others will be used to the fact of legal pot and make it better as a opposed to some unnatural law.

  25. Dale allo on

    a handful would not be able to supply the population they would soon have to open up more and more too meet supply. prices will have to come down too in order to not have the illegal growers take all the business. is there nothing in this about growing a few plants for yourself? that remains illegal?

  26. Anonymous on

    How about this solution;

    Vote Yes on Prop 19.

    Then, if you like this 2012 thing you’re so proud of, vote yes on that too…in 2012 which is a looooooooong 2 years away! Of course, that is assuming the people even have an opportunity to vote on it. The logical choice is to legalize Cannabis NOW with Prop 19.

  27. Anonymous on

    #6 and #7 in Section B.

  28. Anonymous on


    prop. 19 makes it ILLEGAL for you to possess that ounce of marijuana if you buy it from anywhere other than the handful of licensed dispensaries that will be allowed to sell it. you heard me right: if you buy an ounce off your current dealer, your neighbor, or at a party, YOU WILL BE ACTING ILLEGALLY and will be subject to punishment. says so in the initiative itself (Section 3: Lawful Activities: Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls: (g)):

    PROHIBIT AND PUNISH through civil fines or other remedies THE POSSESSION, sale, possession for sale, cultivation, processing, or transportation OF CANNABIS THAT WAS NOT OBTAINED LAWFULLY FROM A PERSON PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION OR SECTION 11300.

    (The key words being, “[c]annabis that was not obtained lawfully…”)
    That means that some cannabis will be lawful, and some cannabis will be unlawful–depending on who you “obtain” it from. According to the initiative itself, a person who can “lawfully” provide cannabis is “a person pursuant to this section or section 11300.” And who is “a person pursuant to section 11300?” Read on:

    Section 11300: (i) …a person who is licensed or permitted to do so [sell marijuana] under the terms of an ordinance adopted pursuant to section 11301.

    –Thus, the initiative’s exact words–“prohibit and punish… the possession… of cannabis that was not obtained lawfully… from a person who is licensed or permitted to do so”–mean exactly this: ***IT WILL BE ILLEGAL TO POSSESS MARIJUANA THAT WAS PURCHASED ANYWHERE OTHER THAN A LICENSED DISPENSARY.***

    also, those who believe prop. 19 will keep our community out of jail haven’t read the initiative.

    it only legalizes 1 oz. so, if we don’t have prop. 19, then what happens? everyone caught with an ounce goes to jail? i don’t think so. no one goes to jail for having an ounce in california. and no one gets arrested. that’s the law NOW in california. having 1 oz. is decriminalized. all you get is a little ticket.

    the people who go to jail over marijuana the most are the ones who:

    –are age 18-20… but prop. 19 won’t legalize them, so it won’t keep them out of jail.

    –possess on school grounds… prop. 19 obviously won’t legalize them, either, so it won’t keep that group out of jail.

    –grow large amounts of marijuana… prop. 19 won’t legalize them, either.

    –sell small amounts of marijuana… and prop. 19 won’t make that legal, either.

    so who does prop. 19 keep out of prison, exactly?

    VOTE NO on 19 and YES in 2012 (the Jack Herer Initiative)


    read it. all of it. then decide for yourself.

  29. yathatone. on

    common sense fears YOU!

    take an active roll on what your kids learn. stop blaming everyone but yourself. you probably thought the worst of tiger woods when he messed up, but mistakes happen, its human tendency, and if you taught your kids to respect tiger for anything more than his golfing ability, you are worse than any drug ive taken. this “i must govern over everyone else” mentality is what creates the “nanny state” you conservatives blame the other side for. “govern” yourself and let me do the same, society as a whole will benefit from individuals being more self competent.

    i blame organized religion for your stupidity.

  30. Dale allo on

    Even as a past pot smoker myself I strongly agree with limiting where and around whom you can smoke. Kids should not be subjected to second hand marijuana smoke nor should adults who dont feel like getting dizzy from the fumes. Marijuana has a powerful smell if you’re standing outside a store or restaraunt and smoking the smell creeps in and stinks up the area and you are taking the rights away from others to not have to inhale it. I know there are many as well that will argue that there is no way in hell you can get dizzy from smelling the smoke but indeed you can if you are not a regular smoker and especially if you are a child. I myself have been around smokers when I did not want to feel stoned and because i was in the same area as them I felt dizzy as well. A child is bound to feel atleast some effects of the drug and there is no rational person who wants that. This is a good step in the right direction.

  31. Dale allo on

    People give their opinions and you call them names? Children will get whatever they want if there is money to me made someone out there will sell it to them it is up to the parents to protect their children and teach them to make the right decisions.Indeed however there are far fewer selling cigarettes and alcohol to children than there are selling drugs which should tell you something about how criminals work.

  32. You'reSuchAFgDummyCastkl-drrr on

    It’s all about you, isn’t it? Me, me, me.

    “This gives the police the right to tell you when where and how much you can smoke, grow and posses”

    You’re bloody tripping, friend. What’s the alternative? The status-quo for everyone else but you? Where police have the right to tell you to squat-and-cough before a long prison stint – over a harmless plant.

  33. castklearr on

    The POOR SOUL that wrote and backs Prop 19 is confined to a wheelchair.



    This prop takes away the medical rights I already have…. This gives the police the right to tell you when where and how much you can smoke, grow and posses……WELL FUCK THAT AND FUCK THOSE ILLEGAL FUCKING SHITTY POT CLUBS WITH THERE GARBAGE HYDRO AND HIGH PRICES!


  34. Jake on

    And I sir know the fact that you are a RETARD! I have kids too and would like it legalized so that my children wont be able to buy it which they could now if they were a little older. Blow smoke out your ass on a conservative web site. Anonymous what a fucking joke. No BALLS at all. You must have a hard time looking in the mirror while shaving in the morning. I know I would if I were you.

  35. Anonymous on

    uh no i don’t think so i don’t want to legalize it because of the facts, i know all the facts to marijuana there’s no fear in me except fear that people will smoke it in front of my kids because i KNOW the facts!