By Ron Crumpton
On Friday, the Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, condemned the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for endorsing Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.
In his letter to the Los Angeles Times, he claims, “Any patrol officer, judge or district attorney will tell you that Proposition 19 is a flawed initiative that would bring about a host of legal nightmares and risks to public safety.”
If this is true, how does he explain the fact LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) supports Prop 19? How does he explain John McKay, former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky and prosecutor of Marc Emery, said in a Seattle Times Op-ed that our marijuana policy is dangerous and wrong and should be changed through the legislative process to better protect the public safety?
How ignorant do you have to be, to say that legalizing marijuana in California risks the public safety?
California borders Mexico! I could not venture to guess the amount of marijuana smuggled across the U.S. border in to California from Mexico just during the time it takes you to read this. That does not count the illegal grows that are causing millions of dollars worth of ecological damage to federal lands in California, or the violence created by these illegal criminal empires.
Governor Schwarzenegger, I am going to let you in on a little secret… there is always going to be pot in “Kalifonia.”
I am not going to go on my usual tirade about our constitutional guarantees of liberty and how we should have the right to do whatever we want in our own homes provided we are not hurting anyone else. Instead, let us talk about your subject governor; let us talk about public safety.
It is safer for Californians to have marijuana regulated and sold in safe environments than it is to continue to finance the Mexican drug cartels, because under a system of regulation, it will be harder, not easier for marijuana to get into the hands of children, but that is not the only issue.
Marijuana has been accused for years of being a gateway drug, while studies from the University of New Hampshire show this to be inaccurate, in one since it is true. The gateway is that it gives marijuana users, particularly young people, access to harder drugs. It is not uncommon for someone who sells marijuana to sell cocaine or another illegal substance, and legalizing marijuana would close that gateway.
Furthermore, it would make it a lot harder for the drug cartels and dealers to stay in business. Marijuana accounts for 60percent of the cartels annual income. To use an example, imagine if McDonalds could no longer sell hamburgers. Instead, they had to stay in business selling soft drinks, apple pies and hot fudge sundaes. How long do you think that would last?
Granted it would not put everyone out of business, but it would put the smaller fish out of business, and that would make it easier to catch the bigger fish. The DEA and Border authorities would have fewer crimes and criminals to investigate and would be able to put more resources into and make more progress against the drugs that are truly dangerous to our society.
The true danger in marijuana for the last 73 years has been the fact that it is illegal.
What was even more irrational about the governor’s letter is that in order to pay for the state’s budget shortfalls he would rather cut the pensions of state employees, than raise money through the legalization and taxation of cannabis.
Now, I realize that marijuana is not the savior of California. The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 is not going to solve all of California’s money problems, but the projected $1.5 billion in tax revenue is a mighty big drop in the bucket. After all, a billion here, a billion there, eventually it adds up to big money.
I believe the reason for this was more of a personal vendetta that the governor has against the SEIU. I did not see him writing letters blasting other organizations, like the Teamsters, for supporting the initiative.
The fact is, this union is standing up for its members, the employees of the state of California and Californians right to smoke Marijuana, but rather than debate the issue of legalization, Governor Schwarzenegger would rather try to use it as part of a smear campaign against the SEIU.