As state legislators, public safety is one of our highest priorities. An initiative legalizing marijuana for recreational use is on the November ballot – Proposition 205. If approved by voters, this would be a dangerous and costly disaster for our state and we are making this public statement to let you know why.
It’s a bad idea made worse by evidence of what has happened in another state that has also gone down this path. Teen marijuana use in Colorado is now #1 in the nation. It is the substance for which 80% of teens seek addiction treatment. Marijuana-related hospitalizations are soaring. And legalization hasn’t made the marijuana market safer in Colorado; crime and drug cartel activity is up since legalization.
Supporters of this measure thought it would be a good idea not to address the issue of driving while under the influence of marijuana. No rational person would suggest putting no limits on alcohol and driving, but that is what the pro-marijuana forces want to do in our state with pot. Marijuana-related traffic fatalities have doubled in Colorado so it’s no surprise law enforcement has come out strongly against Prop. 205.
Colorado’s law provided deference to local communities, two-thirds of which banned ‘marijuana grows’ in their cities. In Arizona, Prop. 205 allows no such local control – not to cities, not to property owners, not to HOAs. Plus, due to our Voter Protection Law, Arizona would be locked into this awful experiment forever. To this point, Colorado legislators have proposed 80 bills “fixing” their law, among them setting limits on THC potency – the psychoactive ingredient in weed – and “edibles” packaging. Potent edibles such as cookies, Gummy Bears and other candy look-a-likes now make up 45 percent of all marijuana sold in Colorado. Arizona would have no such opportunity to protect the public, especially children.
The Prop. 205 crowd thought they could sell their bad idea by funneling some of the anticipated tax revenues to education. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimates $30 million in new funds from Prop 205 – but it also demands a huge new bureaucracy to run. More government and increased use of a drug whose effects can damage young adults’ motivation, mental health and IQ for a mere $30 per student? That’s a bad trade Arizona shouldn’t make.
Arizona businesses have expressed concerns, as well, and to keep their workplaces safe and drug-free, many would move their hiring operations to states where employee liability risks will be minimized. It doesn’t make sense.
Please vote no on Proposition 205. The evidence is everywhere. It will cause harm to our state and our residents for years to come.
Senators Sylvia Allen, Nancy Barto, Andy Biggs, Judy Burges, Sue Donahue, David Farnsworth, Gail Griffin, John Kavanagh, Debbie Lesko, Steve Pierce, Don Shooter, Steve Smith, Bob Worsley, Steve Yarbrough and Kimberly Yee
State Representatives John Allen, Sonny Borrelli, Russell Bowers, Paul Boyer, Noel Campbell, Regina Cobb, Doug Coleman, Mark Finchem, Rick Gray, Karen Fann, Anthony Kern, Jay Lawrence, Vince Leach, David Livingston, Phil Lovas, J.D. Mesnard, Steve Montenegro, Jill Norgaard, Justin Olson, Warren Petersen, David Stevens, Bob Thorpe and Kelly Townsend
The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.