Pubdate: Wed, 04 Aug 2010
Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Record Searchlight
Author: Scott Mobley


Redding's elected leaders are on record opposing Prop. 19, a measure
on the November ballot legalizing marijuana.

The City Council voted 3-1 Tuesday afternoon to adopt a resolution
opposing Prop. 19 after failing to muster the votes needed to avoid
taking a stand on the issue at all.

Vice Mayor Missy McArthur cast the lone dissenting vote against
opposing the measure.

"We've been eradicating marijuana for years and I don't see the war on
drugs working," McArthur said.

"I believe we should be regulating and taxing it (marijuana) to the
maximum and get our forests back so they are safe and free of the drug

Police Chief Peter Hansen had urged the council to take a stand
against Prop. 19, noting the League of California Cities and police
chiefs up and down the state oppose the measure.

"Prop. 19 is poorly written, and it has a lot of loopholes," Hansen

Prop. 19 would legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for
anyone 21 and over, allow marijuana consumption in homes or in
establishments licensed for the purpose, and permit cultivation of up
to 25 square feet of the plant for personal use.

Local government could regulate and tax marijuana consumption or ban
it outright, under Prop. 19. Criminal and civil penalties against
driving under the influence and selling the drug to minors would apply.

Hansen told the council he wasn't asking for a vote on whether Redding
would ban marijuana should Prop. 19 pass.

The police chief also drew the distinction between Prop. 19 and Prop.
215, the 1996 measure legalizing medicinal cannabis. Prop. 19 could
further complicate the already murky territory around medical
marijuana, Hansen said.

"We've worked hard with the medical marijuana collectives to make sure
people who need medicine have safe access," Hansen said.

A half dozen marijuana and medical cannabis patient advocates urged
the council not to come out against Prop. 19.

Rob McDonald, of Redding, told the council laws against marijuana have
always been unconstitutional.

"Government is meant to protect the rights of the people to pursue
their lives without interference," McDonald said. "Today, we see more
interference than ever. That needs to stop."

McDonald suggested the council take no stand on Prop. 19, and Vice
Mayor McArthur took him up on that idea. Council member Mary Stegall

But council member Dick Dickerson, a retired drug enforcement officer,
argued the council should take the strongest possible stance against
legalizing marijuana.

Prop. 19 would encourage more people to abuse the drug, the black
market would not disappear and any tax revenue generated by cities
would most likely go toward paying for the effects of intoxication, he

"If you don't take a stand against this you are letting the people
down," Dickerson told the council.

Stegall changed her vote, saying she would support the resolution
against Prop.19 only because she is tired of the initiative process in
general, which she believes has helped paralyze state government.

Mayor Patrick Jones, always a staunch marijuana opponent, also voted
with the majority.

"Don't smoke the stuff," Jones said. "It's bad for

Council member Rick Bosetti was absent.
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