Pubdate: Thu, 23 Sep 2010
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2010 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Tang Lor
Cited: Proposition 19
Bookmark: (Proposition 19)


Despite questions of whether it is appropriate for the Red Bluff City 
Council to take a stand on a state proposition that will be decided 
by voters, the council has decided to oppose Proposition 19.

The measure, if passed, would legalize marijuana for personal and 
recreational use and allow for some commercial-related activities 
under certain conditions.

During Tuesday's council meeting, retired El Cerrito Police Chief 
Scott Kirkland, who has served on the California Police Chiefs 
Association's medical marijuana dispensary task force, was invited to 
speak in opposition of the measure.

If passed, the measure would create a myriad of problems for law 
enforcement and employers, Kirkland said.

The state would lose billions of support dollars from the federal 
government, among other ill effects.

Drugged driving would be a challenge that law enforcement must deal 
with. While there is a legal limit of .08 blood alcohol level, there 
is no limit for drugs in regards to whether someone is over the limit 
or not, Kirkland said. Law enforcement would have no way to determine 
or enforce a limit.

Employers would no longer be able to enforce a drug free work place 
because people will have the right to use or smoke whenever they 
want, Kirkland said.

There would be higher workers compensation rates because of a higher 
risk of accidents and insurance would go up because of increased liability.

How are we going to manage and ensure that people we contract with 
won't be under the influence, Kirkland said.

 From an employer standpoint it's very, very scary.

By not upholding federal standards of drug free work places, the 
state stands to lose about $31 billion dollars in federal grants and 
other forms of monetary support, such as contract work. School 
districts could lose as much as $9.4 billion in federal funds.

While supporters will say a profit can be made by collecting taxes 
from collectives, it's not that simple, Kirkland said.

Collectives can plead the fifth and choose not to disclose their profits.

There's not going to be any money in it whatsoever, Kirkland said.

Saying that legalizing marijuana would put drug cartels out of 
business is a myth, Kirkland said.

There will always be marijuana in California because of its climate.

The cartels are here to grow, and they are here to stay because there 
is too much money in it for them to go away.

The measure itself is poorly written, Kirkland said. It is 
intentionally written to be ambiguous to cause headaches for city 
administration and law enforcement.

Vagueness has caused dissension among supporters, as 25 percent of 
medical marijuana patients oppose the measure because of the language.

While a representative from the Yes on Proposition 19 was invited, 
the representative did not attend. But plenty of residents had more 
than enough to say in support of the measure.

One said it is time to end prohibition. California has always led the 
way in reform, and it's time to step up again, he said. The state may 
lose federal dollars but their are millions more to be made off of 
legalizing marijuana.

A medical marijuana patient said she wants to have the choice to 
medicate herself and be able to grow her own medicine.

A retired police officer who was in the audience pointed out that the 
measure does not have anything to do with medicinal marijuana. 
Patients got their right to use when Proposition 215 was passed. This 
more recent proposition deals only with recreational use.

Anybody can have it anywhere, anytime. That's wrong, he said.

The council sided with those against the measure, voting 4-0, to 
adopt a resolution stating their opposition.

Councilman Jim Byrne abstained. The council should not be discussing 
the measure, as it is a state issue, he said.

In a letter to the council, which was read aloud by Mayor Jeff Moyer, 
Byrne writes, This is a bald-faced attempt to stage an event to 
distract the council from the things they should be addressing.

The staff recommendation gives the council the choice (of) a yea or 
nay vote. I believe there is a third alternative (do nothing).

This item never should be on the city's agenda. This is a state 
measure and the citizens of the state will make the choice in November.

Police Chief Paul Nanfito said he asked the council to review the 
issue, not to decide if it is right or wrong, but to understand the 
problems the measure would present for local law enforcement and 
government if passed.

Whatever stand the council has taken or whatever people will say for 
or against the measure, each voter will get to decide.

It's best that people prepare themselves to make a well-educated 
vote, Nanfito said.

Read the initiative. Look a the facts of the choice, he said. Read it 
and make an informed decision. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake