Pubdate: Fri, 1 Oct 2010
Source: Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Daily Pilot
Author: Tom Ragan
Cited: Proposition 19
Bookmark: (Proposition 19)


Concerns Abound That Initiative Could Allow a School Bus Driver to Be 
Under the Influence of Cannabis.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Education has 
directed its staff to draft a resolution opposing Proposition 19, a 
November ballot initiative that would legalize the recreational use 
of marijuana for adults.

John Caldecott, the district's executive director of human resources, 
told board members at Tuesday night's meeting that he had some 
concerns with the referendum's potential impact on the district.

Mainly, he said, the way in which the proposition is currently 
written, the school district would not be able to prevent a school 
bus driver from getting behind the wheel of a bus after having used marijuana.

The district, Caldecott said, would have to prove that the driver was 
impaired before he started driving, but as of yet there are no 
legally defined standards or guidelines that address such an issue, 
according to Caldecott.

The same standards, or lack thereof, would also apply to teachers, 
Caldecott said.

Nonetheless, it's the policy of the district to maintain a drug-free 
workplace that is consistent with federal law, Caldecott said.

Proposition 19 would not, supporters say, prevent employers from 
maintaining a drug-free workplace or requiring them to come to work sober.

In addition, the measure would not legalize marijuana use for children.

Two weeks ago board member Martha Fluor asked district staff to 
review the implications of the proposition, which she said does spell 
out the obvious prohibitions: That is, the consumption of cannabis in 
any form in a public place, such as a school, is forbidden.

It also prohibits bits the consumption of cannabis by the operator of 
any vehicle, boat or aircraft while it is being operated.

However, what concerns Fluor is the language in the proposition that 
says, "No person shall be punished, fined, discriminated against, or 
be denied any right or privilege for lawfully engaging in any conduct 
permitted by the act or authorized pursuant to Section 11301 of this act.

"Provided however," it states, "that the existing right of an 
employer to address consumption that actually impairs job performance 
by an employee shall not be affected."

"My issue is with the use of the word 'actually,'" said Fluor. "The 
word seems to suggest that consumption prior to work would be 
prohibited only if it actually led to an accident or other tangible, 
observable impairment of performance, only after it is too late to 
prevent an incident."

The opposition resolution should be ready to be voted on during the 
next regularly scheduled school board meeting, which convenes on Oct. 
7. Proposition 19 goes before voters Nov. 2. It will require a simple 
majority to pass.

Proposition 19 is also known as the "Regulate, Control and Tax 
Cannabis Act of 2010," which would legalize various marijuana-related 
activities while allowing local governments to regulate the 
activities and issue permits to collect and impose marijuana-related 
fees and taxes.

Yet even if the proposition passes, the sale of marijuana will be 
remain illegal under federal law.

Medical marijuana, also illegal under federal law, is legal in 
California and widely available. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake