At the Universal City Hilton Hotel in Universal City, California, the San Diego-based non-profit CADFY (Californians for Drug Free Youth) hosted community leaders who shared their "professional" and "expert" perspectives on the dangers of marijuana in California. After reading the following quotes, you can decide for yourself the validity of their arguments about marijuana...
Key quotes from the event:
John Redman, Executive Director, Californians for Drug Free Youth:
CADFY's mission is to bring awareness to people about the issues of substance abuse to the people of California; to change our neighborhoods so that drugs are no longer the common norm. It is with great honor that I stand here today with leaders from all sectors of the community who share CADFY's dream of reducing substance abuse throughout California, particularly in regards to marijuana abuse. There are two indelible truths in prevention: One is that if you increase the availability of a drug you increase its use. The second is if you lower the risk and perception of harm of that drug, you increase its use. Legalizing marijuana does both. And, therefore, how can kids say no when the adults around them are saying yes?
Steve Cooley, Los Angeles County District Attorney:
This is not just a major public safety issue, this is a major public health issue. What you see here today is a very broad and strong coalition of individuals and institutions who strongly oppose the legalization of drugs in general and marijuana is included in that category. We're going to send a message and make it resoundingly clear, that these sort of foolish and dangerous initiatives that endanger our society and diminish it are going to be rejected. The "legalizers" who are very well entrenched, sometimes very well funded who are behind this, George Soros and his ilk, must be sent a message: enough is enough. Keep your dangerous laws off of California's law books. Stop endangering us.
Leroy Baca, Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department:
We have enough carnage on our highways as it stands with drinking and driving with alcohol and now we want marijuana to join in with the process of destruction? That's probably the biggest point I can make. We're looking at the degeneration of our future society by exposing our children to a foolish law that will lead to further self-destruction and the ultimate limitation of the future of a great nation and the future of humanity.
Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy:
Marijuana is not a cure-all for any budget woes anywhere -- and we know that the costs that are incurred daily with alcohol in this country are not even off-set to the slightest in the amount of taxes that are collected. So, whether it's the criminal justice costs, lost productivity, healthcare costs around alcohol, those taxes don't begin to pay for that. Legalizing marijuana would saddle the government with the dual burden of regulating a new legal market while continuing to pay for the negative side-effects that are associated with an underground market. Any action that would make marijuana more accessible would jeopardize the health and safety of all Americans.
Nate Holden, former California State Senator, former LA City Councilman (Ret.):
What about the (drug) cartels that have now migrated to the north to the U.S.? They are shipping their drugs, tons of marijuana into our state. You think they are going to leave and they are not going to come in and protect their investment? They are here to stay, and they are going to destroy our society if we let them. We are going to fight them and we are not going to let them destroy us.
Joe Stewart , Executive Director, California Narcotics Officers Association:
If the (Tax Cannabis 2010) initiative passes, transportation companies would be powerless to prevent employees who had tested positive from driving buses or taxis. Imagine your child being on a school bus driven by someone who has tested positive for being under the influence of marijuana. If this initiative passes, even inmates in prisons and county jails will be permitted to possess marijuana.
Bishop Ron Allen, President of the International Faith Based Coalition:
I had a good year in 2009; I only buried six youths related to drugs and drug overdoses. I can certainly tell you, if marijuana is legalized it will be a dark day in the State of California. If marijuana is legalized in the state of California, crime will increase, murder will increase. If marijuana is legalized in my community, and is legalized in my world, and our youth have an opportunity to be able to use -- we will see more drop-outs, we will see an increase of crime, and we will see more individuals hanging out on the corner -- and I am seriously afraid we will lose generations to come.
Kathy Robi, Operations Council Chair and Spokesperson for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving):
It has been proven that even in small doses marijuana will impair a driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. By legalizing marijuana, it stands to reason that incidents of impaired driving from this drug would rise. Widespread testing by police for marijuana in motorists would be difficult and costly in California. In a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it was concluded that drugs played a large role in impaired driving. That THC — marijuana -- was the most largely detected drug. Make no mistake, all mind-altering drugs, whether its alcohol or marijuana, have a devastating impact on our roadways. If this legislation is passed, it will set traffic safety back years by the increased number of injuries and deaths caused by impaired drivers.
Alison Triessl, Co-Founder and CEO, Pasadena Recovery Center:
I am able to see, every day, the disastrous effects of addiction on our youth. I can tell you that in almost every single case that we have, their addictions began with marijuana.
Bishop Dr. Henry B. Alexander, Founder and Presiding Bishop, Shield of Faith Fellowship:
We're concerned for our children as faith communities, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or some less prominent belief system. One of our greatest concerns is the transmission of wisdom from our generation to the next.
Lupe Delgado, Ed.D, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, Los Angeles County Office of Education:
Students who have smoked marijuana more than 100 times leave schools six times more often than those who have not. They enter college three times less frequently and graduate from college four times less often.