No on Proposition 64

Marijuana used for medical purposes – when recommended by a doctor – has been legal in California since 1996. Proposition 64 would make marijuana legal for recreational purposes.

Proposition 64 would make it legal to smoke marijuana in private homes and businesses that have a license for on-site use; possession of up to about an ounce of marijuana; growing up to six marijuana plants and keeping the marijuana produced in a private home; giving up to an ounce of marijuana to other adults. It provides for taxing both medical and non-medical marijuana and allows local government to also tax marijuana.

It would be illegal to smoke it while driving, in any public place other than those licensed, or where smoking tobacco is prohibited. It also limits where marijuana shops could be sited and requires marijuana plants to be in a locked area not visible from a public place.

Local governments could regulate where marijuana businesses could be or could ban them from their jurisdiction.

There is little doubt that Proposition 64 will pass, but we wish legalization for recreational purposes could be postponed.

States where marijuana is legal have discovered some unexpected issues, including determining when someone is impaired and shouldn’t be driving. In the argument against legalization, statistics are cited from Washington state that claim highway deaths related to marijuana have doubled. Without a clear standard establishing impairment, California would likely face a similar increase in fatal crashes.

In addition, we would prefer to wait until the federal government legalizes the drug so money connected to its sales could be handled through banks. This has been an issue in states that have already legalized it.

Legalized recreational marijuana is coming to California; we would just prefer it to come a few years from now.

Yes on Proposition 56

Proposition 56 would increase the tax on cigarettes by $2 a pack and equivalent tax on other tobacco products an e-cigarettes. The money raised – estimated at between $1 billion and $1.4 billion - is intended for smoking prevention programs and health care needs for low-income Californians.

Studies have shown that as the cost of cigarettes goes up, more people decide to give smoking, which in turn means fewer people dealing with illnesses related to smoking. The pro argument states that Prop. 56 works like a user fee, charging those who use tobacco for the estimated $3.5 billion that California taxpayers spend annually on health problems related to tobacco use.

Proponents of e-cigarettes claim they should be exempt because they believe vaping can help people quit smoking cigarettes. So far, no studies support such claims and there are plenty of questions still about how safe vaping is. The doubts are enough for us to support the new tax.

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