OpEd: Colorado’s problems reveal danger of legal pot

By Seth Leibsohn and Sheila Polk

As Arizonans prepare for a public debate on legalizing marijuana, we encourage a close look at Colorado — the first state to fully legalize recreational use and sale of marijuana – and Ohio, the most recent state to defeat it.

Ohio—a key bellwether state—defeated legalized marijuana this week by a margin of 28 points. What Ohio made clear is that when the facts about today’s more potent and dangerous marijuana are aptly communicated and exposed, there are no good reasons left to make it both legal and more widely available – and it loses.

Perhaps recent news in Colorado is what informed Ohioans. For example: legalization advocates claimed it would help put an end to the black market and illegal sales. In just the last month in Colorado, however, we witnessed the contrary. To wit:

October 28: Officers find 6,400 illegal marijuana plants in southern Colorado forest.

October 9: 32 busted in big Colorado illegal marijuana cultivation crackdown.

October 6: DHS suspends 7 cross country runners.

October 8: Manitou Springs police: Mustangs boys’ soccer marijuana issue handled by school.

As Chief John Jackson of the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs said on 60 Minutes earlier this year, “I can resoundly say that the black market is alive and doing well.”

The largest of these raids, also last month, found 20,000 marijuana plants, 700 pounds of dried weed, and more than 30 guns. Among those arrested were Honduran, Mexican, and Cuban nationals. Clearly, instead of putting an end to the black market, legalization in Colorado has created a magnet for it as legality and availability drive sales and consumption.

As just this one month in Colorado also reveals, the notion that we can solve an international drug cartel program by legalizing a dangerous product that harms our youth is, quite simply, a fraud.

As noted above, high-school marijuana use—including by those on athletic teams—is also a major problem and growing concern. Why? As explained in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors just last month: “[A]s marijuana has become more accessible and adults have become more tolerant regarding marijuana use, adolescents perceive marijuana as more beneficial and are more likely to use if they are living in an environment that is more tolerant of marijuana use.”

Legalizing an intoxicating substance for adults will not keep it out of the hands of our youth—which is why 77% more of Arizona’s youth use alcohol than marijuana today. Making marijuana like alcohol means more adolescents will use more marijuana…just like they do alcohol. And it’s critical to note that today’s marijuana is not the same as it was in decades past—it’s at least five times more potent, practically an entirely different drug.

One month in Colorado is, of course, not the whole story; we recommend reading September’s Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Report. This report documents that, since legalization in Colorado, marijuana has been associated with such social fallout as increased homelessness, school suspensions and expulsions, and traffic deaths.

It couldn’t be clearer: Arizonans should not want this for its families and communities, and we certainly do not need it.

Seth Leibsohn is the host of The Seth Leibsohn Show on 960am/KKNT. Sheila Polk is the Yavapai County Attorney. Respectively, they are the Chair and Vice-Chair of Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

Statement from Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy leadership on defeat of Ohio Issue 3

PHOENIX (November 3) -- In the wake of tonight’s defeat of Issue 3 in Ohio — the ballot initiative seeking to legalize recreational marijuana — Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy released the below statements from its chair, Seth Leibsohn, and vice chair, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk.

“By defeating marijuana legalization at the ballot, the citizens of Ohio have made a smart choice in the name of public health and the cause of protecting children,” Leibsohn said. “As the marijuana movement seeks to try to legalize marijuana in Arizona, what Ohio—a true bellwether state—has shown is that marijuana legalization is not, in fact, inevitable.  The more people look at the new and more powerful strains of marijuana, the attempted creations of legalized monopolies to sell marijuana, the damage done to children accidentally ingesting marijuana edibles, the more people are turning away from making these newly dangerous substances more available. Legality is the mother of availability and availability is the midwife of use, especially childhood use. There is no good reason to make dangerous substances more available and Ohio helped show that to the rest of the country.”

“What Ohio has shown tonight is that when people get all the facts about today’s marijuana, they see a disturbing cascade of concerns—from higher potencies than we once knew to greater and greater damage done to the teen and adolescent brain,” Polk said. “Knowing all the facts and science about today’s marijuana, including that one in three users will have a clinical disorder, it is clear that legalization represents a tremendous problem for not only law enforcement and health agencies, but education and growth outcomes for our children. Turning away from the siren song of legalizing marijuana is not only smart but responsible, and we thank the people of Ohio for their strong dose of common sense.”

About ARDP:
The Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy PAC was formed to actively oppose any initiative that would legalize the recreational use of the drug marijuana in the state of Arizona. Visit www.arizonansforresponsibledrugpolicy.org for more information.

MBQF Poll: Joe Arpaio Has 50/50 Chance Of Re-Election

Also, Tested was School Bonds, Pot Convention and Education Tax

(Phoenix, AZ) — MBQF, a public affairs and consulting firm, announced results of a recent survey dealing with the nationally known, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who could be facing his toughest re-election battle yet.  We also looked at several other current issues in Arizona, primarily within Maricopa County.

In the most recent automated telephonic survey of 559 high efficacy voters in Maricopa County, conducted on October 19, 2015, the survey calculates a 4.14% theoretical margin of error, plus or minus in percentage points, 95% of the time.

The survey asked several questions of voters.  The first was a basic re-elect question regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio, “Looking ahead to next year’s election for Maricopa County Sheriff, do you think that Joe Arpaio should be re-elected, or do you think that it is time to give someone else a chance?”

Arpaio Re-Elect Question
Should be re-elected
Give someone else a chance

Party Breakdown

Should be re-elected
Give someone else a chance

The second question was phrased, “Recently, the Republican Party of Maricopa County has decided to oppose ALL 28 school district overrides and bond ballot initiatives come this November.  Arizona is one of the lowest ranked states in the United States when it comes to education.  Would you consider the Republican Party of Maricopa Counties stance on these bonds as obstructionist or as fiscal prudence?”

County GOP-No on all Education
Fiscal prudence
No opinion

The third question was phrased, “Given what you know about Arizona’s education system, would you be willing to pay slightly more generally in taxes to invest in Arizona’s Education System?”

Invest in Education System

The fourth question was phrased, “The Phoenix Convention center will be hosting the “Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo” at the end of this month.  Do you think that is a good idea or bad idea to host this event?”

Pot Expo – Good/Bad?
Good idea to host event
Bad idea to host event
No opinion

Michael Noble, consultant and pollster, issued the following statement:

“With Maricopa County voters split on whether America’s Toughest Sheriff deserves another four years, the data shows Sheriff Joe will have his toughest campaign ever.  Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are near evenly split.  In addition, a small plurality of county voters say they are open to paying more for education.  With most eyes focused on the Presidential election next November, Arizona voters have some big choices.”

For more information about this survey, or a summary of topline data and wording, please contact MBQF Consulting. The margin of error for this survey is +/-4.14%.

UPDATE: New Video of Breitbart Phoenix Meetup Disputes K O’Donnell’s Claim

Kevin O’Donnell the professional poker player and father of K O’Donnell’s owner Jennifer O’Donnell, responded on several social media sites that one of the reasons the mic was cut off at the Breitbart Phoenix Meetup event was that the speakers were swearing over the PA system.  He then moderated his stance stating that the crowd was swearing up a storm which caused KO’s to cut the event short.  It is important to note that Kevin O’Donnell was not at the Breitbart Meetup Wednesday night as he was in Reno likely attending a poker tournament.

A YouTube video posted by ‘streetmanproductions’ from the rear of the room shows there was no swearing at the time the mics were cut, nor immediately prior to the mics being cut. 

Watch the 12 minute clip and decide for yourself:


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Say It Isn’t So, Joe

If this story is even partially true, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has finally jumped the shark.  Many conservatives around the state—and country—have held him up both as a hero in his law enforcement ardency and in his refusal to bow to the surrounding left-liberal commentariat and activists.  Over the past couple of years, he has made that job more difficult with some poor decisions, but now he is making it impossible.

Just last month he announced a new effort to go after street dealers of drugs, a la Giuliani and Bratton, including marijuana.  That is a good idea and did wonders for the Big Apple.  Knowing how problematic and crime-driving drug sales are, and how everything from marijuana to heroin is increasingly ending up in too many of our teens’ hands and brains, it is an even better idea for Arizona.   Now, however, he is a featured speaker at a fundraiser for a group supporting legalizing marijuana.  While the event seems to be billed as an educational event on how seniors can benefit from medical marijuana, the group sponsoring it is all over and all about legalizing recreational use as well, that is, legalizing marijuana.  And their promotional material seems to confuse those issues to boot.

People can have their opinions on this—we tend to side with the position that legalizing a product that more and more science is showing to be more and more potent is actually a bad idea.  We also note how marijuana legalization will actually be bad for law enforcement, generally, and how we can read by the week about new illegal grows and law enforcement seizures in places like Colorado and Washington where the black market is still thriving.  And we think it as close to horrific as can be that, yes, it’s still getting into the hands of our teens.

With all that said, just what is Sheriff Joe doing, and, moreover, what is he communicating?  We know from the Arizona Department of Health Services that “medical marijuana” is simply not something most seniors are interested in, with about five percent of such “card holders” being over the age of 71 (and the vast plurality of “card holders” being under forty).  Is the point to get more of them to use?  Is it to fundraise for legalization as the sponsoring group wants to do and issues reports on?

Sheriff Joe has had a long and noble career with both the DEA and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office—he should not be, at once, putting the brakes and accelerator on an issue he has committed his life toward, all the while sending mixed signals to our community, and helping fundraise for the opposite of what his Department says it is doing.  If he’s being used as a dupe, he should stop.  If he’s caving in on an issue he’s dedicated his career to, that’s another matter—but he should tell us clearly so we can all know just what it is he is up to.  And, if he’s simply not sure anymore, and jumped the shark, then he should resign.

Guest Opinion: The New Reefer Madness: A Very Bad Idea


By Seth Leibsohn

Since just the beginning of this year, local media—both television news and print—have publicized and promoted at least 10 stories on the effort to legalize recreational marijuana use in Arizona. Two bills are being sponsored in the state Legislature and an initiative aimed at our  electorate for 2016 is being drafted. Little has been said or written as to why all of this is a very bad idea for our state and our country. But it is just that, a very bad idea.

Almost every argument in favor of legalization is, quite simply, wrong. At the economic level, we are told the revenues from legalization would boost our state budget and help solve our deficit. That was a promise made by the pro-legalization movement in Colorado, which predicted $40 million a year for school construction and $30 million for general state funds from marijuana taxes in the state. But, as the non-partisan Tax Foundation found, the numbers thus far have come nowhere close, making it “unlikely to even meet that $40 million need each year, leaving nothing for enforcement costs.”

Ask any governor of any state if they would rather keep all the revenue from alcohol and tobacco taxes or all the monies alcohol and tobacco abuse costs the state, and you’d get the same answer: The costs of substance abuse to each and every state are never even close to covered by the revenues generated by the taxes on those substances. As President Barack Obama’s former senior advisor on drug policy, Dr. Kevin Sabet, has put it, “[S]ocietal costs that accompany increased marijuana use will significantly outweigh any gains in tax revenue. Our experience with alcohol and tobacco shows that for every one dollar gained in taxes, 10 dollars are lost in social costs.”

Criminalizing alcohol and tobacco would be nearly impossible and equally ill-advised at this point. I am not advocating that at all. But adding one more dangerous substance to the list of already too many legal and dangerous substances is pure madness. The debate as to whether marijuana is more or less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco is irrelevant. We need, rather, to understand that marijuana is just, plain dangerous; and adding one more dangerous product (regardless of degree of danger) is more than a bad idea; it is public policy malfeasance.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported just last year that marijuana use by adolescents is associated with everything from increased risk of depression and anxiety to psychosis. And, it “exacerbates the course of illness in patients with schizophrenia.” Marijuana use is also associated with impaired school performance and increases the risk of dropping out of high school. In lay terms, marijuana damages the brain, especially the teen brain. Society has made tremendous strides in marginalizing and thus decreasing the use of cigarette smoking—which negatively affects the lungs and hearts of smokers. It is curious, then, that more and more are now turning toward legalizing a product that not only damages the lungs (like cigarettes), but also the brain.

Many adults think marijuana is relatively harmless based on their experiences in high school and college a generation or more ago. But that marijuana is not today’s marijuana. Today’s marijuana is a different drug, with THC levels reaching into the 20 and 30 percent range of potency, as opposed to the one-and-a-half to five percent potency of the 1970s and 1980s. And it is getting stronger by the day as vendors compete to provide ever stronger affects with an ever more potent product.

The quest to legalize marijuana at the state level is also an unconstitutional nullification of federal law—as a range of Supreme Court Justices from Anthony Kennedy to Stephen Breyer to Antonin Scalia agree. It also negatively impacts other states as pot sold “legally” in one state flows across borders and causes problems in neighboring states, thus nullifying those states’ decisions to remain within the law. Indeed, some 44 percent of the marijuana sold in Colorado is sold to citizens of other states.
Despite what many say—either from unfamiliarity with the science or because of a political point of view or because some people simply want to get high legally—marijuana is dangerous. Making it legal will cost society more in financial and human damage than can ever be made up for by the false promise of tax revenue. And it will further destigmatize what every study on marijuana use and stigmatization has shown: the more society explains the dangers of marijuana, the less it is used; the more society countenances it, the more it is used.  Marijuana is illegal not because of bad policy but because it causes a lot of problems—a lot more than we will ever be able to apologize for if we unload this dangerous product on, and in to, more and more of our state’s and nation’s youth, which is—like alcohol and tobacco—where it will end up and do the most damage.

Seth Leibsohn is the host of The Seth Leibsohn Show, airing nightly on KKNT/960 am, and a Senior Fellow with the Claremont Institute.

Sheriff Paul Babeu to Congress: “Secure the Border First”

Elected officials have used the illegal immigration issue to their political advantage for years. In our opinion, Arizona is blessed with several of those rare elected officials whose commitment to fighting illegal immigration and promoting border security despite the political risks never wavers. I checked in with one of those leaders this week, and offer you readers this update here:

Sheriff Paul BabeuPinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu became a familiar face and household name in April 2010 when he appeared in the “Build the Dang Fence” commercial with Senator John McCain who was battling against J.D. Hayworth to retain his seat in the U.S. Senate.  During that same time, Sheriff Babeu also helped Senators’ McCain and Kyl develop their 10-Point Border Security Plan.  Senator McCain has since abandoned the border security plan and instead he has spent his time working with the “Gang of Eight” to create an amnesty plan for the 12-23 million illegals in the United States today.

The McCain-Kyl “10-Point Border Security” plan mirrored what was already accomplished in the Yuma Sector where border crossings and apprehensions have been reduced by over 96%.  The Yuma Sector as a result of this plan still enjoys this same success today.  Sheriff Babeu was a United States Army Major at the time, and played a key role in the success of this plan as the commanding officer for “Operation Jump Start.”  Through this effort, the Yuma Sector of the border was secured because armed soldiers were placed on the border, the military constructed a double barrier fence, and illegals caught crossing into the U.S. were prosecuted for their crime(s) instead of Pres. Obama’s “catch & release” policy in place today.

Sheriff Paul Babeu has twice served as president of the Arizona Sheriff’s Association, and more recently was voted unanimously as the spokesperson for the Western States Sheriff’s Association on all issues related to immigration and border security.  During July of this year, he worked with Congressmen Goodlatte and Gowdy on their “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act” to help protect American citizens from illegal aliens already in the United States.

Pinal is the third largest county in Arizona.  Unfortunately, it ranks as the “top pass through county” in the nation for both drug- and human smuggling.  They received this distinction because those involved with drug and human smuggling funnel north through Pinal County from the counties below it, a result of both the county’s terrain and the system of roads and highways.

Pinal County residents have seen more than their fair share of crimes as a result of America’s still-unsecured border. Mind you, despite what Homeland IN-Security Secretary Janet Napolitano promises, our border remains very insecure. Almost daily, Sheriff Babeu’s deputies are involved in vehicle pursuits with cartel members smuggling drugs or people. The county has seen executions, and Mexican cartels have now sent assassins into Pinal County to carry out the murders of other cartel members on U.S. soil.

In addition, Mexican drug and human smuggling cartels have sent Rip Crews” into Arizona, including Pinal County, which have been involved in gun battles with other cartel members. These so-called “Rip Crews” (ultra-violent gangs tied to the cartels to steal from other cartels) have conducted traffic stops and been involved in heinous crimes including, but not limited to homicides, home invasions, kidnappings, shootings, sexual assaults, burglaries and thefts.

Pinal Deputies have confronted armed individuals both in the desert and in vehicles, and been involved in shootings and physical confrontations.  Just last month, they caught a smuggler who had already been deported from the United States 11 prior times.  This time when deputies attempted to contact him, he fled in a vehicle, then fled on foot, and when deputies tried to arrest him he assaulted them. And at the time, he was attempting to smuggle 220 pounds of marijuana into the U.S.

As if all that weren’t enough to keep him busy, Sheriff Babeu also helped “Whistle Blower” employees from ICE and U.S. Border Patrol come forward after they were ordered by the Obama Administration to secretly release over 2,000 illegals from detention facilities throughout the United States. As we’ve now learned, many of those illegals released by Pres. Obama into our communities had criminal histories which included manslaughter, child molestation, aggravated assault, weapon offenses, forgery, drug offenses or other serious crimes.

Illegal immigration isn’t the only crime Sheriff Babeu or his dedicated team face in Pinal County, but I asked him why he puts so much effort into this cause. His answer is important for all the right reasons: “Until this administration gets serious and properly secures the border, if we don’t stop it here then it will continue throughout America.”

He continued by telling me, he instructs his deputies, “to dismantle and disrupt drug and human trafficking operations and arrest those responsible.  Every time the cartels change their tactics to try to win the war, we will change ours to defeat them.”

For this blogger, it seems most days the White House and Congress are more interested in winning elections than securing our border, protecting our communities, stopping the flow of drugs into our schools, and saving the lives of any of the women and children lost each year, month, week and day to human trafficking and the global sex trade.

Thankfully there are still elected officials out there who haven’t given up. One of the very finest is Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

~For God and Country

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  http://briefs.maricopagop.org/  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for www.urapc.org  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

Contraindications Warning: Obamacin

One of our creative readers just produced this excellent little video. Let’s help it go viral.

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Richard Carmona Won’t Explain Why He Profited Off Tobacco Companies While Being Top National Crusader Against Smoking

Jeff Flake

Democrat busted for privately investing thousands in product he decried publicly as addictive and dangerous

PHOENIX – Democrat Senate candidate Richard Carmona has said that his fight against smoking and tobacco was a major hallmark of his tenure as U.S. Surgeon General.  However a news report released on Friday shows that, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Dr. Carmona held investments valued at up to $90,000 in major tobacco companies like Altria Group and Philip Morris.

“Dr. Carmona’s campaign presents a carefully edited story about their candidate. Clearly the fact that Dr. Carmona privately invested thousands of dollars in a product that he publicly crusaded against as dangerous and addictive is something they left on the cutting room floor,” said Andrew Wilder, communications director for Flake for Senate. “There’s no valid excuse for such outright hypocrisy from a public official. Dr. Carmona now has an obligation to explain to voters why he invested in tobacco companies, when he did, and how much profit he made.”

Dr. Carmona’s fervent public crusade against tobacco is well documented, making the revelation about his private investments all the more curious.

In fact, less than ten years ago, while serving as Surgeon General, Richard Carmona called for an outright ban on tobacco, saying: I see no need for any tobacco products in society” (Kristen B. Mitchell, “Ban All Tobacco, Official Suggests,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/4/03).

Dr. Carmona actively warned the public about the addictiveness of tobacco, saying on NPR in 2003 that: “There are no tobacco products that are good for you, and in my recent congressional testimony is how I stated that, you know, people should not smoke, people should not chew. We still have 4,000 children a day that start smoking, and we have to stop them from starting, because once they begin, it is very difficult for them to withdraw from tobacco” (“Dr. Richard Carmona Discusses His Role As Surgeon General,” Bob Edwards Show, National Public Radio, 11/27/03).

Upon his departure as the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona told the AP that he would judge himself successful if he had persuaded one student to make good health choices or one mother to stop smoking (Kevin Freking, “Surgeon General Carmona Leaves Post,” The Associated Press, 8/1/06).

The Arizona Republic report can be read here: http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/azdc/172506#.

Stay up to date on Richard Carmona’s campaign to be a rubber stamp for Democrats’ liberal agenda in Washington by visitingwww.RubberstampRich.com.

For more information on Jeff Flake and why he’s running for the U.S. Senate, please visit his website at www.JeffFlake.com.