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

Marijuana

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.

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.

Robert Graham Releases Video Thanking Arizona’s Conservative Grassroots for Defeating Proposition 204 and 121

“Despite [. . .] disadvantages, we organized quickly, worked hard, and proved that when you have a clear message and you stand up for your principles, you can’t lose.” 

PHOENIX – Today, Robert Graham, candidate for Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, released a video thanking Arizona’s Conservative grassroots for their efforts in defeating Proposition 204 and 121.

The video highlights the tireless efforts of canvassers, callers, and volunteers in spreading the message that Proposition 204 and 121 were wrong for Arizona. To watch the video, click on the link here, or watch the embedded video below.

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To learn more about Robert Graham and his plan for Arizona’s Republican Party, please visit his website at www.GrahamForArizona.com or his Facebook page.

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BUSTED! Yes on Prop 121 Committee stoops to new low with dishonest Robo Call

Committee’s dishonesty shows that Proposition 121 is nothing but a political scheme

Phoenix, AZ – This weekend, Paul Johnson and the Open Government Committee Supporting Prop 121 (Yes on 121) stooped to a new low. The Yes on 121 Committee sent a dishonest robo call designed to mislead voters to support Prop 121. The transcript of the call states:

“Tired of dirty politics, let’s clean things up with Prop 121. The top two open elections, open government initiative. 121 is supported by Republicans because it will help combat politicians who overspend and add to our deficit. That’s why the Democratic Party and Liberal politicians oppose it. Vote yes on Prop 121. Paid for by Open Government Committee supporting Prop 121. Major funding by Greater Phoenix Leadership, Professional Fire Fighters of AZ, International Association of Firefighters (an out of state contributor), Cali-companies Inc.”

To answer the question, yes, voters are tired of dirty politics. Voters are tired of being lied to and they are tired of political schemes, like Proposition 121, that over promise and under deliver.

The fact is that the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, Libertarian Party and Green Party are unified in opposition to Proposition 121 because it is bad public policy that will limit voters choice, increase the influence of special interests, potentially shut out minority candidates and essentially destroy independent and third party candidates.

To suggest that Republicans support 121 because it will “combat politicians who overspend and add to our deficit” is just shameful.

The call is designed to intentionally mislead voters. The Greater Phoenix Leadership, Professional Fire Fighters of AZ, International Association of Firefighters and Cali-companies Inc. should be ashamed to be associated with an organization that would try to intentionally mislead voters.

“This call is a desperate attempt by the Yes on 121 Committee to mislead voters away from the negative consequences that would take place if 121 is passed,” stated Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “Unfortunately for them, it shows just how desperate the committee is by blatantly lying about false support for their radical proposal.”

A recording of the robo call can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x4gzkednbtufhrr/Yes121-DishonestCall.mov

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ALERT! Misleading Robocalls on Proposition 121!

Republican voters have been receiving a very misleading robo call concerning Prop 121. Just to be clear, the Republican party is NOT supporting 121…and our opponents know it…talk about “dirty politics”. Please be sure to forward this to others and encourage them to VOTE NO on Prop 121.

Here’s the text of the robo call:

“Tired of dirty politics, let’s clean things up with Prop 121. The top two open elections, open government initiative. 121 is supported by Republicans because it will help combat politicians who overspend and add to our deficit. That’s why the Democratic Party and Liberal politicians oppose it. Vote yes on Prop 121. Paid for by Open Government Committee supporting Prop 121. Major funding by Greater Phoenix Leadership, Professional Fire Fighters of AZ, International Association of Firefighters (an out of state contributor), Cali-companies Inc .”

I’ve also attached an audio copy of it.

Please share this with others. It’s sad that the other side has to stoop to these types of shenanigans.

Thanks for your help in getting this message out!

Lisa Gray
Chairman, LD21, Arizona Republican Party

ACT NOW to stop the Prop 204 Tax Hike

AFP Arizona

URGENT Action Items Below

Dear Arizona Taxpayer,

AFP-Arizona Needs YOU to help us defeat Proposition 204!

While current polling shows that Arizona voters are prepared to reject the Prop 204 tax hike on Tuesday, we must keep the heat turned up in the last days before the election.

The facts on Proposition 204 are simple:  It makes the temporary sales tax increase PERMANENT, which would cost Arizona taxpayers an additional $1 billion per year and potentially cost the state 15,000 jobs.  Arizona families are already hurting in a bad economy, and this is worst time to raise taxes and harm economic growth. Prop 204 also provides an already bloated education bureaucracy — Arizona’s total education spending has increased over 60% in the last decade, even as a smaller percentage of funds has gone to the classroom — with even more money, while failing to provide real reform to Arizona’s education system.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION!

AFP-Arizona is asking you to do the following:[1]

• Take whatever NO on 204 yard signs you may have to your nearest polling location on Monday night (Nov 5).

• Take any extra NO on 204 yard signs you may have to key polling locations (use the email below to ask Bill where your closest key locations are).

• Hand out anti-204 literature at your nearest polling place on Tuesday (use the email below to ask Bill for a printable version of AFP-AZ’s anti-204 talking points).

•  Per Arizona law, no materials (yard signs, literature, etc.) may be distributed or placed within 75 feet of polling locations.

Please contact Bill Fathauer AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at 480-332-0477 orbfathauer@afphq.org to volunteer for these actions.  (If you contact Bill today, or over the weekend, you will help us reduce our workload on Monday and Tuesday.)  Even if you can only volunteer for an hour or two, your help will be vital in stopping a massive tax hike that will damage the Arizona economy.

Thank you and keep up the good fight!

For Liberty, Tom

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity
tjenney@afphq.org
(602) 478-0146



[1]AFP-Arizona is independently asking its activists to take these actions to oppose Proposition 204. AFP-Arizona is not a sponsor of the No on 204 campaign, nor is it acting in coordination with the No New Taxes, No on 204 ballot committee.

No New Taxes, No on 204 Releases “5 Reasons”

No on 204

PHOENIX — No New Taxes, No on 204 today released its newest television advertisement titled, “5 Reasons.” Business and community leaders across the state all agree that the $1 billion permanent sales tax burden that Prop 204 will place on hardworking families and small business owners is bad public policy. Although there are 100 things wrong with the initiative, the top five reasons are highlighted in this 30 second spot.

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Script For “5 Reasons:”

VIDEO TEXT: 5 REASONS TO VOTE NO ON PROP 204

VIDEO TEXT: 1 – LARGEST PERMANENT TAX INCREASE IN ARIZONA HISTORY
1 BILLION DOLLARS EVERY YEAR

ANNOUNCER: “5 reasons to vote no on Prop 204. 204 is the largest permanent tax increase in Arizona’s history.”

VIDEO TEXT: 2 – SECOND HIGHEST SALES TAXES IN AMERICA

ANNOUNCER: “Arizona would have the second highest sales taxes in America.”

VIDEO TEXT: 3 – NO EDUCATION REFORM

ANNOUNCER: “Groups all across Arizona say 204 has no education reform.”

VIDEO TEXT: 4 – WRITTEN BY SPECIAL INTERESTS IN SECRET

ANNOUNCER: “204 was written by special interests in secret.”

VIDEO TEXT: 5 – ARIZONA REPUBLIC STRONGLY OPPOSES

ANNOUNCER: “And The Republic opposes 204 saying it:

“…is bad public policy…burdening the poor far more than the well-to-do…”

VIDEO TEXT: VOTE NO ON PROP 204

VoteNOon204.com

ANNOUNCER: “Vote No on 204.”

To learn more about Proposition 204, please visit www.VoteNoOn204.com.

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Five Reasons to Vote NO on Proposition 204

The No New Taxes, No on 204 campaign committee released the following new ad this morning. The ad takes 30 seconds to describe five reasons why Arizona voters should vote NO on the proposition.

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Proposition 204 is More Trick than Treat

No on 204

Dear Friends,

Over a year ago, proponents of Prop 204 thought that their special interest funded ballot initiative would pass without protest. Now, as the campaign heads into its final week, Prop 204, the $1 Billion dollar permanent tax increase, is more unpopular than ever.

Proponents of Prop 204 thought their taxpayer giveaway would go unchallenged, but because of you, polls are showing that Arizonans are not interested in an initiative that does not promise real reform, accountability, or oversight. The message that Prop 204 is bad for Arizona families and business is spreading throughout the state.

We are grateful for the momentum that has been created by community activists, elected officials, and business leaders who have publicly opposed and continue to fight this horribly misguided ballot initiative.

The coalition to defeat Prop 204 grows by the day. The list is made even more impressive by your continuous support and effort. Even the Arizona Republic agrees:
“While the intention may be laudable, the likely unintended consequences of Prop. 204, the largest permanent tax increase in state history, are deeply worrisome.”
Please join US Senator Jon Kyl, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, and over 45-mayors and city councilmembers from across the state by voting NO on Prop 204 on November 6.

No On<br />
204
We need your help! Please, take your No on Prop 204 yard sign and place it at your polling location the night before the election or the morning of the election.

Lastly, let your family, neighbors, and coworkers know about how Prop 204 actually does very little for education, but fills the pockets of politically connected special interests.

We need to finish strong; we need to defeat Prop 204 and send the message that we want real education reform. Thank you for your continued support!

Thank you,

DonateDoug Ducey
Doug Ducey
Chairman – No New Taxes, No on Prop 204

Statement from City of Mesa Mayor Scott Smith on Arizona Proposition 204

Scott Smith

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith

Education has always been a major part of my life. My father, Dr. George N. Smith, was a highly respected teacher and school superintendent here in Arizona for over 35 years. As the superintendent of one of the largest school districts, my father lived education – at the dinner table, at church, even at the grocery store. During his tenure, Mesa’s schools were considered to be among the finest in the nation.

I grew up knowing that quality education was the key to success. That’s why, even as a struggling family, my wife and I made sacrifices so that I could go to law school. That’s also why education has been a key part of my HEAT (Healthcare, Education, Aerospace, Tourism/Technology) initiative in Mesa.

So far, we have had a great deal of success with this initiative. We’ve increased opportunities in higher education by bringing five new colleges to our downtown. We’ve built stronger relationships with ASU Polytechnic, MCC, AT Still and others. We’ve teamed up with Mesa Public Schools to develop a plan to turn underused space into youth sports facilities with the passage of Mesa’s Question 1. I am also pleased to be part of the Mayor’s Roundtable on Education.

I wholeheartedly believe that educating our children is the most important investment we can make in Arizona, and we should expect nothing short of excellence in our educational system. I have seen firsthand how critical quality education is to creating economic opportunities. I have long supported efforts to provide adequate funding for our schools and colleges, expand parental choice, encourage innovation, improve teacher training, and demand accountability.

During this recession, many Arizonans have expressed their displeasure with the manner in which State leaders have handled educational funding priorities. Prop 204 is a product built from this frustration. Unfortunately, it is a flawed product; and, is bad public policy.

Prop 204 imposes a permanent fix for what is most likely a short-term problem. All too often, these inflexible changes become outdated as the world changes. Rather than curing the actual ailment, these solutions end up merely easing the pain for a short time. They then often prohibit substantive reforms that would have a more lasting impact. Prop 204 may even reward the status quo, which will also inhibit real changes in school financing or performance. This will not inspire the kind of transformational reforms that our children need and deserve.

In its attempt to solve one problem, Prop 204 will also simply shift financial challenges from one area of government to another. And, the changes in Prop 204 will make it more difficult, if not impossible to achieve much needed overall state tax reform.

Arizonans should demand real solutions from our leaders to the challenges we face. Prop 204 not only fails to solve these challenges, it will keep us from making the changes we need to improve our educational system. Please join me in voting No on Prop 204. Let’s then work together to make Arizona’s schools the best in America!