Legalizing Marijuana in Arizona Will Nullify Education Results

By Paul Boyer

Paul BoyerThe marijuana legalization movement in Arizona is relying on a specious study to make the case for recreational marijuana at the ballot next year. Their study says marijuana is 114 times safer than alcohol. Interestingly, it also says meth is ten times safer than alcohol, while heroin and cocaine are twice as safe.  On that logic, why not make meth, heroin, and cocaine like alcohol, as well?

Meanwhile, serious peer reviewed research regarding the effects of marijuana has been shown to increase high school drop outs, lower IQ, induce memory loss, and in some cases cause paranoia and psychosis – especially among adolescents.

For those of us concerned with the state of education in Arizona, this is extremely alarming. With considerable discussion about Arizona’s education funding, along with high school and college graduation rates, we should be working to improve our state of education, not exacerbate an already bad situation by legalizing a substance detrimental to every outcome we want for our children.  And make no mistake, legalizing this dangerous drug for adults will lead to more use by children, just as we see with alcohol.

States that have marijuana-friendly legislation have seen a dramatic spike in marijuana exposure to children.  The Journal Clinical Pediatrics found an over 600 percent increase in the amount of marijuana exposure to children six and under in such states. That study suggests, “the rate of marijuana exposure among children is associated with the number of marijuana users.” We don’t need that here in Arizona.

Nor can the toxic health, educational, and behavioral impacts to children be overstated. A 2014 New England Journal of Medicine study lists the damaging health effects of just short term marijuana use, including: impaired short term memory and motor coordination, altered judgment with an increased risk of catching and transmitting sexually transmitted diseases, and paranoia and psychosis in high doses. And let’s not forget that today’s marijuana is much more potent than that of previous decades.  We are not talking about Woodstock and commonly grown marijuana anymore, we are talking about a high potency drug.

Similarly, long term or heavy use effects of marijuana include: addiction, altered brain development, poor educational outcomes with an increased risk of dropping out of school, cognitive impairment with lower IQs among frequent users during adolescence, and diminished life satisfaction and achievement.

And who will have to address the consequences of legalization? All of us, including parents, teachers, and an already over-burdened healthcare system will have to pick up the pieces left in the wake of legalization’s destruction.

Given all our debates about funding education in Arizona, one is left asking what the point of all this would be if we introduce a substance into our society that will nullify, if not reverse, everything we have worked so hard to improve when it comes to our children’s education.  Whatever plan we settle on with education, adding marijuana into the mix will render this debate, and its result, essentially pointless.

State Representative Paul Boyer represents Legislative District 20, which includes Glendale and North Phoenix. He is the Chair of the House Education Committee, a member of the House Health Committee, and teaches 10th grade Humane Letters.

Arizona Republic: Ducey looks to intensify fight against drug cartels with strike force

“When you’re talking about border issues, you’re typically talking about drug trafficking and human trafficking,” [Gov. Doug Ducey] said, after a morning spent meeting with ranchers, authorities and educators. “It’s the cartels and the traffickers that we want to focus on, and that’s what a strike force is going to aim at.”

By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez
November 12, 2015
http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/politics/2015/11/12/duceys-strikeforce-seeks-expand-battle-against-cartels/75060282/ 

Five cartel lookouts huddled beneath thick desert brush one night last month. Suddenly, they realized they’d been spotted.

The scouts, who are paid to study the movements of authorities and guide drug traffickers through the Arizona desert, dropped their heavy backpacks and bolted across rocky terrain near the quiet neighborhoods and golf courses south of Casa Grande.

Using covert tactics, a border-crimes team stationed at a makeshift headquarters watched as the lookouts made their getaway.

“They have night-vision capabilities and they’re lightning fast,” said Department of Public Safety Capt. Dave Nilson, who fielded constant radio traffic as he led the operation targeting traffickers in Vekol Valley.

“On any given day, we get 911 reports of people stopping, seeing people loading bundles and bundles of large amounts of narcotics, and illegal aliens – right on the side of the highway, and getting into cars and leaving. It literally is the wild West.”

Last month’s operation was the first by a new border-crimes bureau that Gov. Doug Ducey quietly created in September and hopes to expand into the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s third-largest bureau with the goal of removing Arizona from the list of prime trafficking routes into the world’s largest drug market.

The scouts were on the outskirts of metro Phoenix, but authorities from the Arizona Border Strike Force Bureau seized their dusty bags. Packed with solar panels, toilet paper, hot sauce, salt and ramen noodles, they had supplies to hide in the desert for a week.

The Arizona Border Strike Force Bureau of the Department of Public Safety is seeking to partner with local and federal agencies to disrupt the criminal organizations that smuggle drugs and people into the U.S. Their prime target is the Sinaloa Cartel, the source of a vast majority of marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin that flow into the state for sale or distribution to other states.

Ducey, who on the campaign trail promised to close the “wide-open and unprotected border,” said the bureau seeks to make it too risky and too expensive for the criminal organizations to operate here. That would required a sustained effort by the department, Ducey’s administration said, rather than its current sporadic operations.

Ducey is calling for an infusion of tens of millions of dollars in state money and federal grants and equipment to permanently fund the fight against border-related criminal activity. The plan would boost intelligence gathering, and add planes, helicopters, radios and other resources to the department’s arsenal.

Under Ducey’s plan, which would require new funding from the state Legislature, the Department of Public Safety’s bureau would eventually grow to about 180 troopers, analysts, pilots and county personnel, who would mostly operate in southern and central Arizona. A small number of National Guard troops would be used to initially bolster the numbers.

State troopers and canine units would conduct more-frequent patrols of highways, and authorities would target drug scouts, traffickers and distributors in key trafficking corridors. Border counties would receive state funds to hire more prosecutors and reimburse the costs of jailing traffickers.

Focusing on cartels and traffickers

Ducey is just beginning to brief state Republican leaders, who have generally supported border enforcement but have been reluctant to spend significant money on new projects since the recession.

The plan could face opposition from some county sheriffs. Some have said DPS should focus on patrolling the highways and running its crime lab.

It’s an issue of protecting Arizonans, Ducey told The Arizona Republic while flying back from Sierra Vista on Nov. 6, where he had presented $1 million of his office’s funds to Cochise County to help finish a regional communications center.

“When you’re talking about border issues, you’re typically talking about drug trafficking and human trafficking,” he said, after a morning spent meeting with ranchers, authorities and educators. “It’s the cartels and the traffickers that we want to focus on, and that’s what a strike force is going to aim at.”

A recent Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Threat Assessment report found the state “continues to be a major smuggling corridor and distribution hub” for the cartels. Mexican organizations use commercial shuttle vans to transport drugs from the border to stash houses in Phoenix and Tucson, and “backpacker groups continue to be the predominant method of transporting marijuana” into the state.

In fiscal 2014, drug seizures on state highways accounted for about 5 percent of marijuana seized in the state, 26 percent of cocaine, 26 percent of methamphetamine and 13 percent of heroin, the report found.

DPS Director Frank Milstead said the new bureau’s success would be measured by arrests and drug seizures. “The cartels that are making the drugs in these super labs south of the border, they’re rolling around in $100 bills and they’re celebrating the addictions they can have in America, because it funds” them, he said.

But there’s a limit to what Arizona can do to stem the flow of drugs, experts said, given the United States’ insatiable demand for drugs and the cartels’ determination to continue profiting from the trade.

“You’ve got suppliers and you’ve got demand,” said Michael Lytle, a border expert at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. “Maybe they put a small dent in it. There’s no way they’re going to stop it.

“Any determined cartel guy can find a work-around. They’re like ants: If you put something down in front of a trail of ants, they’ll move someplace else.”

That doesn’t mean Arizona shouldn’t try, said James Carafano, a foreign policy and national security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. A state can’t secure the border, he said, but it can make it “somebody else’s problem” by disrupting popular smuggling corridors and pushing activity to other states.

“We’ve been spending more money on border security since the 1980s and actually the illegal activity’s gone up,” Carafano said. “Looking at how much money you’re spending is not necessarily the right metric. The simple question is: Does your community feel safe? And if your answer is no, then I think it’s a problem worth dealing with.”

So does Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has made border security a priority in his new administration.

Abbott and state leaders are embarking on an $800 million effort that speeds up the hiring of state police who patrol the border, along with increases in technology and intelligence operations. The plan has been criticized for its hefty price tag, s past lack of accountability for previous spending, and questions over how effective additional spending will be.

Finding federal and local support

In Arizona, Ducey and his top aides began drafting their border-security plan in the earliest days of the administration, said J.P. Twist, a senior adviser to the governor who is spearheading the initiative.

After working with U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials during the Super Bowl last January, Ducey initiated conversations with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and authorities from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and others, to see how Arizona could partner to combat border crime.

Federal officials were guarded at first, Twist said, fresh off a contentious relationship with former Gov. Jan Brewer, who railed against federal officials during her tenure over illegal immigration and border security.

Ducey said he began conversations with, “New administration, new governor, fresh start.”

Federal officials began to listen.

Past governors ordered National Guard troops to the border, wrote letters to federal officials seeking reimbursement and, in Brewer’s case, tried to publicly shame them into doing more.

Twist said the new approach is to instead take stock of how they can leverage state, local and federal resources.

Milstead and Twist began meeting with county sheriffs, mayors, leaders of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and federal officials from ICE and Border Patrol.

“We are fostering these relationships — that’s a critical part of making sure a plan like this works,” said Twist.

Paul Beeson, commander for the Joint Task Force West, Arizona, confirmed the Ducey administration’s characterization of the meetings. He said the proposal dovetails with a CBP effort to “disrupt, degrade and dismantle” transnational criminal organizations operating in Arizona and beyond.

Beeson said CBP has talked frequently with DPS about the proposal. “What I have seen is a sincere effort on the part of the state to work with federal officials and address these issues that are of concern to all of us,” Beeson said.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said he didn’t have enough details about Ducey’s proposal to say whether he supports it, but said he’d like to see more state troopers patrolling highways.

“This is a major corridor … you’ve got drugs, stolen vehicles, you’ve got money,” Estrada said. “You’ve got so many things happening on the highway and there’s nobody here after 2 o’clock (in the morning).”

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos questioned DPS’ ability to take on more responsibility and said it should focus on patrolling highways and running the state crime lab.

He also said Ducey’s administration has done a poor job communicating their plans. “Don’t dictate what help you want to provide without knowing that your help isn’t much help,” Nanos said.

Twist said Nanos has not been open to learning about the proposal.

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels told Ducey he needed money for a radio system. Communication is challenging in the area, with poor reception and dead zones. That prompted Ducey to help fund completion of the communications center, which was years in the making.

To Dannels and other county officials and ranchers, the money signaled that Ducey took their needs seriously.

Dannels told The Republic he would support Ducey’s plan if it complements county law-enforcement operations. “Big government” won’t resolve border-crime issues but “true partnerships” could, he said.

Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot did not return calls to discuss Ducey’s plan.

The Ducey administration’s conversations with Tohono O’odham Nation leaders, whose land is a prime trafficking corridor, have stalled.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Edward Manuel said in a statement: “We have engaged with the Governor and his staff on this important issue, and have long worked closely with the U.S. Border Patrol. However, just like other border communities, the Tohono O’odham Nation needs to better understand the potential impacts of the Governor’s plan.”

Activity along the border

Ducey’s proposal comes as apprehensions of illegal immigrants have generally declined between fiscal 2005 and 2014, and as Border Patrol staffing has risen.

At the same time, marijuana seizures by the Border Patrol in Arizona have just about doubled to more than 1 million pounds in fiscal year 2014.

Not reflected in the reports are the tons of drugs that make it past authorities, points out Maj. Jack Johnson, who heads the DPS bureau.

“It’s pretty crazy to think drug traffickers just walking through, coming on up through communities, it’s pretty unbelievable,” said Johnson, as he sped past the lit-up football field at a Casa Grande school on the night of the October operation.

The strike force in September and October snared 3,260 pounds of marijuana, 73 pounds of meth, nearly 2 pounds of cocaine, 19 pounds of heroin and five firearms, according to DPS records. It made 180 arrests, including 14 documented gang members and 65 illegal immigrants who were turned over to Border Patrol.

Johnson contends the bureau could prevent drug-related deaths, addictions, home invasions and other crimes that can be traced to contraband smuggled through the border.

“If the border strike force saves a life, that’s huge,” he said. “That matters.”

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
Results
Should be re-elected
50.45%
Give someone else a chance
49.55%

Party Breakdown

Republicans
Democrats
Independents/PND
Should be re-elected
53%
48%
49%
Give someone else a chance
47%
52%
51%

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
Results
Obstructionist
41.50%
Fiscal prudence
39.36%
No opinion
19.14%

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
Results
Yes
46.33%
No
39.18%
Unsure
14.49%

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?
Results
Good idea to host event
36.31%
Bad idea to host event
29.52%
No opinion
34.17%

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%.

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

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.