First, a word about how our daily lives are changing rapidly due to COVID19. The pandemic reminds me of one of my favorite Psalms: That we are not to despair because we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Rather than being gripped by fear in this time of uncertainty, may we put our trust, our families, our livelihoods in God’s hands. May many see their need for Jesus and His redemptive love. May we each seek God as to how we can help out those in our communities. Pray this be a time of real revival. Pray also for our leaders who are making tough decisions not only on a daily basis, but often hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute.
Now, let’s chat about another real threat to our families and our state. The pandemic may bring much to a halt, but it’s not slowing this threat:
They say legalizing recreational marijuana in Arizona is inevitable. We say Arizonans are smarter than that.
They say marijuana is harmless, and will bring the state a lot of money. We say the facts show otherwise.
Those who stand to make a lot of money off of legalizing recreational marijuana in Arizona will say almost anything to get their ballot initiative passed – they’ll even call it, “smart and safe.” But like many self-serving ventures in the past, the title necessarily conveys the opposite of reality. These are the same folks who in 2016 brought us “The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol,” which would have done nothing of the sort. Astute Arizonans defeated the measure.
I’m happy to announce this effort will face strong opposition in an effort to keep today’s high potency marijuana away from our teens and kids, and to keep our families safe on the roads.
Tuesday, Arizonans for Health and Public Safety launched an official campaign to oppose legalizing recreational marijuana in Arizona.
Because this isn’t 30-Minutes for Families, we will focus on only a few of the many deceiving and dangerous aspects of the campaign known as “Smart and Safe Arizona.”
Of the many concerns that doomed their efforts in 2016, proponents claim to have fixed the following:
- Driving stoned. Nothing in the new initiative addresses stoned drivers. In fact proponents did away with current law prohibiting driving with marijuana in your system. The language in the initiative is, “driving impaired remains illegal.” But there is no reliable roadside testing to measure impairment like there is for alcohol. They acknowledge that in section seven by leaving it to lawmakers to address “when scientific research on the subject is conclusive.” Because right now, it’s not conclusive. Also, other states monitor THC in drivers, but none successfully. In Colorado, marijuana related traffic deaths have skyrocketed 109% after legalization.
- Marketing marijuana to children and keeping it away from teens. The initiative does nothing to stop high potency marijuana candies, cookies, sodas, and snacks. Recreational marijuana is not legal for minors in any state, yet more teens use it in legal states than non-legal states – because it is accessible in spite of the law. And the prohibition of underage use in this initiative is toothless. Most penalties are petty offenses that will likely go unenforced and will do little to deter violators. Teens caught with marijuana face more lenient consequences than underage drinkers. Legalizing a high potency drug for recreational use sends a terrible message to our kids.
- Workplace safety. The initiative does not keep stoned workers off the worksite or off the roads. We have seen in other states that where recreational marijuana is legal, a lot more people use it. Those people go to work and they can put coworkers in danger. It affects depth perception, reaction time, coordination and more. Employees under the influence of marijuana had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and 75% greater absenteeism than their co-workers. This is also a continued problem for employers because then they are saddled with firing and rehiring, and the expense and loss of productivity that comes with it.
- Dangerously high potency. The flimsy, partial potency limits in the initiative are deceptive. The risk of over-consumption of THC is staggering when you consider the serving size. The measure sets a deceptively high level of THC per serving – One gummy is a serving. A tenth of a cookie is a serving. Who eats a tenth of a cookie? Who eats a tenth of a candy bar?
Also, there is no limit to the concentrates, which can be almost 95% THC.
Proponents also falsely claim legalizing marijuana will actually benefit Arizona by:
- Raising revenue for the state. The money allocated in the measure to address health concerns, substance abuse, and law enforcement is an open acknowledgement that the measure will produce harms to society. Then, it limits how much the industry will pay to address those concerns by capping the tax at 16% – regardless of the cost. We can expect taxpayers will have to pick up the tab because marijuana revenues have fallen far short of estimates in legal marijuana states, mainly because of the black market.
- Eliminating the black market. They promised legalizing marijuana would end the black market and the opposite has happened. In Colorado, highway seizuresincreased 39%. AZ recreational marijuana would be taxed 16%. That fuels black market sales, where users can get what they want for a lot less. That is how it plays out in the other states, and how it will play out in Arizona.
Perhaps the most deceiving message proponents of the recreational marijuana initiative put forth is the inference that this initiative is necessary for those with medical conditions who need to ease their pain. The marijuana industry knows good and well that medical marijuana is already legal in Arizona. Those who need it for medical relief can get it – today.
Don’t be fooled. Get informed. Spread the word.
- Arizona Representative Nancy Barto corrected the widespread misinformation about the Save Women’s Sports Act in an Arizona Republic opinion column.
- Idaho passed a similar law protecting girls and women athletes by preserving female sports for only biological females.
- Last week in Five Minutes for Families we addressed it. This week, John Stonestreet takes on the problems with banning conversion therapy in Breakpoint.
- Tony Perkins highlights how the church is being the hands and feet of Christ during this coronavirus crisis in a Daily Signal column.
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