Buzz Kill for Prop. 19 Supporters

A new Reuters/Ipsos poll is bad news for California pot heads. Proposition 19, a well-financed ballot measure that would legalize marijuana -- not only for medicinal use, but any other use -- is opposed by voters by a margin of 53 percent to 43 percent.

Prop. 19 supporters dispute polls like Reuters/Ipsos, arguing that they do not take into account what they perceive as a reverse “Bradley effect.”

The phenomenon is named after Tom Bradley, who ran for California governor after five successful terms as Los Angeles’ first black mayor. Opinion polls showed Bradley well ahead in the 1982 gubernatorial race. However, he lost on Election Day.

Certain analysts suggested that voters misleadingly told pollsters they were going to vote for Bradley because they didn’t want to appear racist. Prop. 19 supporters suggest that voters are similarly misleading pollsters because they are too embarrassed to acknowledge their support for marijuana legalization.

I think the Prop. 19 supporters are smoking some of that medicinal marijuana.

The ballot measure is not trailing in the polls because of a reverse Bradley effect, but because voters recognize that its passage will yield deleterious consequences throughout the Golden State.

That’s the reason more than 100 municipal governments have already banned medical marijuana dispensaries.

“They pop up in neighborhoods and crime follows,” Steve Walter, San Diego County deputy district attorney, told the Portland Press Herald.

“There were three murders at three separate dispensaries,” Moses Johnson, a city of Anaheim attorney, also told the paper.

Prop. 19 supporters say that marijuana-related crime and violence will go away if the drug simply is legalized.

But even if that were true – and there is no empirical evidence to support that claim – marijuana legalization would still have a harmful effect on the health and well-being of the state’s population.

That is borne out by a recent Rand Corp. study, reported in the Los Angeles Times, which concludes that marijuana legalization will lead to increased marijuana use, which will mean increased health risks.

There is also the recent declaration by the California Society of Addiction Medicine, also reported by the Times, that marijuana is, in fact, addictive and can lead to substantial problems in education, work and relationships.

The news story accompanying the Reuters/Poll offered the corroborating testimony of Michael Smith, a 20-year-old student at Long Beach City College. Marijuana was the gateway drug, he said, for friends who graduated to ecstasy and Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug.

"I had two friends who were faded on marijuana and Xannies and flipped their truck on the 605 South," he said, referring to the San Gabriel River Freeway. Both died.

And there will be even more carnage if Prop. 19 passes and marijuana use is legalized in California. That’s why right-thinking Californians will vote the measure down.

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