Letter To The Editor

I am responding to your recent article, “Will Voters Legalize It?” As a UCI Alumni, I am writing you to express my opposition to Proposition 19.

Marijuana legalization should not be passed because of the physical effects of marijuana. A common comparison made to marijuana is that of the Prohibition Era for alcohol. I feel we cannot make this direct comparison because the two drugs are not the same. One of these differences is the amount of time marijuana stays in the system. Unlike alcohol, marijuana can stay in the system longer than just a few hours. Traces of tetrahydracannabinol, or THC, can be detected by standard urine testing methods several days after a smoking session. In chronic users, however, traces can sometimes be detected for weeks after they have stopped using marijuana.

The second area I want to cover is the social impact that Prop 19 could have. A common argument is that Prop 19 will help deter crime. However, an article by Charles Stimson reported the following, “In Los Angeles, police report that areas surrounding cannabis clubs have experienced a 200 percent increase in robberies, a 52.2 percent increase in burglaries, a 57.1 percent increase in aggravated assault and a 130.8 percent increase in burglaries from automobiles. Current law requires a doctor’s prescription to procure marijuana; full legalization would likely spark an even more acute increase in crime.” If limited legalization has this level of increase, then total legalization could very well have an even greater increase.

Finally, I would like to express concern about some of the unintended, smaller side effects of Prop 19. These effects make this proposition, in my view, a bad idea. Beyond the immediate language of the proposition, one small side topic snuck in is this:

“No person shall be punished, fined, discriminated against or be denied any right or privilege for lawfully engaging in any conduct permitted by this act or authorized pursuant to Section 11301. Provided, however, that the existing right of an employer to address consumption that actually impairs job performance by an employee shall not be affected.” ,

In my opinion, this will restrict an employer’s ability to provide a drug-free work environment. It will confine an employer’s screening of marijuana unless it “actually impairs” job performance. This could increase the possibility of workplace accidents. If an increase in workplace accidents occurs, employer liability and insurance premiums will increase, further burdening the California business economy.

While not all the reasons, these are a few that bring me to a conclusion that this proposition is bad. It is not just bad for California business; it is bad for all of California.

C. W. Lambert