California initiative draws fire for opening the door to TV ads that promote pot smoking

The Los Angeles Times
by Patrick McGreevy

Nearly a half-century after tobacco ads were kicked off television in the United States, an initiative in California would take a first step toward allowing TV commercials promoting pot to air alongside advertisements for cereal and cleaning products.

Proposition 64, which is on the November ballot, would allow people age 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana and would allow pot shops to sell cannabis for recreational use.

The initiative also includes a provision that could someday allow cannabis sellers to advertise their products in print ads and on digital sites and radio and television stations, but would “prohibit the marketing and advertising of non-medical marijuana to persons younger than 21 years old or near schools or other places where children are present.”

Television ads are not likely to appear soon, even if voters approve the initiative. There are other impediments to pot ads hitting the airwaves in California, including the fact that cannabis is still seen by the federal government as an illegal drug.

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Amid weed wars, stoned-driving laws still half-baked

San Francisco Chronicle
By Peter Fimrite

There are certain telltale signs that a person is stoned: bloodshot eyes, forgetfulness, ravenous late-night cravings.

But the November ballot measure that would legalize recreational pot in California says nothing about how police should detect tokers who climb behind the wheel. There’s no marijuana equivalent to the famed blood-alcohol content tests — taken by breath, blood or urine — that have planted .08 into the American consciousness.

It’s not a pressing concern for marijuana advocates, even as entrepreneurs try to develop a better sobriety test for dope smokers. But it’s a big quandary for California law enforcement officers, who are facing a question that has vexed several other states where recreational pot is legal.

California law bars driving under the influence of psychoactive substances, including weed. But with no definitive measurement for intoxication, arrests are often challenged, with officers relying on evidence like indecisiveness behind the wheel or a pungent car interior.

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Could legal marijuana make L.A.’s homeless crisis even worse?

The Los Angeles Times
by Joel Warner

Faced with an intractable and growing homeless crisis, two weeks ago, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors made a bold and largely unprecedented move: It approved a November ballot measure that would impose a 10% tax on gross receipts of medical marijuana as well as recreational marijuana businesses, if statewide legalization passes at the polls, to help fund the estimated $450 million a year the county needs for homeless housing and services.

It didn’t take long for the measure to face criticism. The Los Angeles Times’ editorial board worried that the levy, combined with other taxes imposed on recreational marijuana, “could push up the price of pot so much that customers and suppliers return to the black market” — defeating the purpose of legalization in the first place.

But there’s also a philosophical question to ponder: Cigarette “sin taxes” usually go to anti-smoking efforts. Casino taxes fund gambling-addiction programs. Why should a similar tax on cannabis go to homeless services? What does marijuana have to do with homelessness in the first place?

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Kids emergency room visits for marijuana increased in Colorado after legalization, study finds

The Denver Post
by John Ingold

Colorado’s laws on labeling and child-resistant packaging have been unable to stop an increase of young kids ending up in the emergency room after accidentally consuming marijuana, according to a new study published online Monday in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The study — led by a doctor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus — found that emergency room visits and poison-control calls for kids 9 and younger who consumed pot in Colorado jumped after recreational marijuana stores opened. About twice as many kids visited the Children’s Hospital Colorado emergency room per year in 2014 and 2015 as did in years prior to the opening of recreational marijuana stores, according to the study. Annual poison-control cases increased five-fold, the study found.

“We were expecting an increase,” said Dr. Sam Wang, the study’s lead author. “As far as the poison center, we were a little surprised at the amount of the increase.”

The overall numbers, though, are still relatively low and account for a small fraction of all accidental exposures.

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Legalizing recreational marijuana hurts youth, families

San Diego Union Tribune
by Katie Dexter

As a longtime San Diegan, parent and local school board member, I have deep concerns about Proposition 64, the measure that could permit the large-scale production, advertising and retail sales of recreational marijuana in California. What we know from other states, like Colorado and Washington, that have gone down this road is that usage goes up. In fact, Colorado leads the nation in teen use of marijuana; and with this increased use comes obvious negative repercussions.

Proposition 64 will not only directly affect you, but more importantly, the young people and families that you care about.

In March, the AAA Foundation for Highway Safety reported that deaths in marijuana-related car crashes doubled since the state of Washington approved legalization. Further, after legalization in Colorado, marijuana-involved fatal crashes increased 34 percent. Currently, California averages over 300 fatal crashes a year due to marijuana-impaired driving. According to these statistics, if Proposition 64 passes, fatal crashes involving marijuana could go from 300 to 600 every year.

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U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein Opposes Prop 64 citing lack of child protections and DUI standards

I urge California voters to oppose Prop. 64

Sacramento, CA – United States Senator Dianne Feinstein is adding her name to the growing list of California organizations and leaders opposing Proposition 64, the legalization of recreational marijuana.

In opposing the initiative Senator Feinstein made the following statement, “Proposition 64 is substantially different from legalization measures in other states and would repeal countless consumer protections just passed last year and signed into law by Governor Brown. It rolls back anti-smoking advertising protections we’ve had for decades and allows marijuana smoking ads in prime time, on programs with millions of children and teenage viewers.

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CA District Attorneys Association votes to unanimously oppose Prop 64

Says the measure, “fails to give prosecutors any standard by which to measure and convict drug-impaired drivers.”

Sacramento, CA – The Board of Directors of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) has voted unanimously to oppose Proposition 64, which would legalize the adult use of marijuana. CDAA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Zahner, released the following statement regarding the initiative:

“This measure is poorly crafted and does nothing to help us keep dangerously impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel and injuring or killing innocent Californians on our streets and freeways. Among other flaws, Prop 64 fails to give prosecutors any standard by which to measure and convict drug-impaired drivers.

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