Steve Lunetta: Potheads rejoice

By Steve Lunetta

Last update: Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

It’s really a forgone conclusion. Marijuana will soon be legalized in California via Prop 64 and all the potheads will be dancing around in circles with brownies and joints raised to the sky. We should be so proud!

I hate being so negative but I cannot believe that the people of this state are dumb enough to do this. You think we have problems now? Wait until businesses are plagued with pot intoxication and we are avoiding both drunks and stoners on the road.

Lovely.

A recent ABC7 poll shows that 51% of voters are in favor of Prop 64, 40% oppose with a whopping 64.8% undecided. Not sure how the math works on that. Maybe of the 36% decided, 51% are in favor. Guess the good folks over at ABC7 are already taking a celebratory puff? (in fairness, I pulled this stat off a pro-64 website so ABC7 may be clean)

Hopefully, this means that many folks have not made up their minds.

We just came back from Arizona where the good voters there are also trying to make up their minds regarding their own pot legalization proposition, numbered 205.

In California, the media seems to be treating Prop 64 like a done deal. Not so in Arizona. The coverage and conflict are heated. I saw an ad on TV that really got me thinking. It seemed to answer a question that I have had for a while now: how is it working in Colorado?

Colorado legalized pot 4 years ago and, while the data is still coming in, we have a bit clearer picture of what it will look like here in 4 years.

Former Colorado Governor Bill Owens (1999-2007) in a television spot I saw had some very interesting things to say about the “Colorado Experiment.” Owens said that his state now leads the nation in teenage marijuana use.

This seems to jive with stats I have heard that pot use in middle school kids has also doubled in the same period.

Owens also goes on to say that marijuana edible food items are also marketed to children and displayed several examples. Of course, our own pot lobby would claim that this would never happen here due to Prop 64’s rigid prohibitions against such behavior.

Yeah. And Trump is monogamous.

Finally, Governor Owens shared that marijuana-related traffic deaths are up 62%. Let’s also not forget that many of these Colorado stoners are going to work and operating heavy machinery. Wonder how many accidents are involved there?

Next, the former mayor of Denver, Wellington Webb (1991-2003), said that recently in one Denver hospital, 50% of the newborns had marijuana in their system. 50%.

Let’s just say this number may be inflated due to the demographics of the hospital’s location. If we reduce it by half to reflect the average hospital in the state, that is still 25%. 1 in 4 kids starting life exposed to cannabinoids is astounding.

Webb went on to share that little of the money intended for public education from taxation of pot sales ever made it there. He said it mostly went into regulation and, I assume, enforcement in the legal pot industry.

Let’s look a bit more closely at this taxation issue for a moment. I’ve had it explained to me this way. Imagine the black market for marijuana in Colorado as a big black bag. And now imagine the “legal” market as a small white bag.

Supporters of legalization argued that the little white bag would swallow up the big black bag, creating lots of tax revenue to schools. Except, that really didn’t happen.

The white bag was created and the black bag did not go down in size. Why? Because law-abiding folks decided to try pot since it was no longer illegal. The market for pot was simply expanded to consumers who had no experience previously.

Ironically, the black bag also got bigger! Why? Because once law-abiding folks became familiar with the product and the culture, they were more comfortable crossing the line to the black bag where the prices were cheaper due to no taxation.

More users, more addiction, no increased tax revenues, and a host of new societal problems- that is what Prop 64 gives to us. And, we won’t even broach the subject of pot being a “gateway drug” to other nastier drugs of abuse. My personal experience is yes, it is.

If you are part of the undecided, please consider Colorado’s experience. Let’s not repeat the same mistake. Vote no on 64.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita. He can be reached at slunetta63@yahoo.com.

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Steve Lunetta: Potheads rejoice

It’s really a forgone conclusion. Marijuana will soon be legalized in California via Prop 64 and all the potheads will be dancing around in circles with brownies and joints raised to the sky. We should be so proud!

I hate being so negative but I cannot believe that the people of this state are dumb enough to do this. You think we have problems now? Wait until businesses are plagued with pot intoxication and we are avoiding both drunks and stoners on the road.

Lovely.

A recent ABC7 poll shows that 51% of voters are in favor of Prop 64, 40% oppose with a whopping 64.8% undecided. Not sure how the math works on that. Maybe of the 36% decided, 51% are in favor. Guess the good folks over at ABC7 are already taking a celebratory puff? (in fairness, I pulled this stat off a pro-64 website so ABC7 may be clean)

Hopefully, this means that many folks have not made up their minds.

We just came back from Arizona where the good voters there are also trying to make up their minds regarding their own pot legalization proposition, numbered 205.

In California, the media seems to be treating Prop 64 like a done deal. Not so in Arizona. The coverage and conflict are heated. I saw an ad on TV that really got me thinking. It seemed to answer a question that I have had for a while now: how is it working in Colorado?

Colorado legalized pot 4 years ago and, while the data is still coming in, we have a bit clearer picture of what it will look like here in 4 years.

Former Colorado Governor Bill Owens (1999-2007) in a television spot I saw had some very interesting things to say about the “Colorado Experiment.” Owens said that his state now leads the nation in teenage marijuana use.

This seems to jive with stats I have heard that pot use in middle school kids has also doubled in the same period.

Owens also goes on to say that marijuana edible food items are also marketed to children and displayed several examples. Of course, our own pot lobby would claim that this would never happen here due to Prop 64’s rigid prohibitions against such behavior.

Yeah. And Trump is monogamous.

Finally, Governor Owens shared that marijuana-related traffic deaths are up 62%. Let’s also not forget that many of these Colorado stoners are going to work and operating heavy machinery. Wonder how many accidents are involved there?

Next, the former mayor of Denver, Wellington Webb (1991-2003), said that recently in one Denver hospital, 50% of the newborns had marijuana in their system. 50%.

Let’s just say this number may be inflated due to the demographics of the hospital’s location. If we reduce it by half to reflect the average hospital in the state, that is still 25%. 1 in 4 kids starting life exposed to cannabinoids is astounding.

Webb went on to share that little of the money intended for public education from taxation of pot sales ever made it there. He said it mostly went into regulation and, I assume, enforcement in the legal pot industry.

Let’s look a bit more closely at this taxation issue for a moment. I’ve had it explained to me this way. Imagine the black market for marijuana in Colorado as a big black bag. And now imagine the “legal” market as a small white bag.

Supporters of legalization argued that the little white bag would swallow up the big black bag, creating lots of tax revenue to schools. Except, that really didn’t happen.

The white bag was created and the black bag did not go down in size. Why? Because law-abiding folks decided to try pot since it was no longer illegal. The market for pot was simply expanded to consumers who had no experience previously.

Ironically, the black bag also got bigger! Why? Because once law-abiding folks became familiar with the product and the culture, they were more comfortable crossing the line to the black bag where the prices were cheaper due to no taxation.

More users, more addiction, no increased tax revenues, and a host of new societal problems- that is what Prop 64 gives to us. And, we won’t even broach the subject of pot being a “gateway drug” to other nastier drugs of abuse. My personal experience is yes, it is.

If you are part of the undecided, please consider Colorado’s experience. Let’s not repeat the same mistake. Vote no on 64.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita. He can be reached at slunetta63@yahoo.com.

About the author

Steve Lunetta

Steve Lunetta

Raging, far-centrist conservative moderate with a slightly tongue-in-cheek humorist approach.

  • Gary Horton

    Steve,

    A good column and you make your point. However, there’s also input from Washington and Seattle.

    Their law passed about a year or more ago. When you go into the city you see pot shops tucked around the grittier, industrial parts of town. They are of no particular stand out – usually a green cross sign or something like that. No lines of people queued up to get high.

    My daughter is 30, perhaps of prime pot smoking age. Im sure she used it many times more than once in college. She’s got bright genius friends, and she has friends that are more regular folk. She gathers from her wide group of association pretty much a “meh” about the pot laws. Yes, it’s legal. “So what?”

    Pot seems to be no big deal in Seattle. Yeah, you may use it, but most don’t and never will. If you want a joint you buy it and smoke it at home or at some party. It’s still not common and doesn’t appear to get betting more so.

    Folks go home and down a third of a bottle of vodka or a bottle of wine. That’s common. And it accumulates over the years with diabetes and heaven knows what else.

    I am no great advocate of pot. But I also don’t see it as Satan’s vapor. Make it legal, keep it well regulated, and get some standards out about what comprises intoxication for the purposes of community safety.

    We are supposedly a free people. With something so much akin to the ever-present booze in America… should a puff really be that big of a deal?

    – Gary

    • tech

      “But I also don’t see it as Satan’s vapor.”

      The opprobrium is reserved for Satan’s liquid in barber shops and salons, right Gary?

      By the way, thanks for another confirmation of my maxim about marijuana conversations. It is: Alcohol will inevitably be included in any discussion of marijuana.

      • Brian Baker

        You’re right, tech. There’s ALWAYS that attempt at equivalency.

        It completely ignores the fact that we ALREADY have a lot of problems with alcohol abuse, and legalizing MJ simply ADDS to the problems.

        • hopeful

          As I recall, Tech, I have repeatedly argued FOR legalization without once mentioning the alcohol equivalency that you claim is ALWAYS used 🙂

          My opinion has not changed, and I will be voting YES on Proposition 64 for all the reasons I have previously stated.

          • Brian Baker

            Maybe you don’t, hopeful, but SOMEONE does. Always.

            Like tech, I have yet to see any discussion on the topic without that attempt at equivalency thrown in by somebody.

          • tech

            As I’ve noted before, you are an exception that doesn’t disprove the rule, hopeful.

            I point it out so you notice how it occurs invariably and I keep receiving the same response from you. In fact you hadn’t posted in this thread yet.

            Shall I save this text for next time you mention your exception? 😛

      • indy

        I’m not surprised that the ‘statistics’ being cited by the Op-ed writer since many groups opposed to legalization of marijuana now want to ‘see’ more than they did before.

        But let’s be realistic . . . people have smoked marijuana for decades in CA and we see no real abuse or problems.

        Most of the problems are from excessive ‘legal’ alcohol consumption.

        And I agree with Gary . . . many that use marijuana don’t ‘smoke and drive’ . . . they use it as an alternative to alcohol when home relaxing.

        As far as taxes go: Colorado Raised More Tax Revenue From Marijuana Than From Alcohol
        http://time.com/4037604/colorado-marijuana-tax-revenue/

        “Legal recreational marijuana is a boon for tax revenues in Colorado, according to new figures from the state’s Department of Revenue, outpacing revenue from alcohol taxes in the fiscal year ending on June 30.

        Colorado collected almost $70 million in marijuana taxes during that time, nearly double the $42 million collected from alcohol taxes. The state had a tax holiday for marijuana on Wednesday, an event that was welcomed by consumers and producers alike. The sales tax holiday underscores the sheer productivity of marijuana taxes, Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, told the Colorado Spring Business Journal.”

        Indy: Likewise, the saving to law enforcement giving our police more time to investigate ‘real crime’ versus some moral war that was put forth by religious conservatives . . . not to mention the incarceration tax savings of about $35,000.00 per year per nonviolent drug user using marijuana for ‘private and personal’ use.

        I would have hoped a ‘fiscal conservative’ would have understood this basic ‘tax’ math . . . lowering taxes for services wasted locking up folks that smoked marijuana.

        And the ‘gateway drug’ talking point? Suggest the Op-ed writer get beyond partisan conservative WOD drug sites and see the other side of things:

        Marijuana as a Gateway Drug: The Myth That Will Not Die
        http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/29/marijuna-as-a-gateway-drug-the-myth-that-will-not-die/

        Most of the fear put forth by conservatives over things that violate their ‘core beliefs’ never come to pass . . . as history shows.

        Let’s pass Prop 64 and move on . . .

        • Brian Baker

          “… people have smoked marijuana for decades in CA and we see no real abuse or problems.”

          Complete denial of facts and reality. PLUS it’s been illegal all the while.

          “Most of the problems are from excessive ‘legal’ alcohol consumption.”

          Right. So now you want to ADD to those problems by legalizing MJ?

          What a fool.

          • indy

            It’s always helpful to actually read the reality: But let’s be realistic . . . people have smoked marijuana for decades in CA and we see no real abuse or problems.

  • Brian Baker

    So, let’s see.

    If you want to fire up a smoke — the tobacco kind — you’ve got to comply with all kinds of restrictions. Tobacco is the devil’s tool, after all, even though no one’s ever been in a traffic accident from a nicotine overdose or anything like that. People will glare at you, and mutter curses at you. You are, after all, a social miscreant.

    But you want to fire up a doobie? Cool! We’re down with that, dude!

  • noonan

    You guys know pot is a weed and weeds are fairly easy to grow, right? The fact is that pot is more less legal already in this state. If you’re caught with an ounce or less, it’s a ticket. I also know people who know people and many of them don’t even purchase it anymore, they have friends that grow it and it’s just given away.

    And finally Mr. Lunetta, your snarky “potheads rejoice” reminds me of how the left reacts to a lot of things. They put you down and call you a name and act high and mighty and proclaim they are better than you! Before my Grandmother died she weighed less than 90 pounds. There was nothing wrong with her other than she was old and had no appetite. I’m not ashamed to admit I was a conduit in getting her some edibles because it was still illegal in her state. She was thusly introduced to the munchies and gained a little weight back. I now medical use is different that widespread legalization, I just don’t think it’s the end of the world. You will indulge or you wont. I will encourage my kids to not indulge the same a cigarettes and booze.

  • Nishka

    “no one’s ever been in a traffic accident from a nicotine overdose or anything like that.”
    But there have been traffic accidents from trying to light a cigarette will driving !!!!!!!!!!

    • tech

      Oh? Tell us about your accident.

      In fact, details of your make/model/year of automobile and plate number would be useful to proactively ensure community safety.

      • Brian Baker

        😀

  • Nishka

    “Oh? Tell us about your accident.” WHAT ACCIDENT?????????

    • tech

      Oh, oh! Smoking mother nature AND memory loss.

      Thanks goodness you have Obamacare, right?

      • tech

        *thank

      • Brian Baker

        It flew right over her head, tech.

        Are you surprised?

        • tech

          Nope! 😀