The establishmentarian revolt against legalizing marijuana (see previous posts: 1, 2, 3) has entered into its hysterical phase, as evidenced by our latest batch of No-on-Prop.-19 newspaper editorials. First up, a joint unsigneder by at least three MediaNews properties east of the L.A. River:
Newspapers: Pasadena Star-News/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/Whittier Daily News
Sophomoric pot joke: The whole editorial is a kind of sophomoric pot joke, though as you'll see they're not trying to be funny.
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "[T]he ballot sponsors 'forgot' to prescribe an action level for driving under the influence. This poorly written law would release chaos on the CHP and other law enforcement agencies. How can they test a driver when there's no standard?"
Bonus random statism: "There is no provision for a specific tax on legal marijuana. The measure leaves that up to whatever governmental entity wants to do so. But there is a provision that allows people to cultivate marijuana in their yards and even on empty lots. And how is the state going to tax cannabis plants? Knock on everyone's door and collect? Use Google Earth? Call Homeland Security? Will this really take the drug cartels out of the business?"
WTF: "The guy in the cubicle next to you at work is stoned. There's an increased likelihood the driver of the car in the next lane on the freeway is under the influence of pot. Commercial entities openly selling pot in storefronts near where you shop, or perhaps in your child or grandchild's college dormitory. California's tourism industry attracts families to its theme parks, state parks and beaches. California's natural wonders and temperate weather are a draw for millions of tourists each year from Kansas to China and Germany to Australia. Now, that will change. Our state will draw visitors from other states (every other one) where marijuana is illegal, and from citizens of countries looking for a legal high. It will be bigger than Amsterdam, where criminal operations have flocked since the legal marijuana coffee houses have opened for business. Increased crime is a problem authorities in the Netherlands are desperately trying to rectify. This is not our vision of a bright California future. Yet these scenarios are just a conservative estimate of what will happen if voters legalize the drug."
This next 68,000-circulation daily is notable both for its location in pot-growing country, and also because it's the only sizeable California paper (to my knowledge) still owned by The New York Times.
Newspaper: Santa Rosa Press-Democrat
Sophomoric pot joke: n/a
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: "We recognize that there's probably a good argument to be made for legalizing marijuana. But this is not it."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "Proposition 19 is so poorly worded and filled with loopholes that it's likely to create more confusion than clarity."
Bonus random statism: "And, as with Proposition 215, which legalized medicinal uses of marijuana, it would still leave California law in conflict with federal law, creating more regulatory and policy gridlock at all levels of government."
WTF: "There's no guarantee that legalizing marijuana in California will reduce the number of illicit pot farms on public and private property. It may do just the opposite[.]"
Newspaper: Los Angeles Daily News
Sophomoric pot joke: n/a
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "Besides, permitting anyone over 21 to possess, grow or transport up to an ounce of marijuana, it would also allow local governments to regulate and tax production, distribution and sale of marijuana in a way that suits their jurisdiction. This patchwork approach to regulation is the most alarming aspect of the measure. With every city and county in the state coming up with different marijuana laws, the resulting confusion could make the lawless and explosive growth of medical marijuana dispensaries in recent years seem like the good old days."
Bonus random statism: "The real question of this initiative is whether California wants to take on the federal government and allow any and every city in the state to make up its own rules about selling, manufacturing and transporting an illegal substance. And the Daily News thinks the answer to the question is an emphatic 'no.'"
WTF: "Proposition 19 should also make employers nervous, as it appears to give marijuana users a clear right to smoke on the job."
Newspaper: Bakersfield Californian
Sophomoric pot joke: "Pot Initiative's Issues Too Hazy"
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: "Though we acknowledge that some of Prop. 19's goals are worthy, the initiative would likely cause as many problems as it would solve."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "Prop. 19 advocates say legalization will not infringe on businesses' drug-banning policies, but legal ambiguities cloud the question of employer rights vs. employee rights. Marijuana's effect is not the same, or as easy to detect, as alcohol. Will employers still be able to screen job applicants for marijuana use if that drug is legal? How will fair employment laws figure into the scenario? If Prop. 19 passes, the Legislature will have things to sort out."
Bonus random statism: "Small quantities could be grown on private property, but how would a municipality control it? What's to stop a grower from covertly selling to neighbors and friends? What about property crime? Wouldn't a backyard full of marijuana plants make an inviting target for thieves? Adolescent fence-hoppers?"
WTF: "Many California counties will choose not to allow regulated marijuana sales, depriving themselves of potential tax revenue and thereby encouraging an almost-legal black market—which could simply price its product just below prevailing retail prices."
Newspaper: Monterey County Herald
Sophomoric pot joke: n/a
We-don't-like-the-Drug-War-either-but: "Proposition 19 is the right idea, but the wrong law."
Legal confusion is worse than criminalizing non-violent personal activity: "Proposition 19 would leave California law in conflict with federal law, leaving marijuana possession and cultivation in a legal limbo similar to the situation that medical marijuana operations find themselves in now."
Bonus random statism: "Each of California's 478 cities could create its own regulations on cultivation and distribution. Entrepreneurial cities might become hotbeds of marijuana-related industry, while cities not wanting to take part for whatever reason would find themselves continuing to police unwelcome enterprises. The potential for a corrupting influence on local government seems high."
WTF: "If the current measure truly would eliminate all marijuana arrests and marijuana prosecutions while providing a sustainable new source of revenue to fill the current holes in government budgets, it would merit support. Unfortunately, it does not. Proposition 19 wouldn't end federal prosecutions[.]"
By my count that's at least 16 of the Golden State's top 25 daily newspapers weighing in on Prop. 19, with all 16 opposed.