Marijuana

Colorado Politicians Lend Lies to Pot Prohibitionists in Arizona and California

Opponents of legalization promote misleading claims about crime, taxes, underage use, and traffic fatalities.

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CBS News

In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper conceded that marijuana legalization so far has turned out better than he expected but suggested that other states should wait for more data before they follow Colorado's example. "I urge caution," he said a week before voters in five states decide whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use. "My recommendation has been to go slowly and probably wait a couple years and let's make sure we get some good vertical studies to make sure that there isn't a dramatic increase in teenage usage, that there isn't a significant increase in abuse like while driving. We don't see it yet…but we don't have enough data to make that decision."

That's a perfectly reasonable position, if you assume that continued prohibition imposes no costs and that there is no moral problem with punishing people for actions that violate no one's rights. Hickenlooper opposed Amendment 64, Colorado's legalization initiative, on the grounds that his state should not be the first to take the risk of tolerating cannabis consumption without a doctor's note. But he admits that the sky has not fallen as a result, while reserving the possibility that it may yet fall. Last May, after repeatedly saying he would reverse legalization if he had "a magic wand," Hickenlooper told the Los Angeles Times, "If I had that magic wand now, I don't know if I would wave it. It's beginning to look like it might work."

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy

Hickenlooper is a model of intellectual honesty compared to former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, who appear in a TV spot urging Arizona voters to reject Proposition 205, the legalization initiative on the ballot in that state next week. "Four years ago, Colorado voted to legalize marijuana," Owens says in the ad. "Colorado now leads the nation in teen use of marijuana." Since that was also true before legalization, Owens' implication is more than a little misleading. Owens also claims that "marijuana edibles are marketed to children," which is simply not true, since a minimum purchase age of 21 is strictly enforced and regulations prohibit advertising, packaging, and even product shapes that might appeal to kids.

Owens adds that "marijuana-related traffic deaths have increased 62 percent." The source for that figure is a recent report from the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which counted "fatalities involving operators testing positive for marijuana." That number includes drivers who tested positive for inactive metabolites or THC levels too low to affect their performace. The fact that a driver "test[ed] positive for marijuana" therefore does not mean he was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash, let alone that marijuana contributed to the crash. Contrary to what you might assume, "marijuana-related traffic deaths" are not necessarily traffic deaths related to marijuana.

Next up in the ad is Webb, who says, "We were promised new money for education. Instead that money is going to marijuana regulation and the pot industry." As three Colorado legislators pointed out yesterday in an email to the leaders of the No on 205 campaign, the Colorado Department of Education got about $138 million in marijuana tax money in the two most recent fiscal years, which "far exceeds the amount that was distributed for the purposes of regulating marijuana" (about $21 million).

Also contributing to the confusion is Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, who last month wrote a letter for opponents of legalization in California that claims "the Denver Police Department is busier enforcing marijuana laws and investigating crimes directly related to marijuana, including murderers [sic], robberies and home invasions, than any other time in the history of the city." As The Denver Post notes, "The Denver Police Department's own analysis [of] the city's rising crime rates could not pin blame on marijuana. While some major crimes such as homicides, aggravated assaults and auto thefts have risen since pot was legalized, population growth is more likely the cause, the report said." John Hudak, who studies marijuana policy at the Brookings Instititution, called the letter "a pretty strategic use of data that ends up being insulting to the public."

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  1. If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it.

    “A magic wand” is just another name for absolute power. Anybody who seriously thinks about what they would do with absolute power should in no way ever be trusted near the levers of power. The only correct response to the question of what you would do if you had absolute power is a horrified “I’d make a law that nobody could ever have absolute power.”

    1. How about waving the magic wand so as to put all communists, progressives, socialists, and statists in camps?

      1. Put them in kindergarten, where they freaking belong.

      2. If you have a magic wand, then you’d just make them change their minds. Unless you are a mean, evil sort of person who likes putting people in camps.

        And if you wanted to put all statists in camps, you’d probably have to go the Wonko the Sane route and just fence in a small area and invite all the other anarchists to come join you.

        1. Zeb, they’d be given a chance to repent and sin no more…… 🙂

    2. I am no fan of Hickenloper on marijuana but give the guy a break. He could have used the power he did have to totally discredit the recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado and really fucked up the regulations making it impossible to actually buy and sell marijuana in the state. BUT HE DIDN’T, so he is not totalitarian you try to make him out to be because of his “magic wand” comment. He listened to the voters and acted on good faith even on something he disagreed with. Hats off to the man.

      1. BUT HE DIDN’T, so he is not totalitarian you try to make him out to be because of his “magic wand” comment. He listened to the voters and acted on good faith even on something he disagreed with. Hats off to the man.

        Moreover, the magic wand isn’t exactly about absolute power. If anything, it’s about recognizing that even ‘absolute power’ should be focused and can have restraints. Also, especially in this case, considering he’s referring to a bit of regression and refusing to wave the magic wand.

        Considering the number of out-and-out God complexes running in the public sphere today, I’m certainly willing to give someone who may be using the term ‘magic wand’ as a metaphor for ‘handling complex and intricate details’ a pass.

        1. Hick has ties to the brewing industry (Wynkoop Brewery) and owned (maybe still does) a bar here in Colorado Springs. He might not want the competition in the intoxicant market. I’m not a fan of the man on this issue and am not surprised that he and fellow prohibitionists Owens and Webb were featured on a CBS program.

        2. “complex and intricate details”?

          You like, you buy, you smoke.

          You like, you grow, you sell.

      2. “If I had a magic wand that I could have waved and reversed the decision of the voters ? the day after the election, I would have waved my wand.” [12/26/14, Denver Post]

        How is that not saying that if he had absolute power he would use it? I didn’t say he was a totalitarian, I’m saying he’s saying that he would act like a totalitarian if he could. What would you do with your magic wand? What is one thing you feel so strongly about that you are willing to assert with absolute confidence that you are right and everybody else is wrong – and if you had the power you would enforce your viewpoint on everybody else? I worry about anybody with that mentality.

        1. Make DC disappear.

        2. I think “magic wand” is an acknowledgement that that kind of absolute power is impossible. And implies that the action is really practically impossible. It’s a fantasy about what you would do if there were no consequences besides the desired ones.

    3. I know me.

      I’d abuse the hell out of it.

      That’s why I don’t want anyone else to have that kind of power over me.

      1. ^THIS^ This is a line of thinking we should endeavor to instill in our youth if we don’t want our benevolent overlords to continue to gain power.

      2. dun-dun-dun
        dun-dun-dun
        d-d-d-dun-dun-dun

        You take a mortal man.

        dun-dun-dun
        dun-dun-dun
        d-d-d-dun-dun-dun

        And put him in control.

        dun-dun-dun
        dun-dun-dun
        d-d-d-dun-dun-dun

        Watch him become a god.

        dun-dun-dun
        dun-dun-dun
        d-d-d-dun-dun-dun

        Watch people’s heads a-roll!

    4. I have a magic wand. It looks amazingly similar to “Lucille”, Negan’s baseball bat. With one little wave of my wand, I can cure all the wrong-think that occurs in that void between their ears.

      (Note to NSA: This is hyperbole. I am not making threats to anyone)

      1. Baseball bats? Louisville Sluggers? Its just a short walk to wood chippers.

  2. Prohibitionists have been lying about pot for over a century. They’re as bad as Hillary talking about her e-mail server.

    There’s no reason to expect that legalization would change that.

    1. It isn’t simply prohibitionists. It’s almost all politicians. They are absolutely HORRIFIED at any evidence that the presence won’t do as they are told. Don’t we understand what’s GOOD for us?!?!?

      Doesn’t matter what the cause is; Drug Prohibition, Soda size, plastic bag use, gun control. Thwart their attempts to impose their will and they start huffing and blowing.

      1. Well, since they can all blow me…

  3. You can’t handle the truth!

    1. Almost first. I should have commented before I read the article.

    2. Certainly the Political Class can’t.

  4. This fucker knows what a boon mj taxes are. He just doesn’t want other states to get in on the game.

    1. Actually, he probably doesn’t know or care. He thinks of tax money as an inexhaustible resource, and regards any evidence that the Unwashed are inclined to think for themselves as Simply Awful.

      Guillotine Bait.

  5. …and the downside of pot legalization is that law enforcement will now have THC testing in its bag of money-making tricks.
    Impairment is never the concern. It’s the ruse. But people fall for it cuz y’know the children.

    1. Children, like trees, are a renewable resource. Tape up the mouths of the people preventing their mass replenishment and ‘for the forest’ and ‘for the children’ will lose efficacy – because there are plenty of spares.

  6. Four years ago, Colorado voted to legalize marijuana,” Owens says in the ad. “Colorado now leads the nation in teen use of marijuana.”

    Please kill yourself, Bill Owens. Thank you.

      1. I always read that as a “Democrat I (would) Anger-Fuck”

    1. I’m pro-teenage pot smoking anyway.

      And honestly, what high school student doesn’t smoke weed if that’s what they want to do?

      All of the “what about the children” and worries about diversion to the black market is such a load of crap. It requires you to actually believe that prohibition has worked at all. Guess what, assholes, everyone can already get as much as they want. All legalization does is make it safer and less expensive.

    2. Owens signed off on the extension of prohibition to nicotine when I first moved out here confirming why I couldn’t be a Repub .

  7. “Owens adds that ‘marijuana-related traffic deaths have increased 62 percent.’ The source for that figure is a recent report from the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which counted “fatalities involving operators testing positive for marijuana.”

    Gee, if booze stayed in your system for 30 days after drinking it, maybe we could blame 99% of all traffic deaths on booze. Quick – someone dig up Andrew Volstead and give him a shot of B-12 and some smelling salts.

    1. Someone dig up Andrew Volstead and give him one more brisk kick in the plums.

    2. Maybe we should look at incidence of other foreign substances “involved” in traffic deaths. Blood pressure medication? Anti-depressants?

    3. The increase is almost certainly almost all because of increased testing for cannabis after accidents.

      And even if a driver is actively stoned, that says nothing about whether marijuana was a cause of the accident in any way. If you are sitting, stoned, at a light and you get rear ended, that’s a “marijuana related accident” even though it’s entirely the other guy’s fault.

  8. “In an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper conceded that marijuana legalization so far has turned out better than he expected but suggested that other states should wait for more data before they follow Colorado’s example. “I urge caution,” he said…”

    I urge states to pass recreational marijuana right fucking now. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because Denver is drowning in wanderers with giant backpacks who want to “participate in the marijuana industry,” which apparently means living in a car and smoking marijuana.

    Yes, I’m old and cranky.

    1. Sounds like my teenage years. Second childhood?

      1. Argghhh!

        *shakes cane furiously at spot where gaoxiaen was a moment ago*

    2. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because Denver is drowning in wanderers with giant backpacks who want to “participate in the marijuana industry,” which apparently means living in a car and smoking marijuana.

      That and the cost of housing has gone through the fucking roof.

      As of September 2016, average apartment rent within the city of of Denver, CO is $1573. One bedroom apartments in Denver rent for $1383 a month on average and two bedroom apartment rents average $1768.

      Yeah, that’s not California or DC or NYC levels yet, but it’s a damn sight harder for a working-class family to come up with $1400 plus whatever fees get tacked on just to get a lease. You could buy a house but unless you’re willing to drive about an hour, hour and a half, two hours, you’re looking at $225K minimum for a shit-shack in Aurora or west Denver that hasn’t been cared for in decades.

      1. Californians ruin everything.

  9. Yay for bipartisan dishonesty!

    1. “Bipartisan”; any measure or movement so dishonest or idiotic that it attracts support from both major parties.

  10. “Let’s make sure we get some good vertical studies to make sure that there isn’t a dramatic increase in teenage usage, that there isn’t a significant increase in abuse like while driving. We don’t see it yet?but we don’t have enough data to make that decision.”

    We should keep arresting people and throwing them in jail, destroying families and lives, artificially inflating the income of gangs, etc.–at least until we get enough data to confirm your biases with self-reported surveys of children and traffic statistics?

    Even if there were an uptick in traffic fatalities and children self-reporting use, seems to me that the downsides of the drug war might be worse than the downsides of legalization anyway. That there still haven’t been any upticks of traffic fatalities or child usage statistics is just icing on the cake.

    This kind of thinking must be driven by political concerns about the police unions, prison guard unions, etc. If I could amend the Constitution, prohibiting collective bargaining by public employees would be near the top of my wish list. That evil permeates everything.

    1. Public employees should be banned from voting. Government is its own biggest special interest group.

      1. Public employees over a certain level and the whole class of vote seekers should be hunted like the vermin they are. No bag limit, but hunting licenses very expensive (to pay off the debt these wankers got us into).

      2. I’ve suggested that and people are just horrified…how can you deny some the vote ? Incentives. It’s another area where people get it and don’t get it at the same time.

        1. I’m from the government and I’m here to help. = Shoot to kill on sight.

  11. I’m sorry: I just can get on board with the Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, until they refuse to have child molesters on their posters.

  12. Reason is over here writing about legalized marijuana when I’ve already moved on to legalized heroine and krokodil.

    1. legalized heroine

      Hillary?

    2. Krokodil? I thought that, like Butt Chugging, that had proved to be the product of some hysterical Prohibitionist’s deranged imagination.

      1. +1 VODKA TAMPON RAINBOW PARTY

      2. No, it’s the product of crazy Russian druggies when Russia cracked down on the heroin trade.

  13. Opponents of legalization promote misleading claims about crime, taxes, underage use, and traffic fatalities

    But the hairy palms part is true. So sadly true.

  14. Reefer Apathy, the movie.

  15. It’s been astonishing at how easily the lies of manipulated Colorado statistics get repeated unchallenged. Paper here will publish something on the topic and, perhaps just to appear “balanced”, quote some baptist minister parroting the Colorado stats, with no other word about it even though literally 3 minutes of google research can disprove what the person said. Is that really journalism?

  16. Oh it’s worse than that (Arizona here).

    The first No commercial said, “Denver schools got nothing.” The new commercial says, “Not one dollar got to the classroom.”

    Both claims are nominally true because, um, Colorado’s pot tax goes to fund school CONSTRUCTION, not instruction. So of course, “not one dollar got to the classroom” because the money NEVER “goes to the classroom.” It’s not supposed to “go to the classroom.”

    Denver schools, meanwhile, “got nothing” because Denver DID NOT ASK FOR ANYTHING. They had no school construction projects eligible for the funds until recently.

    And do we need to point out Insys Therapeutics again?

    Almost makes me want to see another Joe Arpaio commercial…

  17. Lawmakers in Colorado have asked that the truth be told about legalization and regulation of marijuana there. This is bad news for folks like Bill Montgomery, Sheila Polk, and Doug Ducey who have consistently gone out of their way to lie to voters in Arizona about prop 205. Please read the communication from lawmakers in Colorado and during the upcoming election let’s rid our state of politicians who operate out of greed to misinform the people of Arizona. Legalize and regulate like alcohol in 2016. Let’s pass 205 to give our kids the funding that our politicians would rather spend on private prisons.

    http://www.9news.com/news/loca…../345064430

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..0e69d1e031

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