Adult Use of Marijuana Act debated at Grass Valley forum
Rocklin Police Chief Ron Lawrence assured the crowd at Tuesday’s forum on Proposition 64 that he wasn’t going to talk about “reefer madness.”
“This isn’t about reefer madness,” the chief said. “This is about local control.”
Lawrence, representing the California Police Chiefs Association and an opponent of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, said that Prop 64 would remove many of those controls currently used by local governments. People could legally grow six plants in their homes regardless of a local ordinance. The state, he argued, potentially could allow a grower to operate in a county that wants it banned.
Retired Superior Court Judge Jim Gray, in favor of Prop 64, said the measure on the Nov. 8 state ballot isn’t perfect. However, it would raise tax revenue through the sale of marijuana and provide government control over the unregulated drug.
Both men spoke to about 70 people at a forum sponsored by the Nevada County Democrats. Each gave a presentation bolstering their arguments.
Lawrence focused on a loss of local control, as well as what he called increased traffic crashes since legalization occurred in Colorado and Washington.
Lawrence also pointed to taxes that would be raised by legal marijuana, arguing the high cost of recreational cannabis would help the black market.
“None of it goes to your local police department,” Lawrence said of the taxes. “None of it goes to your local sheriff’s office.”
Gray countered that the government couldn’t eliminate marijuana. He argued that it should be regulated, controlled and taxed.
The government, Gray said, could ensure harmful substances aren’t included in marijuana sold legally.
“Quality control is a huge, huge issue,” Gray added.
Lawrence said he remains open minded about marijuana policy, but argued that Prop 64 isn’t the best path for California. He advised waiting another two years before tackling the issue.
Gray said opponents of an issue will always ask for more time.
“It isn’t the best, but it’s an awful lot better than what we have now,” Gray said.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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