What Does Prop 64 Really Bring to California?

Regardless of what you think about the legal use of marijuana for non-medical purposes, you should understand what Prop 64 really means.

Prop 64 is being pushed by big money interests to commercialize and market recreational marijuana. Many people think that no one should go to jail for smoking a little pot. That is not what this Prop is about. Commercialization and marketing of marijuana means that it will be marketed and advertised to adults. What does that mean for our kids?

Alcohol is not supposed to be marketed and advertised to kids. So, do kids turn off the TV when beer ads are shown? Apparently not, since alcohol is the most abused drug among California teen-agers.

Alcohol costs California billions of dollars for the social problems it creates, and leads the country as number one for alcohol consumption.


California is the largest alcohol market in the United States. In 2005 alone,Californians consumed almost 14 billion alcoholic drinks, which contributed to many severe and potentially fatal alcohol-related illnesses and conditions. Alcohol use also causes violent and non-violent crimes, as well as injuries and traffic collisions. While several studies have estimated the magnitude and cost of these problems nationally and others have analyzed underage drinking costs, no overall cost estimate at the state level currently exists for California. We present the first comprehensive estimate of the cost of alcohol consumption in California. 


Alcohol consumption in California led to an estimated 9,439 deaths and 921,929 alcohol-related problems, such as crime and injury in 2005. The economic cost of these problems is estimated at between $35.4 billion and $42.2 billion. Our main estimate is $38.5 billion, of which $5.4 billion was for medical and mental health spending, $25.3 billion in work losses, and $7.8 billion in criminal justice spending, property damage and public program costs. In addition, alcohol is responsible for severe reductions in individuals’ quality of life in California. We estimate that the disability caused by injury, the personal anguish of violent crime victims, and the life years lost to fatality are the largest costs imposed by alcohol. The total value for this reduced quality of life in California is between $30.3 billion and $60.0 billion. Our main estimate for quality-of-life costs is $48.8 billion


Do you think that legalizing marijuana will give us less of a drug problem? Do you want your kids eating THC-laced gummy bears on the way to school? Just as alcohol is regulated, so would pot. But the kids don’t seem to have much trouble getting their hands on alcohol, and there is no reason to think they could not figure out how to get marijuana, particularly when the edibles come in the form of candy bars, “pot tarts”, and chewing gum. A young patient of mine from Colorado Springs told me that pot shops are now as common as 7-11’s in Colorado.

Sound public drug policies are supposed to encourage less addiction and abuse. More drug use of any kind creates social problems that harm communities and families and clog social services. Regardless of whether or not you think that pot smoking should be decriminalized, realize that Prop 64 is not sound policy because it puts big money interests ahead of the well-being of families, kids and the community. It will allow George Soros, the largest investor in Monsanto, and Sean Parker (cofounder of Napster and first president of Facebook) to make billions of dollars when pot is advertised like cola drinks. Marketing is always aimed at the most vulnerable and gullible populations, so targeting young people, minorities, and under-served communities makes good business sense if money is your sole motivation.  It is speculated that Monsanto will create GMO marijuana seeds and may even intend to corner and patent the seeds in order to dominate the world market.

80% of addictive substances like tobacco and alcohol are consumed by 20% of the population. Drug manufacturers never want you to be responsible in your behavior. They want you dependent so they can have you as a life-long customer. Check this out to follow the money on Prop 64.

This is not about adult freedoms. It is about the “freedom” of greed and vested interest to market their wares to vulnerable people. Watch the celebrities and sports stars get on board for marketing purposes if Prop 64 passes. And what will our kids think about drug use then?

How harmful is marijuana to developing children? This has been a controversial topic, but it makes sense to be concerned about any chemical substance that is introduced to an immature system. For details about neuropsychological decline and decline in IQ for heavy users who started as adolescents see this study. c

This is not your grandmother’s pot anymore. I recall observing motivational issues in heavy pot smokers among my college classmates in the 70’s when the THC content was 1%. Through years of hybridization and sharing of seeds and plants, the marijuana growers have created plants that have a THC content that ranges from 16 to 32%, and may go even higher, as will you, if you smoke it. It would take 17.5 joints of the 1975 vintage to equal 1 joint today.

Marijuana plants do have medicinal properties and one company in particular is in late-stag testing. But guess what? It is not THC that is medicinal- it is another component of the plant called cannabidiol or CBD. When THC goes up, CBD goes down and vice-versa. So, the hallucinogenic and “high” aspect is not medicinal, but just the opposite. CBD has anti-inflammatory effects that hold promise for the treatment of pain and inflammation and a variety of conditions. We don’t need commercialized high dose THC marijuana for that purpose.

We may need reform regarding our laws about marijuana, but only 1% of our prison population is incarcerated for possession.

Since marijuana is already easily available in California, Prop 64 is not needed and, if passed, may cause great harm to our kids and teenagers at a time when their developing minds and neurological systems are most vulnerable.

“Other symptoms of Colorado’s pot culture include increased use among teens, resulting in educational problems in middle schools and high schools, a spike in “edibles”-related emergency room visits, consumption by children and pets resulting in illness and death and regulatory confusion surrounding public consumption and enforcement.”

“Marijuana-related emergency room visits grew 57 percent in two years, from 8,198 in 2011 to 12,888 in 2013, the study found, with a 29 percent increase in emergency room visits for teens. The report also found that drug-related suspensions and expulsions increased 32 percent between the 2008-2009 and 2012-2013 school years. The majority of expulsions were for marijuana violations.”

Raising teenagers is difficult enough these days. I am very grateful that my sons’ schools did not have more of a drug problem. It is now up to us to decide what kind of drug problems our kids and grandkids will face going forward. Prop 64 will surely make them worse.