Christian medical association head slams Prop. 19
The head of a Christian medical group said recently that legalizing medical marijuana in California through Prop. 19 will worsen social problems such as drugs, marijuana usage by adolescents and family difficulties.
David Stevens, CEO of Christian Medical Association said that medical marijuana is “unnecessary,” and urged Christians, whom he called “the moral compass for society,” to oppose Prop. 19. Stevens is backed by the Pacific Justice Institute, a religious freedom legal defense body. Edwin Meese III, PJI advisory board chair told The Christian Post, “Legalizing marijuana would serve little purpose other than to worsen the [California]’s drug problems [of] addiction, violence, disorder and death.”
Under Prop. 19, California can legalize marijuana under regulated and taxed circumstances. It would permit people aged 21 or older to legally acquire up to one ounce of marijuana, and to grow it in a maximum space of 25 square feet. However, adults would not be allowed to carry it on school grounds, smoke it publicly, or in the presence of minors (below 21), Mercury News reported.
Stevens said that adolescents who use marijuana endure several side effects such as isolation, decreased focus and psychological dysfunction. He also called marijuana a “gateway” drug that could lead to more potent drug use. He told The Christian Post, “We should be talking; we should be speaking out,” he said. “We should be good citizens; we should be standing up for the greater good and marijuana is not the great good.”
The California Catholic Conference noted in a statement that Prop. 19 “could have severe unintended consequences impacting the safety of highways, workplaces and communities.” They expressed concern that the measure’s approval may render California workplaces below standard for federal drug-free environments, CatholicCulture.org said.
Citing a Vatican statement that the use of marijuana is “incompatible with Christian morality,” the conference called on Catholics to dwell on the moral aspect of marijuana use and to vote accordingly, CatholicCulture.org reported.
At a high school in California, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who took a side trip while on a book tour, spoke before students at St. Genevieve in Panorama City. When asked about Prop. 19, Carter said he is against legalizing marijuana. However, he favored decriminalizing it so that people will not be jailed if they only possess small amounts, Tidings Online reported.
Those who endorse the bill include billionaire George Soros who has invested one million dollars to a campaign for its legalization, Reggae singer Ziggy Marley and TV host Montel Williams, all of whom tout its medicinal aspects. Williams, who has multiple sclerosis, told CNN, “I don’t get the same euphoria that other people do. I get neuropathic pain lessening,” The Christian Post reported.
Aside from multiple sclerosis, marijuana is prescribed for the treatment of AIDS and terminal cancer for pain relief and to enhance appetite and weight gain. However, Stevens said that several prescriptions such as Marinol have chemical compounds similar to marijuana and can produce the same results, according to The Christian Post.
According to Mercury News, those who support the legalization of marijuana believe that it is less harmful than alcohol and will save government funds in law enforcement. By raising tax revenue they say it will become harder for young people to access marijuana. Stevens however dismisses such assertions, citing the social cost. He told The Christian Post, “The more marijuana that is out there, the more family issues there are going to be.”
An October poll by the Public Policy Institute of California showed waning support for Prop. 19. The supporters comprised 44 percent, compared to 52 percent the month before, indicating a fall by eight percentage points. The same poll showed that 49 percent oppose Prop. 19 and seven percent are undecided, Mercury News reported.
Another poll by the Los Angeles Times-University of Southern California showed that 51 percent of voters are likely to oppose the bill, and only 39 percent say they will vote for it. Some 10 percent were undecided or did not wish to answer, Mercury News reported.
Larry Gerston, a political science professor of San Jose State told Mercury News, “The rule of thumb for ballot measures is, unless you have close to 60 percent going in, the undecided will flock disproportionately toward ‘No.’ If they haven’t made up their minds by Election Day, they overwhelmingly vote no.”