Lying about the potential impacts of marijuana legalization is often par-for-the-course for law enforcement, but this election season reformers are calling foul.
The proponents of California legalization initiative Proposition 64 announced Thursday a lawsuit against their opposition for making false and misleading statements to the public.
The official “Arguments in Opposition to Prop. 64” contain false and misleading statements regarding advertising and consumer protections, according to Prop. 64 supporters.
“Defenders of the failed war on marijuana are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts,” stated Jason Kinney, spokesperson for Yes on 64, in a release. “More so than any I’ve seen in recent memory, the ballot arguments submitted with a straight face by the opponents fundamentally and factually misrepresent this ballot measure and are riddled with obvious falsehoods. These aren’t evidence-based arguments – they are scare tactics – and they’re sadly reminiscent of the ‘reefer madness’-style disinformation campaigns that subverted honest dialogue around this issue for decades.”
“California’s voters demand and deserve better – and I have every confidence that an objective legal authority will reject these false and misleading statements out of hand,” he stated.
Prop. 64’s lawsuit demands that the official “Argument Against Proposition 64 or the Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor in Proposition 64” be rejected, deleted, or substantially amended.
Prop. 64 is a marijuana decriminalization and regulation measure that would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of bud in public and grow six plants. The multibillion-dollar cannabis industry would be subject to first-ever consumer protection regulations and licensure.
Prop. 64 is one of the most endorsed legalization initiatives of all time, with support from the California Academy of Preventative Medicine; the California Medical Association; sitting California Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom; bipartisan elected officials including Democratic U.S. Reps. Ted Lieu and Jared Huffman and Republican U.S. Rep Dana Rohrabacher; and an unprecedented coalition of environmental, business owners, small farmers, civil rights, public safety and social justice groups.
According to campaign-finance reports, The No on Prop 64 is primarily comprised of groups affected by the end of the war on weed — such as prison bosses, police chiefs, rehab clinics, prescription drug makers and alcohol interests — who stand to lose billions of dollars on legalization's shift away from arrests, prison, pills and booze. About 20,000 Californians will be arrested and adjudicated for pot this year, at a cost of about $100 million in tax dollars, state officials report.
The Prop. 64 lawsuit names opposition leader Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other argument authors. In the argument against, Feinstein says Prop. 64 will expose children “to ads promoting marijuana gummy candy and brownies.”
In reality, Prop. 64 prohibits pot products “designed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods," the ballot initiative states. Prop. 64 also bans weed ads aimed at people under 21.
“[I]t is provably false to suggest children will in any way be exposed to advertisements promoting marijuana gummy candy or brownies,” Prop. 64 states.
Prop. 64’s foes also misstate the initiative would “repeal countless consumer protections,” when in fact “it builds on those laws and protections.”
Opponents of prohibition’s end also argue Prop. 64 “rolls back the total prohibition of smoking ads on TV.” That’s false, since multiple federal laws, not state laws, control advertising on television stations, which are federally licensed.
Opponents of marijuana law reform have begun to lean heavily on "what about the children" arguments.
Pro-cannabis groups are also claiming to speak for children. Moms United To End the War on Drugs states that the "country's failed drug policies" have wrecked havoc on the American family.
"Over 30,000 people are in prison in California for a drug offense; two-thirds for a possession offense," Moms United noted.
The No on 64 campaign is currently paying for targeted Google ads stating, that Prop 64: "Legalizes smoking ads on TV in CA."