Say ‘No’ To The Lies; Say ‘Yes’ To Prop. 19

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 29, 2010

    In a last gasp desperate attempt to mislead California voters, Prop. 19 opponents — led by the California Chamber of Commerce — have released radio ads alleging that the measure allows employees to be ‘high’ in the workplace, undermines the state’s already downtrodden economy, and will cost the state billions of dollars in federal funding. (Listen to the Cal Chamber ads here and here.)

    Both The Huffington Post and the Sacramento Bee have condemned the ads as distortion. Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim has even uncovered a Cal Chamber internal memo acknowledging that most voters support Prop. 19 — that is, until Californians are told outright lies about it by the Cal Chamber. (See excerpt below.)

    The Chamber has just completed an extensive survey to determine the likelihood of prop 19 being passed by the voters and what arguments are most persuasive. … Most voters have made up their mind on whether marijuana possession should be illegal and there seems to be a majority of likely voters who no longer think i[t] should carry criminal penalties. On the other hand, though, when voters are told that employers would not be able to control marijuana use at work, proposition 19 is opposed by a majority of voters.

    Today’s Los Angeles Times online has an excellent commentary demolishing the Cal Chamber’s disingenuous ad campaign. Below is an excerpt:

    The California Chamber’s reefer madness
    via The Los Angeles Times

    [Prop. 19] explicitly forbid[s] the use of marijuana in public and in the workplace and maintain legal restrictions that penalize those who are under the influence while on the job or on California’s roadways. According to an analysis published by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, “Employers would retain existing rights to address consumption of marijuana that impairs an employee’s job performance.”

    In other words, employers would still have the power to punish those who get high on the job. Consuming marijuana at home and then showing up to work impaired by its effects would still be banned under Proposition 19, just as employers can punish their employees for arriving to work drunk. Further, because Proposition 19 would maintain prohibitions on using marijuana in public, employees would also be forbidden from consuming pot during their work breaks. Employers have and will maintain the right to establish, develop and enforce any policy they choose that does not violate any existing statute after Proposition 19 passes, just as before.

    So why would the Chamber of Commerce claim otherwise? Opponents of Proposition 19 appear to be fixated on one particular clause in the proposition — language that happens to be clearly written and very specific — which requires employers to acknowledge an employee’s impaired job performance before they can discipline or fire them. Of course, this is the same standard that exists for alcohol. Off-the-job alcohol consumption that has no adverse effect on workplace performance is acceptable, while alcohol use that impairs workplace performance, including the use of alcohol in legally acceptable situations and environments, is grounds for discipline or termination.

    Further, Proposition 19 would in no way undermine federal drug-free workplace rules or California’s ability to receive federal grants. Just as the state’s 14-year experience with legalized medical marijuana has never once jeopardized or cost California federal funding, Proposition 19 wouldn’t either. In fact, in 2008, the California Supreme Court determined in Ross vs. RagingWire Telecom that legal protections allowing for the use of marijuana in private do not extend to the workplace. End of story.

    It’s disappointing, though entirely predictable, that those with vested interests in the status quo would resort to these sort of lies and distortions in their efforts to confuse voters. Those of you with last minute questions regarding Prop. 19, what it would do and what it would not do, are welcome to read NORML’s word-by-word analysis of the measure here or read specific sections of the act here. If you reside in California and you wish to help the Campaign get out the vote this weekend, you can sign up to volunteer here.

    73 responses to “Say ‘No’ To The Lies; Say ‘Yes’ To Prop. 19”

    1. W says:

      This propaganda won’t work, fellas. Prop 19 will pass.

      W : )

    2. Spxder says:

      If prop.19 opponents and Cali’s chamber of congress are trying to spread more lies through radio ads, then I think NORML should do the same but with truth. Make radio ads that expose the lies and truths about cannabis and why it should be legalized. Do a good job and prop. 19 will have a better chance! Remember that “flower” video? Well that would be perfect for tv! Let’s do this!

    3. Freedomsomeday says:

      “The Chamber of Commerce does not support the laundering of drug money.”

      Say that 10 times fast in front of a mirror while spinning and Harry Anslinger will appear!

    4. J.R. says:

      Only two times have I wished to not be a United States Citizen. Once when they said it was my duty to kill people I didnt even know, and again when they said they were taking everything I owned and my freedom because I was taking care of my mate’s migraines. I pray to God that the California voters begin to give me back the America I was raised to believe in. I am old now and dont dare use anything my doctors dont tell me to, haven’t toked in forty years. Please , God, let me see the will of the people rather than the will of the powers that be done, just once, and I will go quietly.
      Peace and Love on you all

    5. Angie says:

      I highly recommend flagging that video while you’re there.

    6. Here’s a case of another deceptive or distorted ad i saw recently here in Cali.

      It shows a vehicle that has plowed into a big yellow schoolbus & the driver causing the accident was stoned on Marijuana . Of course Alcohol loves using Children as their defense when it’s actually the opposite of what they are attempting to make you believe .It’s most always alcohol that causes accidents . Of course by using distorted ads such as this many people are convinced Marijuana causes drivers to plow into school buses and their drugs don’t therefor will vote no on Proposition 19 .

      Last night i watched a TV show called ” Speeders ” and aproxaimately 50 % of the drivers Law Enforcement pulled over for speeding were driving under the influence of Alcohol . One boy was underage & driving , drunk ,was beligerant & spat on the arresting Officer’s face . Yet , BIG Alcohol repeatedly tells you that with Marijuana legalization kids will be increasingly using it & it’ll make our Highways more dangerous when the truth of the matter is kids using Alcohol are making our Highways less safe & dangerous so it is the opposite of what they are trying to make you believe . Alcohol is the most concern to Law enforcement when it comes to driving.

      In the words of Lt.Chris Caltren of the , Redland’s police Department , ” While Redlands police arrest drivers under the influence of marijuana, it’s not the most likely narcotic they encounter in traffic
      stops “.

      On Prop . 19 , he says ” We’ll see if it even becomes an issue,” Catren said. “We don’t want to bleed before we’ve been cut.”

      …. ” and Prop. 19 won’t disrupt the way Redlands police enforce marijuana possession much, Catren said. Adults carrying less than an ounce aren’t arrested now “.

    7. Matt Buompensiero says:

      Stub your toe at work? You might have done that because you smoked reefer 29 days ago… Finger lopped off? Better clear your head and pee in a cup before we’re willing to reattach it…

      People need to make a stand against the paranoia that is the Drug testing industry. It stands to take a severe hit if pot is legalized.

      With only a handful of exceptions, having a job should not = 24 hour lifestyle, like the drug testing industry demands…especially if you’ve got a McJob.

    8. Freedom says:

      I wish these evil greedy prohibs would just disappear like the dinosaurs they are.

      The thing is that once cannabis is legal, not only in Cali but nation wide, and the sky doesnt fall. Peoples trust of government, local state and federal, will fall to an all time low……..time to run these criminals out.

    9. Scarab S. says:

      All this over a plant…

      When is it going to pass that we, as a single human Race, can step forward into the future and just let the petty bullshit lie where it is? Is it not enough that we are constantly told we’re sick, diseased, and going to die if we don’t take the Pharmaceuticals that are advertised on the television day after day? Is it not enough that no matter what news site you sift through, it’s filled with bad news, negative moments, and an all around sense of dread and depression? Where’s the hope? Where’s the change?

      Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m pretty certain that Change and Hope are two things we have to bring about ourselves. It’s my own opinion that if Prop 19 passes, that will be a huge step forward. I think most of America has forgotten that this is OUR country and that we do indeed have the power to change it.