James Lambert
Will California legalize recreational pot? Pastors need to take a stand
By James Lambert
July 26, 2010

It's easy to understand why the rest of the country views California as being somewhat of a goofy state. How else can one explain the recent hullabaloo caused with the new California ballot voter initiative (Prop 19) that would legalize recreational pot? This initiative, if passed, will have a dramatic effect in this state and the rest of the country as well.

Last winter organizers primarily from Northern California secured enough initiative signatures to place Proposition # 19 on the state's ballot this November. The proposition calls for the legalization of 'recreational marijuana' for anyone 21 years of age or older.

Proposition 19 has the backing of a number of influential Northern California Democrat party leaders (such as Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. George Miller and Rep. Peter Stark). The 200,000 member United Food and Commercial Workers and the California NAACP have also endorsed the ballot initiative as well. The state Democratic Party has backed down from endorsing the initiative because its main candidates this fall, Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer have come out against the initiative.

Proponents of the measure point to the massive state budgetary deficient California is now facing by concluding that passing the proposition will bring in "billions of dollars" in new state tax revenue. Spokesmen for the measure say that it will save untold millions in law enforcement expense. However these same advocates fail to address how authorities will enforce prohibiting "people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present or providing it to anyone under 21 years old" (taxcannabis.org) which is something the measure calls for. Proponents also have another problem: use of the substance is against federal law.

It's easy to find vocal support for the initiative. Finding an organized opponent of Proposition 19 is a different matter. Several weeks ago (in a press conference held in Northern California) there was a group of pastors who spoke harshly against the NAACP endorsing the measure. But beyond this press conference little has come from church leaders opposing the initiative.

For a period of almost a week, I have tried to repeatedly contact a half dozen, large, well known Southern California churches. Unfortunately, of the 6 large churches only one Senior Pastor (Shawn Mitchell of New Venture Christian Fellowship, www.NewVenture.org) responded.

Mitchell said this week, "There are many in our society today, both black and white, who disagree with the legalization of marijuana, of which I am one. For too many, it is an entry-door drug which opens the way to experimentation and inclination for far more addictive substances."

"Any substance which slows and affects the mind and reflexes is an inhibitor to measuring up and reflecting the God-given potential that exists in today's youth. I personally believe the NAACP would be wise to retain their focus on purely Civil Rights issues, which I don't believe this is. Rather, I believe this is a spiritual and social matter, which serves as a deterrent to the progression and advancement of all people."

Randy Thomasson, President of www.SaveCalifornia.com who regularly comments on California's social items pleads for common sense on this issue. "Legalizing marijuana for adults will mean teen usage will match, even exceed, teen alcohol usage. This would pour fuel on the fire. Already, 60% of teens in drug treatment programs report marijuana as their # 1 addiction. Today's marijuana is 4 times more potent and mind altering than marijuana sold in the '70s ... Teens who smoke pot are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than teens who don't smoke marijuana...If proposition 19 passes expect a raft of lawsuits to overturn 'drug-free workplaces.' Auto insurance premiums will probably rise...For all these reasons, Californians must defeat Proposition 19 to stop our state from literally going to pot."

© James Lambert


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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James Lambert

James Lambert is a licensed Real Estate Loan Sales agent, and has taught Finance at Mira Costa Community College for 3 years... (more)


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