James Lambert
When debating Prop. 19: Don't tell me marijuana isn't a harmful, gateway drug!
By James Lambert
October 14, 2010

Growing up in La Jolla, California definitely had its advantages in those days, some forty years ago. My family lived near to the beach. The beach and surfing environment was wonderful. The 'village' of La Jolla was still a small, quaint town. Even the hills above the shoreline overlooking the Cove and the beautiful La Jolla shores beach weren't filled with huge homes yet.

Nevertheless, the influence from a tumultuous '60s era was showing it's affect on La Jolla's youth back then, as it had in other parts of the country. The hype and influence of that decade helped introduce the baby-boomers to the drug culture. I say this rather sadly because I've had five friends who died because of drug abuse.

These friends were bright, energetic young people who had the world (and full lives) in front of them. All of them went to both private and public high schools around La Jolla. I remember them all: Justin, Sue, Duke, Sam and Jeff. All five of them sadly shared one thing in common: they started their downward spiral of drug abuse by using marijuana.

Yet supporters of proposition 19 will tell you that marijuana is not a gateway drug. Tell that to my friends who are no longer alive. Tell that to the 1.243 million people (according to the Office of National Drug Control, a federal agency) who are undergoing marijuana drug addiction counseling. Tell that to the parents and friends of thousands of young adults who have sadly lost their lives?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding this proposition. What you don't hear is that this (full legalization) has been tried once before. In Alaska, during the '80s, marijuana was fully legalized. With that change, Alaskans saw that pot use among teens almost double over-night. By 1990, the voters of Alaska reversed this mistake.

In La Jolla, like other communities, we still have problems with drugs. Studies show that 40% of 12th graders have tried or use marijuana regularly. Legalizing this substance (which has been federally against the law since 1937) will only make thing worse. Once society places the 'approval' sign on any substance, things are no longer the same. Imagine going to the local convenience store / gas station where you witness teenagers buying joints from young adults, just outside the premises of the store. Count on this happening. You will see increased DUI automobile fatalities with passage of proposition 19 also.

In fact, by commercializing this drug, California will become the 'drug dealer' for the rest of the 49 other states. Just because you might live in the Midwest or South or any other part of the country, don't think you or your family will not be spared of the inevitable of scourge of this insane proposition. You won't. That is why we need to defeat proposition 19 with a No vote.

As for my local friends that are no longer with us, I pray you remember them and thousands like them in California who are no longer with us when you enter the voting booth this November.

© James Lambert


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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James Lambert

James Lambert has a broad business background. After receiving his undergraduate degree from Linfield College (McMinnville, Oregon), Lambert pursued a career in banking by working in various management capacities for Crocker Bank, San Diego Trust & Savings Bank and First Interstate Bank (between 1973 and 1995). By 1990 Lambert received his Master in Business Administration from National University (San Diego). For 3 years, Lambert also taught Finance at Mira Costa Community College... (more)


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