There has been a lot of focus on California’s marijuana legalization initiative, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or AUMA. Many believe that California will be a key state when it comes to legalization and, considering the size of the state, it really is not an understatement. This is why the focus of a group called Smart Approaches to Marijuana will be to stop the legalization initiative from becoming law this November. The group has recently come out and announced that they have $2 million that they plan to spend on opposing campaigns in a total of five states; but their main concern will be aiding those in opposition to AUMA.
Considering the Adult Use of Marijuana Act is backed by billionaire Sean Parker and Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and their current status as far as donations go is close to $7 million, they aren’t too worried about what SAM will be able to do to prevent their message from getting out. The public opinion in California is currently showing around 60% of voters are in favor of AUMA, which would be right in line with the majority of America right now – but that won’t stop SAM from trying to muddy the waters at least a little.
The group compares the growing cannabis industry to the tobacco industry by calling it “Big Marijuana” – they say that only a few will profit while ignoring the risks of addiction and other pitfalls that would become of the states who choose to legalize marijuana. The way they try to make it look, even though cannabis is less harmful than alcohol, it is still a menace for those on the road and the children who may be exposed to it.
“It is putting our children at risk and has exposed children from communities of color to more racial discrimination than before,” Kennedy, a nephew of former President John F Kennedy, told the LA Times.
However, those in favor of AUMA have pointed out that the medical marijuana market is not restrictive about locations being near schools or residential neighborhoods – and at least the initiative comes up with guidelines that would help to better keep cannabis out of the hands of children and teens. This is widely the same with all the initiatives, which aim to provide the most structured possible industry before it even gets started – this way voters can feel confident in their decision to vote “yes” in November.
“Proposition 64 finally creates a safe, legal and comprehensive system for adult use of marijuana while protecting our children,” said the ballot argument, whose signers include Donald O. Lyman, former chief of chronic disease and injury control for the state Department of Public Health, and Stephen Downing, former deputy chief for the Los Angeles Police Department.
In the end, Smart Approaches to Marijuana can spend as much as they want to try and fight the inevitable. The chances that they will be able to sway a population who is becoming ever more comfortable with the idea of cannabis as a mainstream product is very unlikely – and even if it prevents some of the undecided voters, their funding is still no match for that of AUMA. With their spending the majority of their money on California, the chances are good that other states will also be able to keep up the fight through November in hopes that the truth will prevail and end cannabis prohibition in multiple states this fall.