Thursday, October 30, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: Thursday, Oct. 30---Question 2: Medical Concerns about Marijuana

No on Question 2:
Medical community warns of significant marijuana health threat

Marijuana today is more potent, addictive, and dangerous than ever, according to latest medical research. And, the Coalition for Safe Streets today urged voters to reject Question 2 and the health threat it poses for our children and communities.

Renowned health experts - from Joseph Califano, former Secretary of Health Education and Welfare and head of Columbia's National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse, to The Lancet, the world's leading liberal medical journal - are warning about the negative impacts of marijuana on health.

Marijuana potency has increased 175 percent in the past 14 years, and the number of youth admitted for treatment has leapt almost 500 percent in the same period. Marijuana has also been linked to depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other mental health problems in youth

This overwhelming research has prompted health and education leaders from across the state, including MADD, SADD, Community VOICES, the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and many others, to publicly oppose Question 2 and marijuana decriminalization.

District Attorney Dan Conley: Reject Question 2
In an op-ed appearing in today's Allston-Brighton TAB, Suffolk County District Attorney urged voters to Vote No on Question 2.

The Economist Magazine has called Question 2 the most radical marijuana ballot initiative in the country, and today DA Conley said if Question 2 passes, Massachusetts can expect to face "increased health costs, traffic injuries and fatalities, increased law enforcement costs, lost productivity, lowered workplace safety, and the heavy toll of addiction on communities and families."

Brockton Enterprise: Vote No on Question 2
Today, the Brockton Enterprise joined the Boston Globe, Herald, Worcester Telegram, Lowell Sun, Cape Cod Times and other papers around Massachusetts in condemning Question 2.

In its editorial urging voters to reject Question 2, the Brockton Enterprise spoke of the negative health effects of marijuana, calling the drug "a mind- and mood-altering substance that affects cognitive abilities and reasoning."

The Coalition for Safe Streets invites you read these and other stories at the links below.

For more information on Question 2, and to visit our Web site, click on the Vote No on 2 image above. A member of the No Question 2 staff can also be reached at .


The Coalition for Safe Streets

The Latest No on Question 2 Headlines

The Brockton Enterprise says Question 2 is a "solution in search of a problem" and urges voters to Vote No.

Newton Police debunk the myth that Question 2 would actually save money - "I don't see a cost savings," Lt. Bruce Apotheker told the Newton TAB. "The ramifications ... might have officers spending more time in the aftermath, like people driving under the influence of marijuana."

Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe Jr. says "the great decay and the great scourge of our communities has been drugs," and urged voters to reject Question 2.

Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley asked Massachusetts to say no to marijuana decriminalization, saying "Question 2 will embolden drug dealers and erase the threat of criminal prosecution."
Allston-Brighton TAB
Perspective: Vote 'No' on Question 2
By Daniel F. Conley/Suffolk County District Attorney
Tue Oct 28, 2008, 07:23 PM EDT

On Nov. 4, Massachusetts voters will be asked to choose whether they want our state, our communities, and our families to be the testing ground for the most radical marijuana ballot initiative in the country. Voters will choose between a steadily declining rate of marijuana use among teenagers and the message that drug use is safe and acceptable.

Passage of Question 2 will decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana and replace criminal sanctions with a fine. For kids under 21, the penalties for marijuana possession will be reduced well below the penalties for alcohol possession. Drug use and abuse will increase among children and adults. Our communities and families - not the well-heeled, out-of-state proponents of Question 2 - will be left to deal with the consequences.

Kids who smoke marijuana are more likely to do poorly in school, more likely to require counseling, more likely to engage in violence, and more likely to get behind the wheel of a car while high. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 41 percent of teens are not concerned about driving high on marijuana - a shocking number considering drivers who have smoked pot are 10 times more likely to be injured or injure others in automobile crashes.

Question 2 will embolden drug dealers and erase the threat of criminal prosecution. Despite the efforts to paint an ounce as something too small to be worth the attention of the police and courts, the fact is that one ounce of marijuana is worth from $400 to $600 and represents about 60 individual sales. And where does that ounce come from? It comes from the pounds of marijuana that traffickers will bring here and cut up in our neighborhoods once there is no downside to retailing the drug.

Question 2's supporters argue that existing laws unfairly and harshly punish people whose only crime was carrying a joint. But it simply isn't true.

Not one person went to jail last year in Suffolk County for a first-time marijuana offense alone. In fact, of the marijuana convictions that did end with a jail sentence, each one was handed down because the defendant was also carrying a gun, committing a violent crime, or pushing drugs like heroin and cocaine.

Our current marijuana laws are far from draconian - they're reasonable, graduated, and appropriate. Simple possession is punishable by six months of probation, with the case dismissed afterwards. A defendant's criminal record is wiped clean and his or her CORI record is sealed and inactive.

Perhaps most importantly, the passage of Question 2 would remove the single largest referrer of drug abusers to treatment programs - the criminal justice system. That's a massive loss to individuals who wouldn't otherwise admit that they need help. In place of that assistance, Massachusetts will end up with increased health costs, traffic injuries and fatalities, increased law enforcement costs, lost productivity, lowered workplace safety, and the heavy toll of addiction on communities and families.

I urge you to vote no on Question 2 next week.

About the Coalition for Safe Streets
The Coalition for Safe Streets is a grassroots organization composed of the state's 11 district attorneys, sheriffs, chiefs of police and educational, religious, community, political, public health and business leaders who strongly oppose efforts to make illicit drugs more readily available in our communities. The Coalition for Safe Streets was formed to educate the public about the dangers of Question 2 on the November ballot, a radical proposal to decriminalize marijuana in the Commonwealth that will put more drugs on our streets, empower the drug dealers who sell them, put more drivers - particularly young people - behind the wheel of a car under the influence of drugs, and send the wrong message to our young people. For more information, and to visit our Website, click on the Vote No on 2 image above.

Our Supporters:
Mass. Governor Deval Patrick

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino

Attorney General Martha Coakley

U.S. Senator John Kerry

Mass. State Rep. Martin Walsh

Reverend William Dickerson

Pastor Eugene Rivers

Reverend Michael Person

Minister Don Muhammad

Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone

Kevin Peterson, Ella J. Baker House, Dorchester

Majors William and Susan Dunigan, Jubilee House, Salvation Army

Gladys Vega, Chelsea Collaborative

Emmett Folgert, Dorchester Youth Collaborative

Robert Repucci, CAPIC (Community Action Programs Inter-City, Inc.)

Alexandra Oliver-Davila, Sociedad Latina

Reverend Shaun Harrison, Bird Street Community Center

Jeremy Galvin, The Gavin House

Lisa Morales, Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA), South End

Boston TenPoint Coalition

Community Voices

Mass. Association of Superintendents

Mass. Chiefs of Police Association

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Students Against Drunk Driving

No comments: