September 28, 2010

Fox News Blog On Prop. 19 - Marijuana Legalization

Fox News has done plenty to earn their reputation as bunch of lying lunatics, but occasionally their words ring true. This time they actually did a good job covering the Alcohol Lobby's attempts to crush Proposition 19, the Legalization of Marijuana in California. Good job lunatics. - Baked Life

First, a number of pot growers and dispensaries came out against the California ballot measure legalizing pot. Now, the battle over the buzz includes the bong vs. the brew.

The California Beer & Beverage Distributors (CBBD) has donated $10-thousand to defeat Proposition 19, which would legalize recreational pot use and cultivation for adults 21 and over.

The alcohol trade group says if Prop. 19 passes, employers would be prevented from drug testing their workers for weed. In a statement, the CBBD said "this would allow California beer distributors' drivers to operate hundreds of big rig trucks and trailers, sales vehicles and trucks on California highways everyday, exposing the motoring public to potential harm. It is also the CBBD's concern that with the doing away with drug testing of employees, our transportation businesses may be unable to find liability insurance to insure our companies."

Those supporting legalization argue getting high is far less dangerous than getting drunk. Government figures show that in 2008, nearly 12,000 people were killed in drunk driving accidents. While many authorities firmly believe smoking pot impairs driving, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration does not keep statistics on how many accidents were caused by stoned drivers. Pro-pot advocates contend that's because the number is so small.

The "Yes On 19" campaign suggests California beer sellers are really worried about protecting their turf. "There's a history of alcohol companies putting money against propositions such as ours, and frankly, it could be they're concerned about the competition," says Dale Sky Jones, the campaign's spokeswoman.

While the CBBD denies its contribution anything to do with competition, several breweries, including popular Chico-based Sierra Nevada, are furious they've been linked with Prop. 19 opposition, and have asked the CBBD to remove their name from their membership list.

Election observers say it's another case of how the move to legalize pot, an effort that's being watched closely across the country, has created some unusual alliances, and surprising opposition.

"This is California, and every fight has a fight in a fight in a fight," says Phil Matier, political columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle.
"Now you've got brew vs. brew, where you have some of the distributors saying, 'okay, we're against it,' and some of the independent breweries like Sierra Nevada saying, 'No! We don't want to be associated with this, we're neutral on the issue, we'll let our customers decide.'"

Voters are split, too. A new Field Poll has the measure passing, 49% to 42%, with a 4.1% margin of error. Analysts say alcohol groups, law enforcement organizations, most politicians, and others opposed to Prop. 19 will need to spend more, and do more, to pursuade voters that legalizing pot will create a greater public safety threat than keeping it illegal.

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