Another group has stepped forward to endorse a “No on Prop 19” message: The League of California Cities. So just what is the League and what does it do?
The League was founded in 1898 and advocates for local control of California cities. They are a non-profit organization that provides education and training services to newly elected city officials. So why are they against Prop 19?
Well, according to the League’s president, Robin Lowe, “The League board voted to oppose Proposition 19 recognizing that the public safety risks far outweigh the potential for local revenue gain.” What are these safety risks? What’s so dangerous about legalized weed? Because kids for years have agreed that right now it’s way easier for them to score pot than booze. Drug dealers don’t card. Is it because of the lame old “everyone will be driving around stoned” argument? Yawn! Even if you’re too daft to realize that stoners are driving all over America as I type this, then you should check out this well-cited report that shows little to no difference in driving performance between sober drivers and drivers who are stoned as hell. Which leaves.. well which leaves nothing left to threaten public safety as far as I can tell.
Now if the League of California Cities followed their “2010 Strategic Goals,” maybe they’d be singing a different tune. They only have three goals for 2010:
- Protect Local Control and Funding for Vital Local Services. Use statewide ballot measure and legislative and legal advocacy to achieve reforms that protect local control and abolish the power of the state to borrow, divert or impose restrictions on the use of all local revenue sources, including locally imposed or levied taxes, the local shares of all transportation tax revenues (including public transit funding), the redevelopment tax increment, and any other local revenue source used to fund vital local services.
- Support Reform of the Structure, Governance, Management and Financing of State Government. Build on the success of the 2009 Local Government Summit on State Governance and Fiscal Reform by working collaboratively with other stakeholder groups to advance reforms to modernize the structure, governance, management and method of financing state government.
- Promote Economic Stimulus, Infrastructure Investment, Business Development and Job Creation. Promote federal, state and local investment in transportation, water, redevelopment and other critical infrastructure projects that will support the retention and creation of new private businesses and jobs in our cities and state.
So for the first bullet point, Prop 19 is exactly what they’re looking for: a statewide ballot initiative that allows local municipalities to impose taxes on a legal and regulated system of cannabis retailers. More local funding for cities, which is one of the things this organization has aimed for over the past 100+ years. As for the second bullet point, Prop 19 of course paves the way for a state tax on cannabis and therefore helps fund the state, while at the same time reforms state spending by ending all the millions of dollars thrown away on marijuana arrests and prosecutions each year. The third bullet point is huge: job creation. If legalized, the cannabis industry would create so many jobs for Californians! Construction workers would be hired to build cannabis retail locations, electricians would be hired to wire grow rooms, growers and sellers would of course be hired, seed suppliers would start popping up, hydroponics equipment sales would rise, even glass blowers would see a rise in demand. When you add industrial hemp into the equation, the potential is ridiculous. Renewable energy jobs, environmentally friendly tree-free paper mills, textile manufacturers, not to mention all the foods you could make with hemp, a plant that contains many essential amino and fatty acids.
Basically by coming out against Prop 19, the League of California Cities is going against everything they set out to do this year. Pretty backwards if you ask me.