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Danehy

Tom doesn’t think the recreational marijuana initiative stands a chance with voters

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Three things that are dead-solid-perfect guaranteed to be Dead On Arrival:

• The movie Independence Day III

• The book "The Wit and Wisdom of Melania Trump"

• Arizona's marijuana legalization initiative that appears to have been written by a committee of stoners while binge-watching a Cheech and Chong Film Festival.

My personal choices involving drugs and alcohol have not changed, nor will they ever. I will go my entire life without ever having tasted alcohol or using any drugs. But please know that I sincerely believe that my choices don't make me better than anybody else; they just make me different. And maybe more boring.

I've lived a long time and I've heard all of the explanations/excuses/reasons as to why people smoke marijuana. Fortunately, not one has ever applied to me. I don't need to hear music better. (If Marvin Gaye sounded any better to me, I'd probably wet myself.) I don't ever feel the need to escape from my problems for a while, knowing that when I come back (down), they'll still be there waiting for me. I prefer to deal with them and then move on. I am happy with the one state of consciousness and if I were any more sociable, I'd be freakin' Ellen DeGeneres.

And, blessedly, while I have had my share of physical pain over the years, it has never risen to the level of being chronic. (Who am I kidding? It has never risen to the point where I felt the need to even take an Advil.)

I'll admit that I used to be rabidly, knee-jerkedly anti-drug. I thought that using drugs was stupid and wasteful and dangerous. But over the years, I've come to realize that lots of things are stupid and wasteful and dangerous...but not illegal. I'll further admit that some thoughtful back-and-forth correspondence with some passionate readers over the years have helped to nudge me toward the "Who Really Gives a Crap?" section of the debate (although I will always hate the fact that kids can get it so easily). I know that drugs have ruined a lot of lives, but then, so too have some overly harsh drug laws.

Some folks are attempting to make recreational use of marijuana legal in Arizona, but in their fervor (or stupor, as the case may be), they're going about it in a manner that pretty much guarantees failure at the ballot box. Let's assume that 40 percent of the electorate (consisting of Mormons, retired military, liquor-store owners, lots of old white guys in public office, and others) would be dead-set against legalization under any circumstances. Another 40 percent would be willing to give the law a try, figuring that things can't be any worse than they already are. In order to get it passed, you have to work on that undecided group in the middle.

Alas, the initiative is written in such a ham-fisted manner as to tilt wildly in favor of the drug user, it's going to be nigh unto impossible to persuade a large group of people to vote for it. To begin with, the initiative is titled the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. Clever, but false. Under the initiative, there are several instances where marijuana would not be treated the same as alcohol, the most glaring of which is the likelihood that law enforcement would not be able to cite and/or arrest ANYBODY for driving while stoned.

Part of the initiative reads: "A person may not be penalized by this state for an action taken while under the influence of marijuana or a marijuana product solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana in the person's body or in the urine, blood, saliva, hair or other tissue or fluid of the person's body."

How's that for a Get Out of Jail Free card?

When asked why there is no legal definition of impairment in the initiative (like the 0.08 BAC for drinkers), one of its backers said that the state Legislature could set one. Actually, they can't. After demonstrating a really annoying habit of tinkering with voter-passed initiatives, the state Legislature is now constitutionally banned from messing with such matters. And while I understand that metabolites can stay in a person's system for weeks, the wording says "metabolites and components of marijuana." That covers everything.

There are several other items that are going to send people running into the "No" column. For example, it would keep homeowner associations from prohibiting the growing of marijuana in their neighborhoods. Now, in theory, homeowner associations are somewhat fascist, but once you own your own home, the rule of thumb on HOAs is the fascist-er, the better. All it takes to ruin a nice neighborhood is one ghetto-ass knucklehead who thinks it's okay to park his car in the front yard. And I know I would just love to have 14 guys growing weed in a house they rented next door to mine.

The initiative would also overturn laws that require drug testing for some people who get welfare or unemployment and would prevent courts from making child-custody decisions based solely on drug use. (They can use alcohol use as a factor.) There are just too many items in this thing that will elicit negative responses.

Most change in America comes incrementally. This overreaching nonsense doesn't stand a chance.

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