TRUSTED NEWS LEADER FOR COTTONWOOD, CAMP VERDE & THE VERDE VALLEY
Sun, Jan. 19

Letter: Just let voters decide, they know best

Editor:

First off let me thank Merilee and Matforce for their work on Methamphetamine, Alcohol and Tobacco issues. As well as synthetics and recently beginning to address the opiate issues that are taking more lives day by day.

Second, perhaps I can agree with Merilee that there is a relation to BIG business here... the businesses that are funding the opposition to cannabis. In a debate with the County Attorney back in June I had the opportunity to point out that the political action committee (PAC) that has been formed to oppose cannabis had received a $10,000.00 donation from none other than a beer and wine distributor. That is just a drop in the bucket.

Add in private prison corporations and prison guard unions as well as the pharmaceutical industry. In 2013 alone the Pharma-lobby spent $18 million, on top of over $20 million in 2012.

So indeed there may be a BIG business involved... the ones that stand to lose money if the citizen initiative passes. The same initiative that the County Attorney and others are attempting to prevent you from even getting to vote on with legal loopholes and tricks. They have already been told their attempt had no standing at the Superior court level but they are appealing to the Supreme court as we speak. All to prevent you from voting on the issue!

Merilee will tell you that cannabis is now more potent that it used to be. That is a simple byproduct of the fact that it is now more often tested. If we look at alcohol as a comparison, grain alcohol's such as 'Everclear' are 16 times as strong as a beer (100%/6%=16.66)... when will we outlaw that as well?

Merilee will frighten you with a 150% increase in "poisonings" due to edible items. What they won't tell you is that none of those cases has ever resulted in a death. The number of those cases is also a fraction of a percentage of the total "poisonings", even after Colorado's recreational law passed the rate of children 9 and under for accidental ingestion is .006% (6 per 1000). With numbers that small it is really easy to claim a 150% increase when in fact that only equals an increase from 4 to 6 per 1000. And again not a single one of those resulted in a death. Meanwhile an average of 1 child per day is admitted for eating those Tide Laundry Pods.

Merilee claims the Verde Valley is being 'targeted' by the cannabis industry. What she won't tell you is that the Verde Valley side of Yavapai County has the highest # of Medical Cannabis cardholders per capita in the entire state. The Verde Valley also happens to simply have a great environment for growing anything from Alfalfa to Zucchini. Concern about how much water is being used is also somewhat misleading. In California the total estimated use of water for the states entire cannabis crop is 12,000 acre feet while almonds use 3.7 million acre feet, Not even close. 

Regarding increases in use by youth, Colorado's youth use has actually decreased since its adult use legislation passed. The only reason Colorado has the highest rate of use in the nation (It has always been among the top even before Adult Use passed) is that Rhode Island fell off of the top spot. Care to know why it lost the top spot? They have implemented a medical program and passed a low level decriminalization program that treats minor possession as a civil fine rather than a felony. Similar to the adult use initiative that will be on the ballot this year in AZ. If Merilee and others like the County Attorney fail in their attempts to prevent you from voicing your opinion on it with a vote.

I have lived in the Verde Valley all of my 45 years and I for one don't want the future of our valley to be denied votes on citizen initiatives and forced to abide by a failed 80-year experiment called prohibition.

Jesse Dowling

Clarkdale

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