Proposition 205: Legal Recreational Marijuana

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Proposition 205 would allow small amounts of marijuana to legally be used recreationally and to be sold in marijuana stores. It would also impose a 15% tax that would partially help fund education. J.P. Holyoak, the chair of the Prop 205 Campaign, and an opponent will debate the measure.

TED SIMONS: AS REFERENCED EARLIER, PROP 205 IS GAINING SOME PUBLIC APPROVAL. THE MEASURE WOULD ALLOW FOR MARIJUANA TO BE USED RECREATIONAL AND SOLD IN SPECIALIZED STORES AND IMPOSE A 15% TAX THAT WOULD PARTIALLY FUND EDUCATION. HERE TO DEBATE THE BALLOT MEASURE IS J.P. HOLYOAK, THE CHAIR OF THE PROP 205 CAMPAIGN AND SHEILA POLK, YAVAPAI COUNTY ATTORNEY AND CHAIR OF THE NO ON PROP 205 CAMPAIGN. GOOD TO YOU BOTH TODAY. STARTING WITH YOU. WHY IS THIS A GOOD THING FOR ARIZONA?

J.P. HOLYOAK: PROHIBITION HAS BEEN AN ABJECT FAILURE IN THIS STATE. IT DIDN'T WORK WITH ALCOHOL, CERTAINLY HASN'T WORKED WITH MARIJUANA. WE HAVE TERRIBLE SIDE EFFECTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE PROHIBITION INCLUDING ARRESTING ABOUT 150,000 PEOPLE IN ARIZONA SINCE 2005 FOR SIMPLE MARIJUANA POSSESSION. THAT CHARGE IS A FELONY IN THIS STATE. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. WE ARE BETTER OFF TAXING AND REGULATING IT AND SENDING THE DOLLARS TO OUR SCHOOLS.

TED SIMONS: WHY IS THIS IDEA A BAD ONE FOR ARIZONA?

SHELIA POLK: PROP 205 IS NOT ABOUT MONEY FOR EDUCATION AND SAFER COMMUNITY. PROP 205 IS ABOUT BIGGER GOVERNMENT PROTECTING SPECIAL INTERESTS. I THINK THAT MR. HOLYOAK SHOULD DISCLOSE THAT HE PERSONALLY STANDS TO MAKE MILLIONS IF PROP 205 PASSES AND HE HELPED WRITE PROP 205. THE CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN MISLEADING. ARIZONA ALREADY HAS MEDICAL MARIJUANA. WE HAVE HAD IT SINCE 2010, SO A VET WITH PTSD IN ARIZONA CAN GET MEDICAL MARIJUANA.

TED SIMONS: IS YOUR INVOLVEMENT FOR PERSONAL GAIN? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

J.P. HOLYOAK: I CAN ONLY HOPE THE PROJECTIONS THE COUNTY ATTORNEY PUTS FORTH COME TRUE. BUT ULTIMATELY THIS IS A BUSINESS AND THERE IS A MARKETPLACE. THERE IS GOING TO BE WINNERS, THERE IS GOING TO BE LOSERS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN. AND WHERE I STAND IN THAT REMAINS TO BE SEEN. THE ASSERTATIONS I AM DOING THIS FOR PRODUCT ARE NOT TRUE. I WISH THE COUNTY ATTORNEY WOULD ALSO DISCLOSE THAT SHE IS CURRENTLY FIGHTING AGAINST THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM IN AN EFFORT TO OVERTURN VOTERS FROM 2010 AS IF THEY NEVER VOTED ON IT.

TED SIMONS: RESPOND, PLEASE.

SHELIA POLK: AGAIN, PROP 205 IS NOT ABOUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA. WE HAVE HAD THAT SINCE 2010. I THINK AS YOU KNOW THERE IS A CONFLICT BETWEEN STATE AND FEDERAL MARIJUANA LAWS THAT WILL PLAY OUT IN OUR COURTS. BUT PROP 205 IS 20 PAGES. IT IS NEW LAWS. IT IS ABOUT PROTECTING THE MARIJUANA BUSINESS INSIDERS LIKE MR. HOLYOAK. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. THIS IS ON PAGE NINE OF THE 20 PAGES. HE WROTE IN A RULE THAT SAYS RULES ADOPTED BY THE DEPARTMENT MAY NOT PROHIBIT THE OPERATION OF MARIJUANA ESTABLISHMENTS EITHER EXPRESSLY OR THROUGH REQUIREMENTS THAT MAKE THEIR OPERATION UNREASONABLE AND IMPRACTICAL. I HAVE A COPY OF THE 20 PAGES AND TAGGED IN YELLOW EVERY PLACE WHERE IT PROTECTS THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA INDUSTRY BECAUSE ESSENTIALLY PROP 205 IS ABOUT ALLOWING THE FOLKS WITH THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA BUSINESSES TO START SELLING THEIR DRUGS FOR RECREATIONAL USE FOR PROFIT.

TED SIMONS: SELF SERVING. THE CLAIM IS SELF SERVING AND YOU ARE DOING ALL THIS TO HELP YOU.

J.P. HOLYOAK: I HEAR TWO MAIN ARGUMENTS. NUMBER ONE IT IS 20 PAGES LONG. I UNDERSTAND READING IS HARD BUT I THINK A COUNTY ATTORNEY CAN READ 20 PAGES WORTH. SO I THINK THE LENGTH IS IRRELEVANT AS FOR SOMEBODY MAKING MONEY ON THIS WOULDN'T WE RATHER THAT MONEY IS MADE BY ARIZONA RESIDENTS WITH THE TAX PROCEEDS GOING TO ARIZONA SCHOOLS INSTEAD OF CRIMINAL DRUG DEALERS AND CARTELS. IT ISN'T ABOUT IF MARIJUANA IS GOING TO BE SOLD IT IS A MATTER OF WHO IS SELLING IT AND WHERE THE MONEY GOES.

TED SIMONS: IF THE ARGUMENT IS HE IS GETTING MONEY OVER A CARTEL MEMBER WRONG?

SHELIA POLK: THE BIGGEST MISUNDERSTANDING IS IF YOU LEGALIZE MARIJUANA THE DRUG CARTEL GOES AWAY. THAT IS FALSE AND WE KNOW THAT FROM COLORADO. THEY LEGALIZED RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IN 2012 BECAUSE OF THE SAME PROMISES THAT THE PROP 205 FOLKS ARE MAKING TO US TODAY. IN COLORADO TODAY, DRUG CARTELS ARE FLOURISHING. THIS WEEK I WAS IN COLORADO WHERE THE GOVERNOR WAS THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER. HE SAID THEY HAVE EVIDENCE CARTEL MEMBERS ARE GROWING TO COLORADO TO GROW AND ILLEGALLY TRAFFIC MARIJUANA TO OTHER STATES. THE EVIDENCE FROM COLORADO IS THAT DRUG CARTELS FLOURISH IF YOU PASS RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA.

TED SIMONS: RESPOND, PLEASE.

J.P. HOLYOAK: THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. OF COURSE THERE IS A TRANSITION GOING FROM THE BLACK TO THE LEGAL MARKET JUST LIKE GOING FROM END OF ALCOHOL PROHIBITION. THE GOVERNOR HAD SOMETHING ELSE TO SAY THAT WAS FASCINATING AND INTERESTING. HE SAID WE WERE WORRIED ABOUT KIDS, A SPIKE IN THE USAGE AMONG KIDS, A SPIKE IN DRIVING WHILE HIGH, WORRIED ABOUT EDIBLES WE HAVE NOT SEEN ANY OF THOSE OR AT LEAST NOT IN ANY SIGNIFICANT FASHION. ANY OF THOSE FEARS MATERIALIZED. THIS IS FEAR MONGERING.

TED SIMONS: FEAR MONGERING IN COLORADO?

SHELIA POLK: THAT IS ACTUALLY NOT WHAT HE HAD SAID IN PERSON. HE SAID HE TELLS OTHER GOVERNORS NOT TO RUSH INTO RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA BECAUSE THE DATA IS NOT IN. BUT WHAT DATA IS IN SHOWS YOUTH RATES ARE AT AN ALL TIME HIGH. ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL SURVEY ON DRUGS AND HEALTH KIDS AT THE IN COLORADO USE MARIJUANA AT A HIGHER RATE. ROADS ARE MORE DANGEROUS IN COLORADO. MARIJUANA RELATED FATALITIES INCREASED 60% AND WE CAN EXPECT THAT HERE.

TED SIMONS: WHY WOULDN'T WE EXPECT THAT SORT OF DATA IN ARIZONA?

J.P. HOLYOAK: BECAUSE IT IS NOT TRUE. HERE IS THE DATA FROM THE STATE OF COLORADO. WHAT COLORADO SAYS ABOUT THEMSELVES AND THIS IS A SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER SAMPLE SIZE THAN THE STUDY SHE LIKES TO SHOW. THIS IS SHOWING COLORADO YOUTH AVERAGE MARIJUANA RATE AT 21.2%. NATIONAL AVERAGE IS 21.7%. IT SHOWS TEENAGE USE HAS GONE DOWN SINCE LEGALIZATION NOT UP. THIS IS CHERRY PICKING DATA, FEAR MONGERING AND MAKING THINGS UP.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU HAVE COMPETING FACTS?

SHELIA POLK: THERE IS TWO SURVEYS. THE NATIONAL SURVEY ON DRUG USE AND HEALTH IS THE GOLD STANDARD, STATISTICALLY AND SCIENTIFICALLY VALIDATED AND HAS BEEN AROUND FOR 30 YEARS AND THAT COMPARES USE RATE AMONG ALL STATES AND THAT STUDY SAYS EVERY YEAR SINCE LEGALIZATION YOUTH USE OF MARIJUANA IN COLORADO HAS INCREASED AND THEY HAVE THE HIGHEST RATE IN THE NATION TODAY. THE OTHER SURVEY IS THE COLORADO HEALTHY KIDS SURVEY AND THE FACT IS THE HEADLINES THAT LEGALIZATION USE HAD REMAINED FLAT ARE ONLY TRUE BECAUSE IF YOU AVERAGE USE FROM SIX GRADERS ALL THE WAY THROUGH 12 GRADERS. BUT IF YOU DIG IN AND READ THE SURVEY AS I HAVE YOU WILL FIND USE AMONG COLORADO JUNIORS AND SENIORS INCREASED 19% AND 4% RESPECTIVELY AND YOU WOULD FIND IN DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS WHERE THEY HAVE NOT BANNED THE POT SHOPS 1 3 OF EVERY HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR AND SENIOR IS NOW A REGULAR USER OF POT.

TED SIMONS: PLEASE?

J.P. HOLYOAK: GARBAGE. UTTER GARBAGE. TALKING ABOUT DENVER SCHOOLS FOR EXAMPLE AND THE COMMERCIALS THEY HAVE AIRED AND ADVERTISED ON PEOPLE. DENVER SCHOOLS GOT NOTHING. WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT THE ALLOCATION OF TAX FUNDS IN COLORADO AND HOW THAT EXACTLY WORKS BECAUSE COLORADO, THE FIRST $40 MILLION OF THEIR TAX GOES TO EDUCATION AND IT IS CAPPED AND LIMITED TO ONLY $40 MILLION. THEN THERE IS A AN APPLICATION PROCESS THAT FAVORS RURAL SCHOOL DISTRICT. ALL $40 MILLION WAS ALLOCATED BUT THEY SAID DENVER SCHOOLS GOT NOTHING AND THAT IS BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T APPLY.

TED SIMONS: THERE IS AN ARGUMENT THEY WILL BE OFFSET BY DRUG TREATMENT, DROP OUTS AND SOCIAL SERVICES THAT WOULD BE NEEDED IF MARIJUANA WAS MORE EASILY ACCESSED. VALID POINT?

J.P. HOLYOAK: NO AND CERTAINLY NOT WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN COLORADO, WASHINGTON, OREGON, ALASKA OR THE DISTRICT OF COLOMBIA THE OTHER FIVE JURISDICTIONS THAT HAVE LEGALIZATION.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU AGREE?

SHELIA POLK: NO, YOU HAVE TO READ THE FINE PRINT TO UNDERSTAND THAT SCHOOLS ARE THE LAST THING TO GET FUNDED BY THE MARIJUANA TAX REVENUE. UNDER PROP 205 REVENUE FIRST GOES TO THE PAY FOR THE TWO NEW LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT. THE LAST THING THAT WILL BE FUNDED WILL BE OUR SCHOOLS AND THE AMOUNT OF MONEY ACCORDING TO THE ANALYSIS, THE AMOUNT OF MONEY COMING TO OUR SCHOOLS IN ARIZONA UNDER PROP 205 IS NOT EVEN ENOUGH TO PAY FOR ONE TEXTBOOK PER STUDENT PER YEAR. IN COLORADO, THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT SCHEME BUT EVEN IN COLORADO MOST SCHOOLS SAY THEY HAVE NOT SEEN MARIJUANA MONEY.

TED SIMONS: WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME BUT I WANT TO ASK YOU THE ARGUMENT OF PASSING PROP 205 ALLOWS LAW ENFORCEMENT TO GO AHEAD AND FOCUS MORE ON SERIOUS CRIMES, SERIOUS CRIMINALS INSTEAD OF LESSER CRIMES AND ARGUABLY LESSER CRIMINALS, VALID?

SHELIA POLK: THAT IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE. WE KNOW THIS FROM OUR COLLEAGUES IN COLORADO. WE SPOKE WITH SERGEANT GERHARDT, A NARCOTIC OFFICER IN COLORADO. HE SAID PRIOR TO THE LEGALIZATION HE SPENT 6% OF HIS TIME ON MARIJUANA BUT NOW IT IS SUCKING UP HIS TIME BECAUSE THE DRUG CARTELS ARE INFILTRATING THE TOWNS THROUGH THE HOME GROWS THAT WILL BE ALLOWED UNDER PROP 205.

TED SIMONS: I WANT TO GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO RESPOND.

J.P. HOLYOAK: THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. IN THIS COUNTRY WE ARREST MORE PEOPLE FOR SIMPLE MARIJUANA PROCESSION THAN ALL VIOLENT CRIMES COMBINED. NOW THAT IS A NATIONWIDE STATISTIC. I HAVE NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT ARIZONA'S STATISTICS ARE MUCH DIFFERENT. THIS ISN'T A QUESTION OF YES, MARIJUANA, OR NO, MARIJUANA. THE REALITY IS MARIJUANA EXISTS. IT IS OUT THERE AND EASILY AVAILABLE TO ANYBODY WHO WANTS. WE ARE JUST SAYING TAX IT AND REGULATE IT AND SEND IT TO SCHOOLS FOR SOMETHING THAT IS ALREADY THERE.

TED SIMONS: WE NEED TO STOP THERE. GOOD DEBATE AND GOOD TO YOU BOTH HERE. AND THAT IS IT FOR NOW. I AM TED SIMONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING. "ARIZONA HORIZON" IS MADE POSSIBLE BY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE FRIENDS OF ARIZONA PBS, MEMBERS OF YOUR PBS STATION. THANK YOU.

J.P. Holyoak: Chair of Prop 205 Campaign; Shelia Polk: Chair of No on Prop 205 Campaign

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