Medical marijuana is "unnecessary" and legalizing it will worsen drug problems, lead to increased adolescent usage, and increase family problems, says Christian Medical Association CEO David Stevens and religious freedom legal defense group Pacific Justice Institute.
Despite endorsements from billionaire investor George Soros, Reggie singer Ziggy Marley and even talk TV personality Montel Williams, PJI Advisory Board Chairman Edwin Meese III says, "Legalizing marijuana would serve little purpose other than to worsen the [California]'s drug problems [of] addiction, violence, disorder and death."
Meese and PJI attorneys are urging California voters to vote "no" on Proposition 19, a state ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes.
Stevens, of the CMA, also says Christians – the moral compass for society – should stand up against the drug's legalization.
"We should be talking; we should be speaking out," he said. "We should be good citizens; we should be standing up for the greater good and marijuana is not the great good."
Stevens says legalized marijuana will mean increased usage among adolescents. Adolescents using marijuana, he says, suffer a number of side effects such as decreased focus, isolation and even psychological dysfunction.
"We know adolescents who use marijuana regularly experience higher rates of depression," noted Stevens. He also says marijuana is a "gateway" drug, meaning it may lead to use of other more potent drugs.
Proponents dispute the drug image of marijuana by toting its medicinal qualities.
"People who have illnesses like mine … we don't get the same euphoria as people don't have it," Williams said in a CNN interview. "I don't get the same euphoria that other people do. I get neuropathic pain lessening."
Williams, an Emmy-award winning talk show host, suffers from multiple sclerosis, one of the diseases marijuana is prescribed to treat. Marijuana is also prescribed to terminal cancer and AIDS patients to increase appetite, boost weight gain and relieve pain.
However, Stevens stresses that "medical marijuana is useless" because there are several prescriptions, such as Marinol, that have similar chemical compounds and produce the same results.
Stevens also dismisses assertions that legalizing and taxing marijuana will lessen California economic woes. Proposition 19, if approved by voters, will allow local governments in California to regulate the growth, sale and distribution of marijuana and impose fees and taxes.
He says that argument preys upon citizens' fears to "put money in the pot."
"The more marijuana that is out there, the more families issues there are going to be," he pointed out. "It will end up costing Californians billions in increased social costs."
Proposition 19, also known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, will appear on ballots statewide on Nov. 2. On Tuesday, Soros, a financier, gave $1 million to the campaign for legalizing marijuana, saying the act's passage, was "inevitable." An October poll of the Public Policy Institute of California, however, shows that support for the proposition is dropping. Now, 44 percent of California voters approve of the proposition compared to 52 percent in September.