Counterpoint- Measure P: is pot a lower priority or a bigger issue?

Helen Tracey, Helen Tracey, and Helen Tracey

Passing Measure P would be a mistake- nothing more to it.

Yes, it would save some tax dollars that would otherwise go towards putting marijuana offenders through the courts.

But it would also take that money we saved and put it into developing a committee of people regulating the police department to make sure that adult marijuana offenders don’t end up in jail.

Voting “yes” on Measure P would make it more time-consuming for police to file and report a marijuana crime, but a report will still exist.

Presently, people found with less than an ounce of marijuana receive a $175 fine.

You won’t get arrested, you won’t have a criminal history that would possibly keep you from getting a job, and you won’t end up in jail.

Compare that to getting your car out of impound for $300 if parked illegally in Isla Vista.

Do we really want people wandering the streets strung out on marijuana or hallucinating while operating a vehicle?

I know I wouldn’t want to be on the roads – in a car or on a bike – with someone intoxicated by marijuana.

It’s true only 6-11 percent of fatal accidents are marijuana-related, but that’s 6-11 percent we can eliminate by cracking down on marijuana offenders.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about eight percent of people from age 12-17 smoke pot.

In a random survey of 150 reckless drivers done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 33 percent tested positive for marijuana and had the same reactions as a drunk driver when put through the standard drunk driver test.

Then there’s the issue of having marijuana for medicinal reasons.

If police do find marijuana in your possession, all you have to do is produce a verifiable note from a doctor, and you’re excused from the small fine.

The Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Centre serves about 800 people medicinal marijuana out of a city of nearly 4 million.

That’s only .02% of the Los Angeles’ population.

The likelihood of someone cited for marijuana for medicinal purposes in Santa Barbara is miniscule.

If the measure is passed, how long will it take before marijuana is smoked in public, near schools, at work?

If that happens, what’s next? Alcohol? Couldn’t that be consumed in public as well? After all, they do have similar side effects.

So just remember when Nov. 7 rolls around, “puff-puff-pass” on Measure P and keep Santa Barbara the same beautiful community it is now.