In response to Mr. Bame- Factual Corrections and Scientific Consensus

A few factual corrections to the kind sir Mr. Bame's stance against local Prop 1-- the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana on private property for adults 21 and over.

First, it's not my proposal. While I am humbled to be associated as the progenitor of this social justice cause and policy modernization, I am but one of thousands who signed and circulated petitions and who supports this measure. The measure is from the Coalition for a Safer East Lansing, not myself. Indeed, I was a core community organizer, but this measure is supported by the majority of voters, several past mayors, the current mayor, council members Woods and Beier, and council candidates Erik Altmann and Steve Ross. Heck, the fact that Triplett and I agree on something is quite rare….. it must be a good idea!!

Second, Mr. Bame is incorrect. There is a standard for, as he states, a "DUI for marijuana". It's called Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, statutory citation MCL 257.625, and it's the same punishment as driving under the influence of alcohol. This is well established Michigan law and it is unlawful for someone to drive "under the influence" of marijuana. Police with probable cause can even get a warrant to test a person's blood for nanogram amounts of THC to determine this, as routinely happens.

So, the problem is political, not scientific, contrary to Mr. Bame's claim. Science tells us that everyone has different cannabinoid levels in their bodies, as they occur naturally, and that high levels of THC don't necessarily correlate to impairment to drive. THC levels also don't correlate to "intoxication" as THC often spikes directly after use while effects set in some time later. Some medical marijuana patients have THC levels far beyond occasional users even when they wake up in the morning.

This local proposal has nothing to do with driving, and driving while one's faculties are impaired will remain illegal regardless of the vote. This claim is often made as political opposition along with a few other "reefer madness" stereotypes that are widely discredited by experts. The Center for Disease Control cites zero deaths attributable to marijuana, while alcohol (excluding car accidents) are approximately 40,000 per year, and tobacco approx. 400,000 per year.

The federal government recently released it's own study showing use of marijuana had no discernible affect on the ability to drive other than in teenage boys-- which are the most dangerous drivers to begin with. In other words, typical marijuana users had no greater risk of car accidents than non-users when adjusting for controls. Wonkblog: "Stoned drivers are a lot safer than drunk ones, new federal data show" The Washington Post

No one should drive impaired by any substance, including prescription drugs (a far worse problem), or while sleepy, texting, etc. Neither myself nor the Coalition for a Safer East Lansing supports this. Given that improving public safety is the core mission of of the Coalition, and the war on cannabis has resulted in far more insecurity and violence than marijuana use (just read the stories of the little baby struck by flash grenade or the people killed in improper raids- The Watch "Georgia toddler critically injured by police's flash grenade"), it's clear to see the facts and the science support decriminalizing marijuana, the far safer substance for adults than alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, peanuts, swimming in the ocean and getting attacked by a shark, or a rhinoceros, dying in a plane crash, dying in a terror attack….. and on an on. Our laws should be based on sound science, and cannabis laws clearly are not, as cannabis is widely accepted to have medical benefits and be non-addicting for most people, and should be de-scheduled from it's current schedule 1 status.

Vote Yes for Public Safety and Common Sense May 5th (or by absentee now!) on local Prop 1.

Jeff Hank
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