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Walnut Creek Says “No” To Pot Legalization; Citizens Scratch Their Heads – And Blaze Up

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The vote for legalized recreational marijuana use may have already been cast in California and elsewhere in the court of public opinion, but Walnut Creek city officials and police agencies aren’t so sure – pointing to problems that have popped up in cities where legal restrictions have been relaxed.

The City Council opted to state its opposition to a measure legalizing recreational use and sale of the leaf with a 4 to 1 vote against passage of Proposition 64 Tuesday night – council member Bob Simmons the only dissenting vote.

In an appearance before the council, Walnut Creek Police Chief Thomas Chaplin cited the experiences of his colleagues in Washington state and Colorado, two states where whole economies have sprung up around a burgeoning marijuana industry, and argued against passage of the measure.

Chaplin told the council how law enforcement has been unable to keep up with a resultant increase in marijuana-related crimes in those states, saying that passage of the proposition would create a heavy burden on police services and negatively impact public safety here at home.

Marijuana may already be a prevalent party favor in California, legal for those who use it for medical purposes, and popular with others for whom it has been the longstanding drug of choice. Passage of Proposition 64 would impose a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana products and place a cultivation tax on the plant itself, something those who favor its legalization seem okay with.

“I don’t use but I see no problem with smoking it,” Carey Levine of Walnut Creek offered Wednesday. “It seems pretty benign, particularly when you compare its effects to those created by alcohol use.”

Levine said she could understand law enforcement’s concern about the lack of enforceable limits and standards for those who, say, indulge and then drive – something that has led to accidents in marijuana friendly states and resultant questions about penalties.

“I totally get that,” she said. “How do you measure it? It’s not like the blood alcohol thing. They would have to have some sort of measure in order to prosecute someone… I see that.”

Currently, it is illegal to light up in public, to drive under the influence, to sell to anyone under 21, and to have more than six plants on hand for cultivation.

With its vote Tuesday night, Walnut Creek joins Solano County and 11 other California cities in voicing opposition to Prop 64.

Many people contacted in Walnut Creek Wednesday seemed unaware of their council’s action the preceding night, and at least one seemed unconcerned with their decision to oppose Prop 64.

“It’s okay,” said Veronique Price-Hayden. “Governments are often behind when it comes to the will of the people. This is going to happen eventually.”

 

19 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve maintained that there are two types of people in the world… Those who’ve tried pot, and those who lie about it

  2. Among the incidents of crimes cited by police were frequent break ins at local bakeries
    and dairies. In each case the perpetrators left money and thank you notes behind.

  3. Is it that the police have to determine how stoned you have to be in order to be too stoned to drive? Can’t it just be DUI? I’d like to see government and the corporations kept out of the whole thing. JMO

  4. Understand that much of the concerns are over the fact that this is largely a cash business, and that there are large amounts of money on hand at many of these stores and dispensaries. That would be troubling for law-enforcement and I can see how security would be an issue. That said it would really be nice to be able tax some of the large amounts of money associated with this business and perhaps dedicate it to our schools or maybe even repairing our infrastructure. In my opinion there’s more of an upside here than there is down.

  5. Hey! This isn’t Colorado or Texas. If some twenty-something entrepreneur from Cal or Stanford can’t solve the cash problem, my name isn’t Rhinestone Rudy.

  6. I agree with Greg. I praise Walnut Creek for their stance too.

    I also agree with Matthew. There would a lot of cash on hand, and it would be troubling for law enforcement (and others). Like armed robbery.

    Having grown up in the 70s… when drugs were allegedly “cool”… JUST SAY NO!

  7. Decriminalize it. Make it available for personal use. Decentralize the dispensary model and remove the problem of a brick-and-mortar space likely to get robbed and just have a green delivery service model in place. There are several already in place and doing well without problem. And investigate the medicinal benefits. If someone crashes their car while high prosecute them the way you would if they were driving drunk.

  8. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. ——”
    Granted, the Declaration of Independence is aspirational, especially given that not all men and certainly women were not viewed equally, but I would think that growing and consuming a natural plant would fall under the Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness clause. The government should have to demonstrate real harm, harm that outweighs the benefits or harms from proscription, in order to restrict such a liberty. Alas, the motives for the marijuana crackdown were neither virtuous nor rationale. “Reefer Madness” is part of our law enforcement legacy, a policy to protect white youth from “degenerates.” Same reason, same effect as the disparity in punishment for possession of crack cocaine vs powder cocaine. White male majority, white male majority point of view.

  9. I don’t know the men and women of the WC City Council or how well or how poorly they might be informed about current drug policy in this country and about the history of drug enforcement, but I couldn’t help but notice that the 4 candidates for 2016 pictured on the WC home page are all white and predominantly male, like me. That includes Bob Simmons, the lone dissenter on this policy vote who will undoubtedly be heretofore known as Stoner Bob in campaign ads. It will be interesting to see how accurately their votes reflect their community in November. I really have no idea. Maybe WC will vote No.

  10. Stop incarcerating people for possession of small amounts of this leaf. Just say no was simple, weak and ineffective.

  11. This could be a very lucrative partnership for any city smart enough to partner with a forward thinking dispensary. The upside potential is strong. I understand the police position but they are thinking about this in traditional terms. This can be done safely and people don’t have to go to jail for smoking a natural thing.

  12. People who wants drugs legalized fail to realize how “drug related” crime is. Sure, legalize drugs and increase the crime rate. Just what Lamorinda needs. More drug addicts committing burglaries to feed their habit. No, thank you.

    Just say no can be very effective. Unless you want to become a drug addict with a criminal record. And be unemployed because you can’t keep a job. Nice life…

  13. In this prop 64 advisory nonsense, the WC council is covering their ass with the Rossmoor voters due to the 3 slots open on the council. Otherwise, denial.

  14. Legalize it. Harshly penalize people who use it and operate motor vehicles while under the influence. I do believe it is 100 times less harmful than the alcohol peddled in bars in stores.

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