Oh Wow, Man. Vote NO on Prop 205.

Oh Wow, Man.  Vote NO on Prop 205.

Mike-Varney_Tucson-Metro-Chamber_borderIf ever there were a time for the revival of common sense in our culture now is the time. Do we want more auto accidents, drug dependency, stoned students and workplace mishaps or don’t we? A vote in favor of Proposition 205, an initiative to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in Arizona, will all but assure our communities are victimized by these nasty outcomes. C’mon folks, how much easier does a decision get? That’s why the Tucson Metro Chamber and employers and citizens across Arizona urge a NO vote on Prop 205.

Prop 205 is the brain child of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). It is a Trojan horse cloaked in promises of more tax revenue for schools and a neutral impact on societal norms and personal behavior. Prop 205 is anything but, so don’t take the bait.

For the moment, let’s put aside the fact that marijuana use is against federal law. Unless things have changed, my eighth grade civics class lessons remind me that federal law takes precedence over conflicting state law. I thought our political leaders took oaths to uphold the law of the land. Since the feds have turned a blind eye to states like Colorado, Oregon and Washington where recreational pot is already legal, I guess oaths and the trust citizens put in our federal authorities have become “situational”.

More to our own back yard, Arizonans should vote NO for lots of reasons important to our state and our communities.


  • AAA in Washington State says marijuana-related traffic fatalities have doubled since legalization there.
  • In Colorado marijuana-related traffic deaths increased 62% since legalization.
  • Pot-related DUI arrests in Oregon skyrocketed 163% in the first six months of that state’s legalization.

Our own Tucson Medical Center (TMC) includes the following in its formal NO position on Prop 205: “Efforts to address two of our largest and most immediate problems – substance abuse and accidents – would be directly undermined by this ballot measure. We anticipate if marijuana becomes more readily available that there will be more visits to the emergency room – not only from people who are not aware that marijuana is far more potent than it was decades ago, but from children who may accidentally ingest edibles in the form of candy, brownies and gummy bears that are more attractive to kids. There is also no question that the wording of the law would complicate the prosecution of impaired drivers.”


  • Prop 205 authorizes the production and sale of highly-concentrated marijuana edibles and candies without limits on potency.
  • 45% of the marijuana products sold in Colorado are edibles that are accessible and attractive to young people. Many are packaged to look identical to well-known candy brands with very slight changes in spelling.
  • Accidental ingestion by young people has increased more than 600% in marijuana-friendly states.
  • Colorado kids now rank #1 in the nation for marijuana use.
  • Promises of tax revenues for schools from the marijuana tax have a pattern of going up in smoke.

Cherry Creek, Col. School Superintendent Harry Bull, Jr. says, “The only thing that the legalization of marijuana has brought to our schools has been marijuana.”

Legalized marijuana is just what our teachers and school administrators don’t need – one more impediment to learning they have no control over.


  • Workers who test positive for marijuana experience 55% more industrial accidents and 85% more injuries.
  • Under the terms of Prop 205 employers will only be able to take action against the marijuana-using employee if that employee is performing a task that constitutes “negligence or professional malpractice.” (So I guess that just showing up stoned is okay, then?)
  • Prop 205 language gives marijuana-using employees rights over those who do not use and strips employers’ ability to maintain a safe and drug-free workplace. (And you thought HR regulations were already complicated enough!)


  • Language in the 20-page Prop 205 contains a number of contradictions that will almost certainly lead to lengthy legal battles.
  • Prop 205, if passed, would create two new government agencies. (Gotta think a good share of that tax revenue promised to schools will go there.)
  • This is not purely an Arizona proposition. It was written with the help of out-of-state lobbyists and will guarantee monopolies in peddling this poison to Arizona citizens.
  • More and more newborns are born in Colorado with THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in their bloodstreams.
  • Crime, homelessness and drug cartel activity have all increased in Colorado since legalization.
  • Visit Denver (their convention and visitors bureau) reports, “Denver is losing visitors and valuable convention business as a result of these overall safety issues…”
  • If enacted, there is likely no way out of this mess for local municipalities. There is an opt-out clause in Colorado, not so in the language of Arizona’s Prop 205.

Some people just don’t know common sense when it stares them in the face. The Tucson Metro Chamber trusts that common sense is still alive and well in our great state and that Arizonans will do the right thing and say “no thanks” to a state-sponsored drug culture and say NO to Prop 205.


Michael V. Varney
President & CEO