Recent polls show marijuana legalization will go down in flames in California on Nov. 2, while some interpreting those surveys claim many voters saying no to pollsters will punch yes to Prop 19 once inside the voting booth, paving the way to victory.
The votes of undecideds will be critical. Fortunately, they can feed their heads about the pros and cons of legalization this week at such unlikely venues as a Newport Beach hotel and two local universities, one of which is Christian.
Just Say Now, which is pushing for legalization in several states, does not see gloom and doom in the latest polls that show Prop 19 will lose Nov. 2 because not enough young voters will turn out for a mid-term election.
According to Just Say Now, poll results are different when one compares what respondents tell a live questioner (no on 19, 46 percent to 41 percent) versus what they say to an automated interviewer (yes on 19, 56 percent to 41 percent). That would indicate, when alone in the polling booth, most voters will support Prop 19, according to Just Say Now.
Because the vote could come down to the wire, more efforts are being launched to reach undecided voters. Just Say Now recently announced it is teaming up with the Denver, Colorado-based Women's Marijuana Movement for a phone-bank campaign blitz in favor of legalization in California.
You can learn about the pros and cons of legalization from the California Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM), which presents a free discussion about whether marijuana is addictive, what legalization will mean to the health of Californians and what it all means for children.
Panelists include: CSAM president Dr. Timmen Cermak, who speaks on the basic research of marijuana and health; Center for Addiction Research Dr. Alan Budney, who provides the latest clinical data on marijuana use, dependence, withdrawal and treatment; University of Cincinnati Dr. Krista Medina, who presents important research on the effects of marijuana on adolescents; and Dr. J. Hampton Atkinson, co-director of the Medical Cannabis Research Center, who gives an overview of research on medicinal characteristics of cannabis, including the potential for future cannabinoid based medications. (Dr. Judy Martin, past president of CSAM, will be available to translate into Spanish.)
This runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel. Know that the California Society of Addiction Medicine has taken a neutral position on Prop 19 and only intends to educate California voters about the science of marijuana and the brain. For more information, go to CSAM-asam.org.
(If you want to bone up before the presentation, CSAM suggests checking out these articles: "Californians Must Look at Science of Marijuana," San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 22, 2010; and "Marijuana's Health Effects," Los Angeles Times, Oct. 5, 2010.)
The winner of the most-provocatively titled Prop 19 panel discussion is Cal State Fullerton with "Legally Stoned in California."
The free event features: Mark A.R. Kleiman, a UCLA public policy professor; Beau Kilmer, RAND Corp.'s Drug Policy Research Center co-director; Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance; and Dr. J. Hampton Atkinson, a medical doctor from UC San Diego's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. A speaker representing law enforcement has also been invited.
Presented by Cal State Fullerton's departments of Criminal Justice, Geography and Sociology and Alpha Phi Sigma, the national Criminal Justice Honor Society, the free, public panel discussion runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Portola Pavilion at the Titan Student Union .
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Retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray, a leading Libertarian advocate of legalization, OtherSide Farms co-op owner Chadd McKeen, retired police captain Dave Brooks and professor Darren Guerra participate in a panel discussion on Prop 19 presented by the History/Political Science Department of Vanguard University, a Christian campus in Costa Mesa.
(Gray and McKeen also turn up in sort of a printed panel discussion conducted by my Weekly colleague Nick Schou: "Prop 19: More Than a Nickel Bag of Opinions.")
The discussion in Needham Chapel runs from 7-9 p.m. Thursday. For more information, visit OtherSideFarms.com or call 949.515.4754.