Tulare County Board expresses opposition to Props
By Paul Myers
tulare county – While some voters may be wringing their hands over which way to vote, the leaders of Tulare County have firmly made up their mind on at least two propositions on the ballot this year. Last week the Board of Supervisors passed two resolutions voicing their concerns over proposition 64 and 57.
Proposition 64 decriminalizes the recreational use of marijuana. The proposition allows people aged 21 or older to possess, process, share or transport no more than one ounce of marijuana for personal consumption and not for sale. As well, it allows for people to grow no more than six plants indoors or on private property, again for personal use, and subject to reasonable local regulations.
And while the language allows for local governments the option and ability to ban commercial marijuana activities, that is not what stands in the way of the board. A Tulare County board report noted that, “The safety and well-being of Tulare County residents is of the upmost priority to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. Studies have suggested that the legalization of medical marijuana can lead to an increase in youth addiction, impaired driving while under the influence of marijuana, respiratory issues, emergency room and hospital marijuana related admissions, and a possible increase for the underground black market distribution and sales of marijuana.”
The County contends that while the arguments for increased local and State revenue’s may be grand, “The public safety risks associated with this Proposition are far too great to ignore.”
One of the most evidential statements in their resolution is that, “There are no current testing standards or criteria allowing law enforcement to determine if an individual is under the influence of marijuana while driving a vehicle.”
In addition to the Board’s opposition to Proposition 64, they chose to pass a second resolution to Proposition 57.
In a Board of Supervisors report, it is noted that in the previous five years the State has seen an unprecedented release of criminals from the state prison system. Already, “It is possible for a prison inmate to earn credits to reduce their sentence by as much as two-thirds. The California Attorney General recently reported that thousands of inmates have been released early due to these expanded roles.”
Proposition 57, titled The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, has been regarded as misleading according to the Board report. “It does not reflect the provisions of the proposed act and was crafted in such a way so as to garner public support.”
The Board contends in their report that the Proposition, “endangers, rather than protects, public safety.”
While the Board’s resolution spells out its opposition, it nonetheless contributes to the alleviation of the over populated California prison system. In 2009 the United States Supreme Court order the State to reduce it’s population. As a result voters approved Proposition 47 in 2014 that reduced certain non-violent felonies to misdemeanors and gave more inmates higher chance to be considered for parole. Prop 57 is proposed to largely do the same.
However, the Board points to increased levels in crime stating that, “California has shown a dramatic increase from 2014 to 2015…statewide homicide rate increased almost 10%, robbery and aggravated assault showed similarly substantial increased, and auto theft and theft offenses were both up over 10%.”
While those statistics were issued by the State Attorney General’s office, it does not tie them to the released or paroled population as a result of Prop 47, realignment, or Prop 36.