Placerville, CA – At the October 11, 2016, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board voted unanimously in favor of a resolution opposing the passage of California Proposition 64. Proposition 64 would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 years or older in the State of California.
In opposing the proposition, the Board of Supervisors cited, in a resolution, evidence that marijuana use and secondhand exposure pose health risks, including increased risk for cancer, heart attack, stroke, reproductive toxicity, respiratory impairment, long-lasting detrimental changes in brain function, and increased risk of addiction. In addition, the Board has concerns about the accessibility to teens, as the full effects of marijuana use on their short and long term health are still unknown.
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The Board of Supervisors follows the American Academy of Pediatrics in its opposition to the proposition due to the potential harm marijuana could have to children and adolescents. In addition, the California State Sheriffs’ Association has issued a position statement opposing efforts to legalize recreational marijuana. Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act and is defined as having a high potential for abuse.
California has in place laws allowing the compassionate use of marijuana for those with specified medical conditions making Proposition 64 a non-urgent proposal. Further study and analysis are needed to determine the full consequences of the legalization of recreational marijuana use in other states before it is allowed by the State of California. For example, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics found in Colorado that pediatric cases of marijuana increased at a higher rate in the state than in the rest of the United States (the time period is from 2009 through 2015). More studies, like the JAMA Pediatrics study, are needed to understand the consequences of the legalization of recreational marijuana before it occurs.
Editor’s note: The study referenced above can be found here. “Eighty-one patients were evaluated at the children’s hospital, and Colorado’s RPC received 163 marijuana exposure cases between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2015, for children younger than 10 years of age.”