Critics of ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon, California and Colorado are focusing on mothers, according to Reuters.
Opponents are using grassroots meetings to try to convince parents to vote against the measures. “If people tell you it’s not a gateway drug – it’s baloney,” Colorado state Representative Kathleen Conti said at a recent gathering of parents and other residents.
“Talking about the impact to kids is critical and crucial to our success,” says Roger Sherman, who is leading Colorado’s anti-legalization campaign. “Suburban women are one of our strongest core constituencies for our campaign.”
Anti-legalization groups are talking about the risk to youths, although the measures would not allow marijuana sales to teenagers. The article notes there is conflicting data on whether making marijuana legal for adults would lead to increased use by teens.
Colorado’s teachers union came out against the measure, saying it would hurt students. The main group backing the measure in Colorado, called the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, says that when marijuana is sold underground, it is entirely uncontrolled. Mason Tvert, the group’s co-director, called it the “worst possible policy” for protecting teenagers.
Polls suggest there is substantial voter support for initiatives in Colorado and Washington that would allow recreational use of marijuana. Voters in Oregon are split.
All of the measures would legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for anyone over age 21, and would allow taxable retail sales of the drug. The measures would conflict with federal law, which outlaws marijuana. The governors of all three states are opposed to the measures.