SaveCalifornia, the organization that helped bring you Prop. 8, has a new target in its sights: gay pot.

OK. It’s just regular pot. But in the wake of Prop 8’s overruling, SaveCalifornia is putting their homophobic frustrations toward defeating Prop. 19, California’s marijuana legalization initiative.

The LGBT and marijuana legalization movements have a great deal in common. Extremism, misinformation and bigotry have made it difficult for both drug users and homosexuals to be open and come out about their lifestyles. And to be frank, whether it’s marijuana or a penis, what right does the government have to tell me what I can’t put into my own body if I don’t harm anyone else?

Yesterday, SaveCalifornia debuted their anti legalization commercial on YouTube (with comments disabled of course) and new website, The new commercial has some frightening "facts" and black and white images aimed at making pot look almost as scary as a gay couple adopting a child.

This video is ripe with misinformation and exaggerations.

Marijuana use causes cancer

A NIDA funded study published in 2006 (the largest case control study ever done on this) looked at the association between marijuana use and cancer and "unexpectedly concluded that smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer." Dr. Donald Tashkin who headed up the study even used subjects who had smoked over 22,000 joints.

"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use," he said. "What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect."

Now here’s the real kicker for you. In 2003 The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services was granted a patent on cannabinoids as… antioxidant and neuroprotectants. That’s right. The U.S. government in all its drug war glory has a patent on the active and inactive ingredients in marijuana as something that protects your brain (and other) cells!

Marijuana is the #1 cause of addiction for teens in rehab

First of all, isn’t that in itself a glaring testament to the failure of marijuana prohibition? This stuff has been illegal for almost a century and over $10 billion dollars is spent enforcing marijuana laws every year. If the current laws are so successful why do teens have such easy access to pot that it’s the #1 cause of addiction? Most importantly, that statement is a distortion because it doesn’t take into account how many of these kids are getting treatment not because they need it but because they are being coerced after getting arrested with a joint. If you had the choice between having a drug arrest on your record or saying you’re an addict and going to treatment – which would you choose?

The gateway theory… Won’t even waste your time here.

Then there are the claims made about the actual initiative. That it will allow marijuana to be sold in grocery stores and that highway accidents will increase. If passed, Prop 19 wouldn’t allow pot to be sold in grocery stores – it would allow counties to decide if and how they will regulate the sale and taxation of marijuana (and most counties will do no such thing). Even if a county allowed grocery stores to sell it, Safeway isn’t going to risk going head to head with the feds so they can sell weed. Driving under the influence remains illegal under Prop 19 and there is a strong argument against pot related accidents increasing based on studies and data.

And will teen marijuana use go up? It’s possible. But Prop. 19 doesn’t legalize marijuana for teens. It legalizes if for adults over 21 and creates laws against the sale of cannabis to a minor by an adult similar to the way we regulate alcohol sales.

Now I’m not saying pot is good for anyone (the government can do that with their patent), but SaveCalifornia’s claims about marijuana legalization are as valid as their claims against same sex marriage.

Jonathan Perri

Jonathan Perri