Fact-Based Resource for Media Covering Proposition 19


October 7, 2010

For Further Information:
Mike Gray, Co-Chair, Common Sense for Drug Policy
323-650-7212, info@drugwarfacts.org

Fact-Based Resource for Media Covering Proposition 19,
California’s Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010

Fact Sheet: http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/files/Marijuana-Facts-from-Drug-War-Facts.pdf

Los Angeles, CA: Common Sense for Drug Policy has produced a special edition of Drug War Facts for the media covering Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 initiative in California. It is called “Marijuana Facts on Drug War Facts” and can be found online in the Drug War Facts Marijuana chapter at http://www.DrugWarFacts.org/cms/Marijuana.

“The debate on whether to tax and regulate marijuana should be a fact-based one so that California can develop the most effective policy,” said Mike Gray, co-chairman of Common Sense for Drug Policy. “It is too easy when it comes to marijuana for people to lose sight of what is true and what is false, what is myth and what is reality. We are providing this resource to the media to make sure the debate remains elevated to fact-based information.”

The special edition, edited by Mary Jane Borden, includes sections on: usage rates, the effect of decriminalization on marijuana use, arrest rates, the deterrent effect of criminalization, the cost of enforcement, and potential tax revenues from legalization, among other issues. A few samples include:

  • Do criminal penalties deter marijuana use? Despite a federal ban and criminal penalties that vary among the 50 states, 104 million Americans are estimated to have tried marijuana at least once according to 2009 data, up by +10% from 95 million in 2002. SAMSHA, 2010.
  • Does marijuana increase healthcare costs? “[D]irect alcohol-related health care costs ($3,306.2 million in Canada) are over 45 times higher than the direct health care costs of cannabis ($73 million).” Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 2007.
  • Does marijuana cause cancer? “[W]e found no positive associations between marijuana use and lung or UAT cancers … Despite several lines of evidence suggesting the biological plausibility of marijuana use being carcinogenic, it is possible that marijuana use does not increase cancer risk …” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 2006.

Drug War Facts provides facts, citations, and links to their sources without any rhetoric or argument so that media covering Proposition 19 can do so based on the facts, not on mistaken claims. Produced by Common Sense since 1995, no cited fact has been found to be inaccurate.

Drug War Facts is consistently updated throughout the year and periodically published. It is available at http://www.DrugWarFacts.org.


Common Sense for Drug Policy is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to reforming drug policy and expanding harm reduction. CSDP disseminates factual information and comments on existing laws, policies and practices. CSDP provides advice and assistance to individuals and organizations and facilitates coalition building.