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September 2010
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LEAP blitzes California

A good day today for Prop 19. The money bomb is getting close to $50,000, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition has been around the state making important points.

Ventura County Star:

Joseph McNamara, who headed the San Jose Police Department for 15 years, called the ballot measure a potential “game-changer” that would allow police agencies to devote more resources to fighting other crimes and undercut criminal syndicates that are largely funded by illegal marijuana sales.

“Opponents say we should do more of the same of what has not worked for more than a century,” McNamara said in phone call with reporters. “I think we should return some common sense to law enforcement by protecting people from crimes they are concerned about. People are not terrified by pot smokers.”

Also in the Ventura Star:

[retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James] Gray called the campaign for Proposition 19, “Probably the most important election of my lifetime.”

Los Angeles Times:

Gray was joined by former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara in arguing that much of the money flowing to violent drug cartels comes from the illegal sale of marijuana.

Citing White House statistics, McNamara said 60% of cartel money stems from marijuana. Those who argue that a black market would remain aren’t paying attention to history, McNamara said.

After the prohibition on alcohol was repealed, bootleggers disappeared, said McNamara, now a research fellow in drug policy at Stanford University.

And what about those other law enforcement groups?

Active law enforcement groups, including the California Police Chiefs Assn., are opposed to the measure, saying it would increase usage and promote crime. Gray, the retired judge, said he believes that many in law enforcement support legalization but are afraid to say so because of political pressure on the job.

“They have a political job, so they can’t tell the truth,” Gray said. “People are free to speak out honestly only after they are retired.”

Mercury News

Supporters said keeping pot illegal props up drug cartels and overburdens the state’s court system. Stephen Downing, former deputy chief for the Los Angeles Police Department, said the nation’s drug policy has failed, likening it to cutting off the leg of a spider to cripple it.

“The drug organizations are more like starfish,” Downing said during a press conference at a West Hollywood park where children were playing with their parents behind him. “You cut a leg off, it regenerates. We are dealing with a sea of starfish. The only way you kill a starfish is to remove its nutrient. And that nutrient is money.”

Phil Smith at Drug War Chronicle has more on today’s press conferences: Cops Say Yes to California Marijuana Legalization Measure [FEATURE]

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9 comments to LEAP blitzes California

  • paul

    “They have a political job, so they can’t tell the truth,” Gray said. “People are free to speak out honestly only after they are retired.”

    That pretty much explains half the problem right there. I really like how blunt James Gray is, without also being insulting to people.

  • Just me.

    Active law enforcement groups, including the California Police Chiefs Assn., are opposed to the measure, saying it would increase usage and promote crime. Gray, the retired judge, said he believes that many in law enforcement support legalization but are afraid to say so because of political pressure on the job.

    “They have a political job, so they can’t tell the truth,” Gray said. “People are free to speak out honestly only after they are retired.”

    This what is wrong with our entire political system. Nothing honest can be done…its not allowed.
    Once honestly creeps back into government , those who are corrupt will be singled out.

  • Duncan20903

    I guess the thing I have a problem with is the claim that the police will have more resources to fight other crimes. But in reality the Feds give police departments buckets of cash for busting potheads. It’s the entire reason why 2010 was a record year for cannabis ‘eradication’, and why the record was in place earlier in the year than they normally start with the ‘eradication’ programs. The cops went out hunting pot plants much earlier than normal because they needed that Federal dough.

    (Psssst, be vewwy vewwy quiet, I’m hunting weefer plants hehehehehe)

  • it is still very silly to argue that because 60% of the cartels funding comes from cannabis, that prop 19 will “break their backs.”

    you see, the vast majority of American pot smokers actually don’t live in california, thus the black market will continue to thrive.

    the only way to effectively destroy the cartels is to end the war completely.

    we need to be mindful of our own hyperbolic claims if we are to successfully challenge the current mythologies surrounding the drug use question

    we still have a shitload of work to do irrespective of the fate of prop 19

  • claygooding

    But we have to start somewhere and our efforts towards getting it through require hyperbolic claims,screaming, yelling and whatever it takes to get it passed.
    We have to be just as ruthless as the drug warriors in our attacks on their policy and any science they want to buy supporting their agenda.
    If we take care of one myth a day,every day,eventually there will be no more myths.
    We have the DEA and ONDCP on the ropes and I for one refuse to back off and let them get a breath.
    Our next goal is to see how many states put bills in for legalization in 2011,screw waiting on 2012.

  • Dante

    Brian said:
    “you see, the vast majority of American pot smokers actually don’t live in california, thus the black market will continue to thrive.”

    If prop 19 passes, the vast majority of Americans may very well move to California just to get away from the gestapo in their states.

    I wonder how the feds will spin that to make us terrorists? “They moved to California! Shoot them!”

  • aye… it’s nice to stop and enjoy a good sunset on occasion…

    For me it’s seriously heartening to see an effort like LEAP put on Monday. I’ve been waiting for that org specifically to have a campaign of some sort and this was a well planned and staged event. This effort and all its attendant coverage will surely raise LEAP’s public profile and garner a major nudge for prop 19. “What honey? You just saw and heard a retired police chief say THAT? Wow, that makes sense…”

    And yes, as brian states, the drug war will slog on regardless of 19’s passage (or not). Win or lose on 19, the drug war machine will fight for its survival.

    It’s time to put the warning flagging up… more bricks a-fallin’!

  • allow me to clarify: we don’t need to make false claims.

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