Law Professors support Prop 19

Pretty impressive list.

To the Voters of California:

As law professors at many law schools who focus on various areas of legal scholarship, we write this open letter to encourage a wholesale rethinking of marijuana policy in this country, and to endorse the Tax and Control Cannabis 2010 initiative—Proposition 19—that will be voted on in November in California.

For decades, our country has pursued a wasteful and ineffective policy of marijuana prohibition. As with alcohol prohibition, this approach has failed to control marijuana, and left its trade in the hands of an unregulated and increasingly violent black market. At the same time, marijuana prohibition has clogged California’s courts alone with tens of thousands of non-violent marijuana offenders each year. Yet marijuana remains as available as ever, with teens reporting that it is easier for them to buy than alcohol across the country.

Proposition 19 would remove criminal penalties for private use and cultivation of small amounts of marijuana by adults and allow California localities to adopt—if they choose—measures to regulate commerce in marijuana. Passage of Proposition 19 would be an important next step toward adopting an approach more grounded in reason, for California and beyond.

Our communities would be better served if the criminal justice resources we currently spend to investigate, arrest, and prosecute people for marijuana offenses each year were redirected toward addressing unsolved violent crimes. In short, the present policy is causing more harm than good, and is eroding respect for the law.

Moreover, we are deeply troubled by the consistent and dramatic reports of disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws against young people of color. Marijuana laws were forged in racism, and have been demonstrated to be inconsistently and unfairly applied since their inception. These are independent reasons for their repeal.

Especially in the current economic climate, we must evaluate the efficacy of expensive government programs and make responsible decisions about the use of state resources. We find the present policies toward marijuana to be bankrupt, and urge their rethinking.

This country has an example of a path from prohibition. Alcohol is subject to a regulatory framework that is far safer in every respect than the days of Al Capone. Just like the State of New York did when it rolled back Prohibition 10 years before the nation as a whole, California should show leadership and restore respect for the law by enacting the Tax and Control Cannabis 2010 initiative this November.

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39 Responses to Law Professors support Prop 19

  1. bobreaze says:

    thank god he people are begging to think for themselves.

    This aricle might make yo laugh pete. Good thing the commentors have already pretty much proved that the author is biased.

  2. claygooding says:

    The list of endorsements for Prop 19 will get even more impressive as we get closer to NOV 2nd and the beginning of the end.
    Dare we hope for a bill in the UN someday to change our antiquated and irrelevant defining line of history by changing it from BC/AD over to BP/AP?

  3. NCC Mike says:

    I’m forwarding this to my law professor in hopes he’ll sign on as well.

    Thanks for catching this one, Pete.

  4. Dante says:

    Have you ever heard the saying “The rats are abandoning ship just before she goes under”?

    I cannot shake the very strong feeling that, with Prop. 19, things are going in reverse. The rats are jumping aboard ship just as she is about to sail magnificently into the sunset.

    Rats? Yes, rats. The lawyers, judges, court reporters, doctors and nurses, college professors, high school teachers, unions, District Attorneys, politicians and even some of the cops – they have all kept silent about the atrocities committed during the war on drugs. Now, as it appears victory is imminent, they clamber aboard at the last minute to save their own (political) skins. Their motivation appears to be money – as in their taxpayer-financed jobs and budgets. How noble, you only end the greatest cause of human misery for MONEY, not to ease suffering.

    Shame on them.

  5. fixitman says:

    I understand what you’re saying but…I just really don’t care what it is that motivates people to join us in the cause against the war on drugs. Sure I think it would be fantastic if millions of people from all walks of life woke up one day with the idea that we the people each had a sovereign right to our own bodies (I’ve been telling anyone that will listen for 25 years the hypocrisy of cannabis prohibition.) The facts are that people are finally beginning to wake up. It is sad that it seems to have been brought to the fore by a budget crisis but oh well. Reasonable people are beginning to see reason. I understand your feelings but I can not join you in condemning people for doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

  6. Tony Aroma says:

    Did this open letter appear anywhere else but on the Yes on Prop 19 web site? If not, it’s pretty useless, just preaching to the choir. Maybe if it appeared in the LA Times, it might make a difference. But otherwise, not so much.

  7. kaptinemo says:

    Fixitman, I commiserate with the sentiment. I blame our public schools for inculcating an attitude that basic freedoms are derived from The State, not already possessed by The People. The word ‘inalienable’ has been effectively replaced with ‘negotiable’, with Gubmint holding all the cards.

    The passage of 19 represents a speed bump in that process of creeping totalitarianism. It won’t stop it, but it will slow it down…and once people get a taste of lost freedoms, they’ll want more. And that’s partly why every organization with an authoritarian bent will pull out all the stops to try to defeat it. It’s more than economics at stake.

  8. FM58 says:

    Has anyone looked into the economic and environmental issues of letting “indo” grow operations out into the sunlight? Maybe yet another money issue to pursue; one is either growing indoors because of crappie climate or because it needs to be hidden (illegal). It surely is not very “green” to feed a 1000W for six months. This might be hard to quantify, just how much energy (and money) can be saved by letting everyone grow outside?

  9. Ben Mann says:

    Is it just me, or do the law professors neglect to take a stance on the federal vs state law conflict? They could have made a huge impact by stating that the federal government cannot compel a state to enforce prohibition in the absence of a constitutional amendment, as we saw in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

  10. Dante says:


    Thank you for your comments. Peace to you as well.

    One thought: People who “do the right thing for the wrong reasons” are quite often trying to disguise their attempts to continue doing the wrong thing.

  11. darkcycle says:

    @Dante: Many of these individuals have worked for years, taught for years and believed for years that the drug war is wrong. In fact I would venture a guess that Angela Davis (yes, that Angela Davis, now a law professor and one of the MANY activist signatories of this letter) has done more for the cause of civil rights and freedom than anybody here, and EVERYBODY here, combined.
    So. Figure out that this is only one letter. And just because YOU have never heard of anybody on this list, well, that may just mean that you ain’t been around long enough, sonny. Angela Davis happens to be an old aquaintence of mine of twenty five years standing. I first met her at an unnamed university way back when she was a fugitive from the law for her beliefs. Before you rush to condemn people, find out just who it is you’re condemning.

  12. darkcycle says:

    Sorry, My Bad, it’s thirty-five years.

  13. Just me. says:

    I ask again, how much money from cartels flows into our political system?

  14. Just me. says:

    Many years ago there was a wall being built. At first , it seemed to be a wall keeping bad things out. The light still shined over it, no one minded. As the years went on, this wall grew wider and taller, til there was no light shining over and no way around. People took notice, many questioned when the light would shine again. They soon realized that the wall was getting much wider and much taller, they feared the light would never shine again. Many started rejecting this wall, attacking it. As the bricks started to fall, those who built it and maintained it would replace the bricks,but soon the bricks were falling fast enough that light started shining through again. Those who maintained it and had never seen this light before stopped and questioned the wall. Soon they to started attcking the wall. Now there is a huge hole in the wall, the number maintaing it is smaller than those attacking it and many are joining in this attack.

    The light is shining brightly now, I ask those attacking to not rest,dont bask in the light,For those who still try to maintain it are cunning and have forked tongues. Pick those bricks up and throw them at these devils. Drive them out!

    Let the light shine, tear down the wall!!

  15. Paul says:

    it isn’t so much that the rats are deserting the sinking ship, but that the train is leaving the station. All aboard!

  16. vicky vampire says:

    Yeah the only rat left will be Former Drug Czar Bill Bennett,I
    swear this man will never admit the folly of the drug nope not ever.

  17. Duncan20903 says:

    Hey, finally a sophomoric cannabis joke attached to a media article that I thought mildly amusing.

    —“In the upcoming California referendum on legalizing marijuana for recreational use, Mexican President Felipe Calderón and U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske have something in common. Both are missing the forest for the weed.”—

    That’s from today’s Washington Post:

    “California’s vote to legalize marijuana is a step in the right direction”

  18. stem and hempy says:

    FM58 they have LED grow lights now. They use a fraction of the power. Outdoors has a much better yield. So many ruff n tuff creampuff drug warriors think tomato plants are pot maybe it wouldn’t be too hard to grow outside.

  19. DdC says:

    We the partakers of Ganja have stimulated the economy paying for such drastic inflation, That’s sacrafice. Without bombing infrastructures from 30,000 feet popping go go pills. Without paying neocon corporate pilfers sucking up tax dollars on foreign police actions. The noble patriotic stoners keeping it alive during the dark age of Nexxon Furd then Rayguns paraquat sordies and Boosh Klintoon fungus sterilizations. Politics has never sided with truth about Ganja. The media dabbles occasionally but always knows what side their bread is buttered. Especially the rich.

    Buying home grown Cali Ganja has dented the Cartels for 40 years. P-19 might bring the timid out of the closet and add some tourist newbies. But its so damn prevalent anyone who has ever wanted it without much risk, could get it. So as far as a great pile of new tax money overall, I don’t see it happening in backwards places like Fresno, San DEAgo and poor sections of most places. But the new Budbars should be a kick. Especially with all the music in SC.

    Legally you can not tax vegetables. Tobacco is not taxed until it is adulterated with chemicals and/or packaged. As long as the Fed Drug Dicks have power there will be risk and isolated idiots busting and terrorizing Americans. Along with little change in price. Whitemans mentor Wilson and Lungreen murdered Peter McWilliams long after Prop 215.

    A country of pampered cowards that can’t remove the lies scheduling Ganja a #1 narcotic, including Rx and Hemp… Probably won’t say much about cops continuing their rounds rattling cages moonlighting Christmas with confiscations. Still getting their bloated budgets serving their District Attorney masters. Blind eyes of the educated ignorant circumventing justice with mandatory minimums, 404 gag rules, pisstastes and rehab strings attached to plea bargains making drug thugs richer. Right cheer in the Untied States of Anemica.

    YES ON 19, Do it For the Whole Country
    by Erica Warren
    I am Samuel Caldwell. And, you are Samuel Caldwell. All of us could be in the same situation as Samuel Caldwell, the first victim of marijuana prohibition, whether we use the drug or not.

    Opposing Marijuana Legalization Could Cost Jerry Brown the Governor’s Race

    Chaos Erupts Over Prop 19 at California Cannabis Expo
    CANNABIS CULTURE – A debate over California’s Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana in the state, was disrupted by critics of the bill who heckled scheduled speakers and interrupted proceedings at the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo in San Francisco.

    The Marijuana Conference 2010
    CANNABIS CULTURE – The Marijuana Conference, the first event covering business, legal, health, and the political issues surrounding the growing debate over marijuana, will take place on October 25 and 26 in New York City.

  20. ezrydn says:

    FIVE of my Law School Professors are listed. DAYUM! I didn’t know they had it in’em! Great work, TJU!!

  21. Shap says:

    None of my UF professors, shameful. Also, that CNN article by that Navarrette moron is simply atrocious. I never understood what his background was and why CNN gave him front page billing for his toilet paper quality columns.

  22. claygooding says:

    And the glove has been dropped by The AG:

    “”Eric Holder To Prosecute Distribution, Possession If Prop. 19 Passes””

    “”He made the comments in a letter to former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, dated Wednesday. “We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law,””

    Nothing unexpected here,any other response would make people think our government had some common sense.

    This will mean thousands of small commercial growers and higher prices,than the Rand estimates,but still possibly cheaper than today’s green market price. It will allow the cartels to continue to operate and therefore continue the prohibition machine on down the tracks.

    Now all the Justice Department has to do is come up with the money for jailing,feeding,clothing,Judicial actions and imprisoning all those nasty marijuana growers
    and users.

    This will certainly go a long ways towards reinstalling trust for our government,it’s laws and law enforcement agencies.

  23. malcolmkyle says:

    Thanks for that link Clay! I’ve just learnt to write upside down there:

    ˙llɐ ʇɐ dlǝɥ ƃuıoƃ ʇ,usı ǝɔuɐuossıp ǝʌıʇıuƃoɔ ɹnoʎ ʍǝds oʇ ǝnuıʇuoɔ oʇ os `ǝɔɐld ʇsɹıɟ ǝɥʇ uı ssǝɯ sıɥʇ oʇuı sn ʇoƃ ʇɐɥʍ ǝɹɐ sɐǝpı pıdnʇs ɹnoʎ ʇnq `ʎlpıdɐɹ ƃuıpɐɟ uoıʇıqıɥoɹd pǝʌolǝq ɹnoʎ ɹoɟ ʇɹoddns ǝǝs oʇ sʞɔns ʇı lǝǝɟ noʎ ʍouʞ ı ˙ǝsnɐɔ ʇsol ɹǝɥʇouɐ sǝʌlǝsɹnoʎ puıɟ puɐ ǝsuǝsuou ʎllıs ɹnoʎ ƃuıpɐǝɹ ɟo ǝlqnoɹʇ ǝɥʇ llɐ sn ǝʌɐs uǝɥʇ `ʇı oʇ pǝɥɔɐʇʇɐ ǝɯɐu ɹnoʎ ʇuɐʍ uǝʌǝ ʇ,uop noʎ ʇɐɥʇ ʇuǝʇxǝ uɐ ɥɔns oʇ puɐ `noʎ oʇ uǝʌǝ snolnɔıpıɹ spunos ʇuǝɯnƃɹɐ ɹnoʎ ɟı :uoıʇıqıɥoɹd ɟo sɹǝʇɹoddns llɐ oʇ ǝʇou

  24. kaptinemo says:

    So, Uncle Sam will have to borrow more money from China to pay for Federal anti-drug efforts (as he’s done all along)? The Chinese don’t want to lend anymore, not until Uncle gets his fiscal house in order…and that means deep cuts in Fed spending.

    Mr. Holder is talking through his sphincter if he thinks Uncle has the resources to do as he threatens. Especially as he’s now signaled to all those cannabist swing voters that the O Administration isn’t serious about their not inconsiderable ability to tip elections if properly motivated. The youth vote will desert it, and rightly so.

    I’m tempted to start putting a slash through the “O” for Obama now, as Mr. Obama and the Democrats can now expect zero support from the very people he and they need.

  25. shaleen says:

    Tony Aroma- there’s an article on the wall street journal blog about it and it was mentioned in several other blogs including Transform and Above the Law

  26. darkcycle says:

    Thanks Clay. Well. I would thought he would wait until until after the passage in November to start with the puff and bluster. His drug warriors REALLY must be pissing themselves green worrying about their precious prohibition. This was, after all, aimed at them first, the media second (being it’s the Friday news dump, he probably hoped this would sail under the radar…NOT).
    This is a lovely little test of the theory that we live in a democracy, isn’t it?

  27. darkcycle says:

    Bang. I hope Obama realizes that if Atty. General Holder goes through with this little threat, and attempts to thwart the will of the residents of California as expressed through refferendum, he will most certainly lose the State of California in 2012, and hence, the general election….

    You don’t have to be a Vegas handicapper to do that math.

  28. thelburt says:

    an old saying goes: “if voting could change anything it would be made illegal”. we may find out in a few weeks. if its a waste of resources to go after the medical patients who comply with state laws, why is it wise policy to arrest honest citizens who’s only crime is the pursuit of happiness and good clean fun. this is holder trying to look tough when his hand is weak.

  29. Duncan20903 says:

    darkcycle, I am still promoting that people who go to the polls specifically to vote on Prop 19 should write in Tommy Chong. I’ve even decided that potheads that are going to vote against Prop 19 should also do so as long as long as their sole motivation in going to the polls is to vote against Prop 19. The politicians just don’t think we can get up off the couch and leave the cheetos long enough to go out and vote. The write in for Mr. Chong would present solid evidence that we vote to even the thickest poli-tard. Those with a sense of irony might like to write in Cheech Marin for Attorney General since he does have those years of law enforcement experience in San Francisco.
    malcolm be careful! I think posting encrypted anti-government opinions has some pretty heinous penalties. Did you purchase a license and provide a ‘back door’ key so the Federales can decode your cipher and figure out what it says?
    clay, well that is certainly good news for the growers and dealers in California. I am presuming that this memo will carry the same weight that the one that said they wouldn’t prosecute medical cannabis actors if in compliance with state law. Although it makes little sense to prosecute medical cannabis actors and let Prop 19 actors free reign. But nothing about this idiocy makes any sense, so that’s not likely relevant.

    Doesn’t this put to bed the delusional fantasy that the Feds will somehow overturn Prop 19? He could have said we will vigorously seek the striking of this law that is superseded by Federal Law?’
    @stem and hempy, I haven’t heard any reports that the LEDs are ready for prime time yet. Great theory and I sure hope it can be developed into a practical reality but the last time I looked it was still looking like a gimmick designed to extract the money from paranoid growers and bleeding edge early adopters. If there’s actually any in use in a commercial grow they must work really well because I still haven’t read about a grow bust that was using them. I’m a second wave buyer of new technologies ever since I spent over a $1000 to buy a betamax VCR. Well it was the superior technology. .But the second wave in LEDs still hasn’t shown up IMO.

    I’m really not optimistic that we will ever see the second wave for LEDs. I do think it’s shaping up to be like the mylar products that allegedly will defeat FLIR. Yeah, that does work. It works by sealing the heat into the grow room and not allowing it to dissipate. That heat has to go somewhere if you want to produce quality and quantity.

  30. ezrydn says:

    Not only a one-term President, but a lame-duck to boot! So, they’ve completely subjagated Justice Brandeis’ decision statement. The State of California should throw out all Federal officers. And in 2012, we can send Mr. CSA, Biden packing, along with his smooth talking lying buddy. Remember what you said, Mr. President? Change starts at the bottom, that is, unless you destroy every federalism foundation that’s first laid. Welcome to the furnace, Democrats! Your President says the Word of the People is of no account. Someone in Washington better make a stand quick or there will be NO Democratic Party!

  31. claygooding says:

    I grew with led’s and they worked really well in my small cabinet until the local police relieved me of them.
    I used 2 of the 12″X12″ with a 105 watt full spectrum
    cfl mounted between them in a dual chamber cabinet 32″X32X44″.
    All the cooling needed to maintain the temp below 90
    was (4) 4″ axial fans as intake/exhaust fans.
    Now I grow with (9) cfl’s at 200watts. All 6500k in the grow room and (5) 6500K with (4) 2700k cfl’s in the flower room and the temp still did not get above 95 degrees all last summer on the hottest day.
    No heat signature on the cfl’s either.

  32. claygooding says:

    The article about busting CA has gone nuclear viral at the Huffington Post.
    0ver 5500 posts in one hour.
    that has to be some kind of record.

  33. claygooding says:

    Opposing political parties are two cheeks on the same ass.

  34. ezrydn says:

    Have you noticed that CNN and FAUX have been totally quiet about Holder’s announcement? If they can deny the People’s right to vote, they can sure shut down news outlets they don’t like. Holder drew his line in the sand. Now, it’s up to the people of California to step across it. This totally kills Obama’s chances of reelection (good) and finally brings us face-to-face with the greatly revered CSA. Legislative paper overules the Vote of the People? I don’t think so! This could get nasty unless he backs down and comes to his senses.

  35. how about that hopey changey says:

    Holder: US will enforce marijuana laws despite how Californians may vote

    By Ron Brynaert
    Friday, October 15th, 2010 — 11:02 am

    Less than three weeks before California voters hit the polls, the Justice Department issued a preemptive message concerning a ballot measure making worldwide headlines.

    “Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal government will enforce its marijuana laws in California even if the state’s voters approve a ballot measure to legalize the drug,” Pete Yost reports for the Associated Press.

    He made the comments in a letter to former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, dated Wednesday.

    “We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law,” Holder wrote.

    He also said that legalizing recreational marijuana in California would be a “significant impediment” to the government’s joint efforts with state and local law enforcement to target drug traffickers, who often distribute marijuana alongside cocaine and other drugs. Holder said approval of the ballot measure would “significantly undermine” efforts to keep California communities safe.

    He made the comments in a letter to former chiefs of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, dated Wednesday.

  36. ezrydn says:

    I just sent a long treatise to Greta Van Sustern at Faux about Holder’s statement. Let’s see if she picks up the ball and runs with it.

    This position goes much deeper than simply “drugs.” The Federals are attempting to sway a State vote through fear tactics. Constitutional? And where would it stop? News outlets shut down for “wrong reporting?” Little Jimmy sent home for writing about the wrong subject? This is truly about more than just Prop 19. And it’s Democratically based, folks. I call and raise one YES vote.

  37. Duncan20903 says:

    clay, I will give LEDs a trial run based on your endorsement. An endorsement from someone I respect was all that was standing in the way of my doing so. LEDs really do seem too good to be true, and we all know or should know that if something sounds too good to be true that it almost certainly isn’t.

    I hope you weren’t allowing the 95 degree temps to persist. Photosynthesis almost stops when you get over 90 degrees. I had one room of proven females take a walk on the wild side because the cooling system failed and the temps got up to 99 degrees. Ironically that entire crop got taken by rippers. Enjoy those seed pods boys. I’d have been compelled by circumstance to use that crop to make medibles.

  38. Duncan20903 says:

    “Opposing political parties are two cheeks on the same ass.”

    ROFL clay, that sounds like something you would find inside a fortune cookie. I’ve already adopted that phrase and I’m certain I will be using that line years from now.

    Tommy Chong, writing in Tommy Chong for Governor. Tommy Chong, please report to the office of the State Governor in Sacramento. Paging Tommy Chong…

    The really sad thing is that Mr. Chong would likely do a much better job that any of the politards vying to win that elected office. But why not? The most respected news reporter on TV is Jon Stewart.

    Don’t forget to write in Cheech Marin for State Attorney General.

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