A group of police officers, judges, and prosecutors who support Proposition 19, the California ballot measure to control and tax cannabis (marijuana), will hold simultaneous press conferences Monday, September 13 in front of Oakland City Hall and in West Hollywood Park near Los Angeles to release a letter of endorsement signed by dozens of law enforcers across the state.
“At each step of my law enforcement career – from beat officer up to chief of police in two major American cities – I saw the futility of our marijuana prohibition laws,” said Joseph McNamara, former police chief in San Jose and Kansas City, MO, now a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “But our marijuana laws are much worse than ineffective: they waste valuable police resources and also create a lucrative black market that funds cartels and criminal gangs with billions of tax-free dollars.”
Former LAPD sergeant and Los Angeles County deputy district attorney William John Cox, added, “This November, Californians finally have a chance to flip the equation and put drug cartels out of business, while restoring public respect for the criminal laws and their enforcement by passing Proposition 19 to control and regulate marijuana.”
Also speaking at the press conferences will be current Oakland city attorney John Russo, former LAPD deputy police chief Stephen Downing, former Oakland drug nuisance prosecutor James Anthony, retired Orange County Superior Court judge Jim Gray, former Torrance Police Department beat officer and drug identification expert Kyle Kazan, former Wheatland, CA police officer Nate Bradley, and others.
In the sign-on letter being released at the press conferences, dozens of law enforcers outline their reasons for supporting Proposition 19, detailing how it will:
* Put our police priorities where they belong, by ending the arrests of non-violent cannabis consumers, and enabling police to focus instead on preventing violent crime
* Cut off funding to violent gangs and drug cartels, who generate the majority of their revenue from illegal marijuana sales
* Protect the lives of police officers now at risk in the “drug war” line of fire
* Reduce marijuana access to children by instituting strict age-limits and public safety controls
* Restore mutual respect and good relations between law enforcement and communities bearing the brunt of the current marijuana laws
For journalists who can’t physically attend the press conferences, the Yes on 19 campaign will be holding a conference call featuring several anti-prohibition law enforcers on Monday at 12:30 PM PDT. For dial-in info, please contact Tom Angell at 202-557-4979 or media at leap dot cc.
These law enforcement leaders join the National Black Police Association, the California NAACP, doctors, Latino community leaders, faith leaders, labor, business leaders, elected officials, political parties, and more, in endorsing Proposition 19. For a full list of endorsements, please visit: http://www.yeson19.com/endorsements.
Similar to current alcohol and tobacco laws, Proposition 19 will give state and local governments the ability to control and tax the sale of small amounts of cannabis to adults age 21 and older. As the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), which provides non-partisan fiscal and policy advice, confirms, Prop 19 includes significant safeguards and controls: It maintains strict criminal penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana, increases the penalty for providing marijuana to a minor, expressly prohibits the consumption of marijuana in public, forbids smoking marijuana while minors are present, and bans possession on school grounds.
http://www.lao.ca.gov/ballot/2010/19_11_2010.pdf (Page 3)
California’s tax collector, the Board of Equalization (BOE), which currently collects alcohol and tobacco taxes, estimates that marijuana taxes could generate $1.4 billion in revenue each year, available to fund law enforcement, healthcare, and other critical needs.
The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) also says Prop 19 would enable California to put our police priorities where they belong, in that it “could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually. The county jail savings would be offset to the extent that jail beds no longer needed for marijuana offenders were used for other criminals who are now being released early because of a lack of jail space.”
http://www.lao.ca.gov/ballot/2010/19_11_2010.pdf (Page 6)
Multiple polls show that a majority of California voters support Proposition 19.