L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca says deputies would enforce marijuana laws even if Prop. 19 passes
“Proposition 19 is not going to pass, even if it passes,” Baca said in a news conference Friday at sheriff's headquarters in Monterey Park.
Baca, whose department polices three-fourths of the county, was bolstered Friday by an announcement from the Obama administration that federal officials would continue to “vigorously enforce” marijuana laws in California, even if state voters pass the measure.
Baca said the proposition was superseded by federal law and if passed, would be found unconstitutional.
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Flanked by other opponents of the measure, including Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, Baca made a colorful assault on marijuana use and sales. Asked if he had ever experimented with the drug, Baca was unequivocal. “Hell no,” he said.
California’s laws for personal users already are lenient, he said.
“If you have a need for an ounce or less … then use your marijuana, but use it privately,” he said. “If you want to do a joint in your house, do it. Leave the rest of us alone.”
Baca said personal users smoking in their homes were already a non-priority for police agencies, including his own. His department’s target, he said, are the dealers.
Baca came out against the measure early on, joining forces with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to try to defeat it. Polls have shown California voters are split.
Baca said Friday local law enforcement agencies should abide by federal drug laws prohibiting marijuana even if the state measure passes.
“[Prop.] 19 has no effect on what we’re going to do,” he said
-- Robert Faturechi in Monterey Park
Photo: L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca. Credit: Los Angeles Times