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Lawmen become key voices in marijuana-legalization fight -- on both sides of Proposition 19


On television, in news conferences, at forums and in phone calls, both sides in the battle over legalizing marijuana in California have turned to law enforcement to pitch their arguments to undecided voters who, skeptical of the war on drugs, wonder if the initiative might be a better way.

The opposition to Proposition 19 has deployed police officers and prosecutors to warn that the initiative would mean more children trying pot and more stoned drivers. Kim Raney, Covina's police chief for the last 10 years, became one of the most prominent opponents by default. When the issue went before the state's police chiefs, he joked, "Everybody took a giant step backwards."

Some of the former officers who support the initiative began to question drug laws while on duty, but have become outspoken only in retirement. "It's not a particular campaign that I really wanted to get involved with," former San Jose Chief Joseph D. McNamara said. "I like cops, and I have been around them all my life."

Proposition 19 would eliminate penalties for adults 21 and older who possess up to an ounce of pot or who grow the plants in plots of up to 25 square feet for personal use. The initiative also takes a step toward legalization, allowing cities and counties to authorize commercial cultivation and retail sales.

Stephen Downing, a former deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, was monitoring a sting operation in 1973 when a cocaine dealer shot and killed an undercover officer. "You say to yourself, 'What is this about?'" he said. "That stirred in my gut for quite a long time."

Read the full story here.

-- John Hoeffel

Photo: Joseph D. McNamara, former San Jose police chief, is one of the faces of the "yes" campaign for Proposition 19. Credit: Yeson19.com


Comments () | Archives (9)

If Prop 19 fails, there will be an increase of kids spraying paint into a paper bag and breathing fumes to get high.

Cocaine drug raid is comparible to marijuana how? Why not make alcohol illegal if your worried about people driving on it. and maybe kids wont drink if they smoke weed.

We're a police state. The Police tell us how to vote.

Vote yes on 19!

Law enforcement spends far too many resources unjustly targeting the modest, recreational user of marijuana, often with dire consequences for good citizens. For a dramatic and page-turning look at this issue, check out the novel STASH published by Random House at www.bydavidklein.com.

Follow the money. Police make money enforcing drug laws. Prohibition creates jobs for corrections and police officers.

This is why corrections and police officer unions oppose Proposition 19. They never consider the difference between right and wrong, only the potential loss of work for cops.

The fact that rank and file police officers are conflicted reveals the truth. They realize the War on Drugs is not a war on drugs. Drugs don't get shot. Drugs don't get arrested. People do.

American governments' war on Americans has failed. The Prop 19 opposition's only argument alleges that Prop 19 isn't perfect. Whether or not this is true, Prop 19 is still better than punishing people that smoke pot.

People have the right to inhale into their own bodies what they want. Otherwise, their bodies aren't theirs. They're big brother's, and freedom is absent in the Land of the Free.

Marijuana is less addictive than alcoholic, tobacco and caffeine -- drugs that are more dangerous than marijuana -- and while you can't overdose on marijuana, alcohol overdoses kill people.

People that drink Red Bull, Rockstar and 5 Hour Energy are drug users.

law makers politicians have no repect here among the people .

now that the election is over i want to know why the LA Times for the last 3 months ran nothing but negative reports about pot in their paper .and why do the LA Times run articles that always side with the illegal aliens .maybe the LA Times hires a lot of cheap labor.

What else is new?


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