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Feinstein backs effort to defeat marijuana legalization

July 12, 2010 |  8:24 pm

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator, has lent her support to the campaign to defeat Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure on the state’s November ballot.

The prominent Democrat, first elected to the Senate in 1992, signed the ballot argument against the initiative. On Monday, she issued a statement through the opposition campaign calling the measure “a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe.”

Roger Salazar, spokesman for Public Safety First, said the opposition committee sought Feinstein’s support.

“She’s one of the most respected figures in California,” he said. “She has a great history with law enforcement and dealing with this type of issue. We’re looking at a bipartisan effort.”

Proposition 19 would allow adults 21 and older to possess, grow and transport marijuana, and would allow cities and counties to regulate and tax commercial sales. Most of the state’s top elected officials and candidates for statewide office — from both major parties — are against the initiative.

Dale Sky Clare, a spokesman for Tax Cannabis 2010, the committee behind the measure, said it was not surprising that Feinstein and other statewide politicians opposed it.

“I’m just not putting a lot of faith in politicians to lead,” she said. “The voters have always led on this issue.”

-- John Hoeffel