Backers of the November ballot initiative that would legalize pot on Monday rolled out several law enforcement and justice officials who are backing California's Prop. 19. A press conference was held in West Hollywood to announce the endorsements by cops, judges and prosecutors.
"I was with the LAPD when Nixon declared the 'War on Drugs' over 40 years ago and was one of the 'generals' on the front lines who helped implement that same failed drug policy that is still in effect today," said Stephen Downing, a retired Los Angeles police deputy chief who represents Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
"During my career, I not only saw the ineffectiveness of our marijuana laws up close but also witnessed the harm our prohibition approach inflicts on public safety," Downing said. "By keeping marijuana illegal, we aren't preventing anyone from using it. The only results are billions of tax-free dollars being funneled into the pockets of bloodthirsty drug cartels and gangs who control the illegal market."
Speakers at Monday's conference include former LAPD sergeant and Los Angeles County deputy District Attorney William John Cox, retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray, and former police officer Kyle Kazan.
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Police in favor of the initiative, which would allow people older than 21 to possess up to an ounce of pot, argue that it will help them focus resources on more serious crimes while it will also cut off the cash lifeline that sustains drug cartels.