Generally, one of the biggest opponents of marijuana legalization in California is the law enforcement profession — but that's not without at least one big exception.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), which describes itself as "a group of police, judges, prosecutors and other criminal justice professionals advocating for marijuana legalization," this week endorsed Proposition 64, the effort to legalize recreational cannabis in California.
This isn't a surprise, given the organization's record of pro-pot stances. But it's still cool: These cops are basically saying Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
The November ballot initiative to legal recreational marijuana, backed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Holmby Hills tech billionaire Sean Parker, would let Californians 21 and older possess up to an ounce of weed. It would tax production and sales at 15 percent. And it would regulate the business along the lines of medical cannabis rules slated to go into effect in 2018.
The California Police Chiefs Association and the California District Attorneys Association, potent groups in Sacramento, are dead against Proposition 64, saying it will expose more children to weed, increase stoned driving and subject communities to a tsunami of pot retailers.
LEAP begs to differ, saying the initiative, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, will "help keep the justice system focused on more serious matters," according to a statement.
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"This initiative is the best chance California has to end a failed war on marijuana,” says Diane Goldstein, a LEAP executive board member and a retired lieutenant commander with the Redondo Beach Police Department. "It’s our best hope to reduce the power of cartels operating in our state, to generate much-needed resources for law enforcement and create a new system of regulation and control that will greatly improve public health and safety for all Californians."
LEAP joins the California Democratic Party, the California NAACP, the ACLU of California, Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project of California, the California Medical Association and many other groups in endorsing Proposition 64.
The law enforcement group has long decried the use of drug laws, including marijuana prohibition, in the unequal prosecution of minorities in America.
"LEAP is committed to ending decades of failed marijuana policies that have damaged the lives of countless Americans and their families, slowed the justice system at every level, and eroded trust between communities and police," it stated.