Take your mouth off the bong and cheer, you legal pot advocates, because this is a good score: One of the state's biggest and most powerful unions, the Service Employees International Union, has endorsed Proposition 19, the November ballot initiative that would legalize pot and its cultivation and distribution. The union has 700,000 members in California.
A big segment of the SEIU? Nurses and other health care workers. If nurses are OK with pot, why can't we all be?
The union president told the Yes On Prop. 19 campaign that most of the union's efforts are directed at getting Jerry Brown elected governor but “but we look forward to joining you in any way we can to help pass Proposition 19.” The union believes taxing pot could be a source of revenue that would mitigate the fiscal crisis.
We can't imagine SEIU devoting much in the way of resources to Prop. 19. With the budget crisis, the union has more important matters to attend to.
But as Adam Nagourney points out in The New York Times, the SEIU is a nice stamp of legitimacy that counteracts all the law enforcement agencies and elected officials of both parties who have come out against Prop. 19. This could allow other groups to feel more free to come forward. Game on.