Pubdate: Tue, 14 Sep 2010
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Page: AA4
Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Times
Author: Catherine Saillant
Cited: Proposition 19
Bookmark: (Proposition 19)


Legalizing marijuana would put a big dent in drug cartels and free up 
police, prosecutors and judges to go after violent crimes, a law 
enforcement group said Monday in endorsing Proposition 19, the 
marijuana legalization measure.

Proposition 19's passage in November would decriminalize an estimated 
60,000 drug arrests made in California each year, said former Orange 
County Superior Court Judge James Gray.

Officers would have more time to go after burglars, robbers and those 
committing violent assaults, he said.

On-the-job experience demonstrated the futility of trying to enforce 
laws prohibiting the possession and use of small amounts of cannabis, 
Gray said at a news conference held by Law Enforcement Against 
Prohibition, a nonprofit organization supporting Proposition 19.

Gray was joined by former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara in 
arguing that much of the money flowing to violent drug cartels comes 
from the illegal sale of marijuana.

Those who argue that a black market would remain aren't paying 
attention to history, McNamara said. After the prohibition on alcohol 
was repealed, bootleggers disappeared, said McNamara, now a research 
fellow in drug policy at Stanford University.

Proposition 19 would make it legal to grow, possess and use up to an 
ounce of marijuana for personal use.

It would also permit state and local governments to regulate and tax 
retail sales for adults 21 and older. State officials estimate 
passage could generate up to $1.4 billion in new tax revenue per year.

Active law enforcement groups, including the California Police Chiefs 
Assn., are opposed to the measure, saying it would increase usage and 
promote crime.