Police And Prison Guards Fight Calif. Marijuana Legalization With Big Money

As law enforcement agencies have come to depend on the millions they rake in from the war on drugs and asset forfeiture laws, maybe it’s no wonder they’re not advocates for change in the state’s drug laws.
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    SACRAMENTO — As California prepares to vote on marijuana legalization, most of the opposition is coming from major beneficiaries of the war on drugs: police and prison guards.

    Twenty years ago, California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which will appear on the ballot in November, would control, regulate and tax adult use of marijuana in the state.

    The measure has already picked up a wide range of endorsements. Supporters include Gavin Newsom, California’s lieutenant governor and former mayor of San Francisco, underdog Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the Los Angeles County Democrats and the California NAACP.


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    Meanwhile, opponents raised at least $60,000 in the first quarter of 2016 and formed the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, which includes “the California Police Chiefs Association, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Issues PAC, and the California Correctional Supervisors’ Organization,” among others, according to The Intercept.

    “Roughly half of the money raised to oppose a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana in California is coming from police and prison guard groups, terrified that they might lose the revenue streams to which they have become so deeply addicted,” The Intercept’s Lee Fang reported on Wednesday.

    Two Democratic lawmakers, Assemblyman Jim Cooper and Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, also signaled their opposition to the bill. Both have “deep law enforcement ties,” according to a recent report from The Sacramento Bee. Cooper is a former employee of the Sacramento County Sheriff, while Galgiani is known for her close relationship with police.


    California residents voted down a similar measure in 2010, but support for marijuana legalization has risen nationwide in the years since. A 2015 Gallup poll suggested that 58 percent of Americans support legalization, and that support swells to 71 percent among 18 to 34 year olds.

    A survey of 1,000 California voters in February showed about 60 percent of voters were likely to support the measure. And, as with the nationwide Gallup poll, younger voters were more likely to voice their support, with 80 percent of 18 to 34 year olds saying they would vote yes.

    Legalization supporters have far outstripped opponents when it comes to fundraising, gathering $2.25 million into their war chest by February. According to The Orange County Register, top donations include “$1 million from billionaire Napster co-founder Sean Parker and $500,000 from the Irvine-based company Weedmaps.”

    Parker, one of the Democratic Party’s biggest “mega-donors,” is known for his generous support of political causes and candidates.

    Fang explained police and prisons have a lot to lose from legalization:

    “Drug war money has become a notable source of funding for law enforcement interests. Huge government grants and asset-seizure windfalls benefit police departments, while the constant supply of prisoners keeps the prison business booming.”

    Even small cities in Los Angeles County bring in millions through asset forfeiture laws, which allow prosecutors and law enforcement seize vehicles, property and cash that’s suspected of even cursory links to illegal drug sales. Those windfalls dried up rapidly in Washington after the state legalized marijuana, leading to sharp cuts in police department budgets.

    The war on drugs is equally lucrative for prisons. One study found that Pennsylvania currently houses 97 people for marijuana crimes in its state prisons, at an annual cost to taxpayers of $2.5 million. And Fang reported that California guards frequently lobby for increased prison populations:

    “In California, the prison guard union helped finance the ‘three strikes’ ballot measure in 1994 that deeply increased the state prison population. In 2008, the California prison union provided funds to help defeat Proposition 5, a measure to create prison diversion programs for nonviolent offenders with drug problems.”

    A May 19 editorial on marijuana.com, which is funded by AUMA supporter Weedmaps, suggested law enforcement efforts were ultimately doomed:

    “With terrible flashes of wild clarity, California’s police and prison guards are fighting to perpetuate their cruel and stupid dogma with little more than pocket change.”

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      • Pingback: Police And Prison Guards Fight Calif. Marijuana Legalization With Big Money | The Uncensored Report()

      • Lonerwithaboner420

        It costs $450/day to house a prisoner. In 2012 NYC paid $167,731 per inmate per year. There’s a man in NO who was arrested for 2 joints and sentenced to 13 years in jail. That cost us 2.18 million over the course of that time. PLUS losing out on the tax revenue created by leaving that man free. Don’t be duped by those in charge.

        To add to that in 2012 there was 12,287 people in jail. Meaning over the course of that year alone it cost 2 billion dollars. And if you think every single dollar went to keeping them in and overhead you’re sorely mistaken

        That’s just people in NYC not country wide. There are 2.2 million people in jail country wide. Which costs us over 38 billion. The investment needed by 2020 to correct our infrastructure problem is 3.6 trillion. That’s not a huge chunk that could be out towards it but it certainly helps. Plus the tax revenue per person.

        When state and federal prisons fill up they are outsourced to smaller parish jails, read private. These jails are able to house for less/day due to inadequate housing, food, no access to education, etc. That extra $ is skimmed right into the pockets of the owners. They do use some of that money to increase police supplies and buy new tech which keeps the current sheriffs in power because people see the new stuff and think he is doing a good job. When in all reality they are herding prisoners like cattle.

      • Lonerwithaboner420

        Surprise?

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      • Cody Koloen

        $60,000?

        That’s adorable.

        You could almost pay for half a college education with that.

        You’re going to have to do a lot more civil forfeitures if you want to stop the change.

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      • Darren W (The Machine)

        Everyone needs to do a 180 turn and walk away from this entrapped culture and build a new society

      • Gus diZerega

        This tells us in no uncertain terms that a large number of cops are basically uniformed thugs making money by injuring people doing no harm to others, and so better incarcerated in these prisons as the criminals they are morally, rather than wearing uniforms and carrying guns..

      • Pingback: Cops, Prisons Fight Marijuana Legalization - California Marijuana Market()

      • Angry MFFer

        Well, Lt Gov Gavin Newsom is legalization’s biggest cheerleader — time to regulate legalization of marijuana according to his website. Keep on Newsom to be more vocal.

      • familyguy

        I guess I would be against too, if my job was in jeopardy. These folks are going to extremes making up reefer madness dooms day scenarios. Legalize while you have the chance seeing what happened places lie Vermont, Ohio should make you wonder why the people in those states are not represented by their state reps. LEGALIZE NOW! Put a stop the dooms day scenarios.

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      • Stel-1776

        The anti-cannabis legalization sentiment among some law enforcement personnel (police, district attorneys, etc) is not surprising. When asked why so many police organizations are lobbying against marijuana law reform, retired Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Downing said:

        It’s money. In many states, the city government expects police to make seizures, and they expect these seizures to supplement their budgets.”
        “The only difference now compared to the times of alcohol prohibition is that, in the times of alcohol prohibition, law enforcement—the police and judges—got their money in brown paper bags. Today, they get their money through legitimate, systematic programs run by the federal government. That’s why they’re using their lobbying organizations to fight every reform.

        Legalizing cannabis would greatly cut into their income, be it from cash seizures, asset forfeitures, federal grants, etc. It would also take away a common excuse to do a warrantless search. Many cops try to justify their anti-cannabis stance by falling for the rampant, unfounded anti-cannabis propaganda that continues to plague this nation.

        If you would like to hear what honest, knowledgeable, reasonable cops have to say about the drug war in general, please visit:

        LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibitionhttp://www.leap.cc/ – ‘Cops Say Legalize

        LEAP envisions a world in which drug policies work for the benefit of society and keep our communities safer. A system of legalization and regulation will end the violence, better protect human rights, safeguard our children, reduce crime and disease, treat drug abusers as patients, reduce addiction, use tax dollars more efficiently, and restore the public’s respect and trust in law enforcement.

        LEAP’s goals are: (1) To educate the public, the media and policy makers about the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug use and the elevated crime rates more properly related to drug prohibition than to drug pharmacology and (2) To restore the public’s respect for police, which has been greatly diminished by law enforcements involvement in imposing drug prohibition.

      • Brian Kelly

        Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, – Your Days In Office Are Numbered. Find new careers before you don’t have one.

        Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and glorified as an All American pastime, booze.

        Plain and simple!

        Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!

        • Brian Kelly

          There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

          The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

          Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

          Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

          With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

          Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

          Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

          • Brian Kelly

            Fear of Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Marijuana Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

            Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny, crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of marijuana legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

            The prohibition of marijuana has not decreased the supply nor the demand for marijuana at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

            If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more causes more detriment to our society than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

            Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize marijuana when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more detriment to our society than all other drugs, COMBINED?

            Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier lives, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Marijuana Laws.

            • Brian Kelly

              The “War on Marijuana” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars. Instead of The United States wasting Billions of more dollars fighting a never ending “War on Marijuana”, lets generate Billions of dollars and improve the deficit instead. It’s a no brainer.

              Those whom profit from our current prison for profit system will do and say anything to prevent marijuana legalization. They will also attempt to throw up as many obstacles, hurdles, and road blocks to marijuana legalization as they possibly can. These people have a vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal.

              The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to prison and are being given permanent criminal.records, which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

              Marijuana is way safer, and healthier to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

              Marijuana is the safest and healthiest recreational substance known to man.

              Even The President of the United States himself has used marijuana. Has it hurt his chances at succeeding in life? If he had gotten caught by the police during his college years, he may have very well still been in jail today! Beyond that, he would then be fortunate to even be able to find a minimum wage job that would consider hiring him with a permanent criminal record. Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

              So-called “Addiction Specialists” and “Anti-Drug Organizations” earn their living off of prohibition and are panicking. Once marijuana is legalized, they will no longer be able to use that tired old argument that they have people whom actually seek out therapy because of a marijuana addiction. We all know this is a complete FARCE. The ONLY reason people go to therapy for marijuana is because a court FORCES them to do so to avoid jail time. Then these “experts” twist that data and distort the truth. So, without a steady flow of fresh victims from courts forcing people either to therapy or jail, they will lose a TON of “BUSINESS”.

              It’s about time for all of you so-called “Addiction Experts” to either focus on really harmful drugs and/or go into a new line of work and stop making a living off the judicial misfortunes of our citizens!

              The government should not attempt to legislate morality because it simply does not work and costs us a fortune.

              Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

              Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

              • TecumsehUnfaced

                But for the ruling vampire elite and their thugs it has worked very well.

              • Gumshrud

                You’ve really pinned it well. A correct and an accurate assessment.

                • Brian Kelly

                  Thank you.

        • challengeyourlimits

          Great posts Brian.

          • Brian Kelly

            Thank you.