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Time for California to End The Unwinnable Marijuana War

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Can More Arrests Ever Stop Marijuana?

Since the founding of the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1973, 15 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana.

That is more people than live in California's 25 largest cities millions more than live in Ohio, Pennsylvania or Illinois.

The DEA has led an aggressive national law enforcement effort that results in a marijuana arrest every 38 seconds, propelling the U.S. to become the biggest incarcerator on the planet, housing one out of four of the world's prisoners.Despite mass arrests, incarceration and the tearing apart of millions of families, the war rages on with no end in sight.

Since the DEA's founding, approximately 90% of youth have described marijuana as easy to get in annual federal surveys.It is easier for young Americans to buy marijuana than it is to buy alcohol or prescription drugs which are legally regulated and controlled.

Is there any reason to think that millions more arrests with costs running into the billions will win the marijuana war?

Last week every former U.S. DEA head came out against Proposition 19 which would end possession arrests and allow local jurisdictions in California to make marijuana legal. No surprise that drug enforcement bureaucrats want to defend their marijuana enforcement budgets.They even oppose medical marijuana for people suffering and dying.But, more important for the voter, this is an opportunity to look at the big picture.Voters should ask themselves:

Has the marijuana war, with more than 800,000 arrests each year, worked?

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Will more arrests stop marijuana?

If not, isn't it time to consider alternatives that could better control marijuana?

Thankfully, the DEA is not the only law enforcement voice. Recently the National Black Police Association came out in support of Prop. 19, following a slew of endorsements from unions, faith leaders and the NAACP. On Monday, simultaneous press conferences will be held at OaklandCity Hall and in West HollywoodPark to announce a letter of endorsement signed by dozens of law enforcers across California.

Joseph McNamara, former police chief in San Jose, CA and Kansas City, MO, an active member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, describes the marijuana laws as much worse than ineffective: "they waste valuable police resources and also create a lucrative black market that funds cartels and criminal gangs with billions of tax-free dollars." Federal researchers find marijuana to be safer than many legal drugs, so why waste precious law enforcement resources on it?

These officers, judges and prosecutors support Proposition 19 because it:

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  • Stops wasting police on non-violent marijuana offenders and enables them to focus on preventing violent crime,
  • Cuts off funding to violent gangs and drug cartels,
  • Reduces marijuana access to children by instituting strict age-limits
    and public safety controls,
  • Protects the lives of police officers now at risk in the "drug war," and
  • Restores mutual respect and good relations between law enforcement and
    communities bearing the brunt of the current marijuana laws.

These police views are shared by the California Legislative Analyst which says Prop 19 would enable California to put our police priorities where they belong saying it "could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually. The county jail savings would be offset to the extent that jail beds no longer needed for marijuana offenders were used for other criminals who are now being released early because of a lack of jail space."

Proposition 19 is a cautious reform that keeps in mind public safety. It empowers local jurisdictions to decide whether to bring adult use of marijuana within the law and how to regulate it. It maintains strict criminal penalties for driving under the influence, increases the penalty for providing marijuana to a minor, expressly prohibits consumption in public, forbids smoking while minors are present, and bans possession on school grounds.

Next Page  1  |  2 and http://www.ComeHomeAmerica.U

Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)

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However, I do wonder: would legalizing maryjane le... by GLloyd Rowsey on Saturday, Sep 11, 2010 at 6:39:21 PM
America, with only 5% of the world's population is... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Saturday, Sep 11, 2010 at 9:31:03 PM
Check the facts regarding countries that have decr... by Philip Pease on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 10:53:31 AM
Marijuana is legal in only one country - Holland. ... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 11:07:02 AM
Old Codger -- you are wrong about Holland being on... by Kevin Zeese on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 11:35:12 AM
Old Codger...your arguments here are like Swiss Ch... by Penel on Monday, Sep 13, 2010 at 9:44:34 AM
legalizing mary jane won't keep kids from getting ... by Laura Roberts on Saturday, Sep 11, 2010 at 10:27:16 PM
Laura -- I can understand your concerns. My view i... by Kevin Zeese on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 12:09:56 PM
I recall sitting on the floor with friends passing... by David Roche on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 10:12:42 AM
When we prohibited alcohol we had Al Capone, corru... by Philip Pease on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 10:39:33 AM
Studies are still inconclusive on the effects of m... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 10:59:05 AM
Old Codger -- you are confused about the dangers o... by Kevin Zeese on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 12:14:49 PM
There is only one issue. It is my nervous system. ... by David Roche on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 11:11:47 AM
Kevin Zeese have you heard by chance of Silja J.A.... by Franz Kurz on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 11:27:14 AM
No doubt there are a lot of people who profit from... by Kevin Zeese on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 12:16:43 PM
Cannabis Prohibition is a crime against humanity. ... by Mike Preston on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 12:23:26 PM
So far the biggest supporters of the legalization ... by Mari Eliza on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 1:04:36 PM
Democrats have a tendancy to live in fear of right... by Kevin Zeese on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 1:36:51 PM
I don't feel like taking it on, but the short answ... by Mike Preston on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 2:38:49 PM
I highly recommendan article titled The Plant of R... by Sarah Morgan on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 2:54:32 PM
but all the pop ups annoyed the hell out of me and... by Laura Roberts on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 9:37:40 PM
Just click on the X Close button on the pop ups, a... by Ruth on Monday, Sep 13, 2010 at 1:33:52 PM
are the last individuals to listen to in this situ... by Archie on Sunday, Sep 12, 2010 at 5:31:33 PM
You give some good arguments though nothing you ha... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Monday, Sep 13, 2010 at 12:31:37 AM
check out Portugal where recreational drugs have b... by Archie on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 at 12:30:26 AM
Americans are well known for the fascination with ... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 at 2:39:42 AM
you are totally correct on the excesses comment. B... by Archie on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 at 11:18:46 AM
Americans cannot compete with others in the world.... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 at 11:43:15 AM
That is crazy. Your arguments are filled with fals... by Kevin Zeese on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 at 11:56:01 AM
then by the same thought then America should be fu... by Laura Roberts on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 at 2:19:52 PM
The biggest contributor to the "no" on Prop. 19 ca... by Kevin Zeese on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 at 2:54:11 PM
is what I'm reading in these comments. I'm also re... by John Shriver on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 at 2:53:17 PM