The great divide between politicians and the people is showing itself in California where polls show the voters support Proposition 19 and where the mainstream politicians mostly oppose it.
There are not many policies more bankrupt that marijuana policy. In 1970 a national commission recommended that marijuana be decriminalized and non-profit transfers be allowed. President Nixon, rather than listen to the experts, doubled down on the already failed and mistaken policy. The result was 100,000 additional arrests the year after the experts said people should no longer be treated as criminals for marijuana use. And, since the experts said it should not be a crime nearly 15 million Americans have been arrested.
Only four states have populations larger than the number of people arrested for marijuana since the experts said people should not be arrested for marijuana offenses.
Yet, the status quo politicians people like Senator Diane Feinstein and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger continue to want to ignore the experts and, more important, they want to ignore the people.
Polls have consistently shown Proposition 19 to be 7 to 11 points ahead of those who oppose the initiative. Nationally polls show large pluralities and even a majority of Americans oppose keeping marijuana illegal. How can police continue to enforce laws that half the people oppose? What kind of legitimacy does enforcement of such laws have? Won't enforcing illegitimate laws undermine police relations with communities?
That is why smart, experienced police officer likeNeil Franklin, a 33- year law enforcement veteran at both the state and city level supports Proposition 19. Officer Franklin sees Prop. 19 as a step toward healing the division between the people and the police. He recognizes that marijuana prohibition undermines the relationship between police and the people they serve because when they come into their neighborhoods it is to search homes, cars and people. It creates distrust and undermines effective community policing.