Law Enforcement Group: Legalize Pot So Cops Have Time To Fight Real Crime

In November, California voters will have their say on Proposition 19, which would make it legal to grow, possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. And as that decision day draws near, a group of law enforcement insiders has come out in support of the proposition, saying it would free up the police to focus its efforts on more serious crimes.

At a press conference on Monday, members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition explained their reasons for getting behind Proposition 19.

“I was a drug warrior until I saw what was happening in my own courtroom,” said former Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray. He claims that passing Prop 19 would cut down the number of drug arrests made in California by around 60,000 each year.

To LEAP, all that time spent arresting Californians for pot possession could be better spent investigating murders, burglaries and the like.

Along with Gray was former San Jose Police Chief Joseph McNamara, who said that legalizing and taxing marijuana would be a huge blow to the massive drug cartels, which are are estimated to get around 60% of their money from illegal pot sales.

In addition to taking money from the cartels, taxes levied on legalized pot could bring in over $1 billion/year in tax revenue.

As for other law enforcement groups like the California Police Chiefs Assn., which opposes the measure, Gray theorizes that many of those involved are just putting on a good show because they have to.

“They have a political job, so they can’t tell the truth,” he said. “People are free to speak out honestly only after they are retired.”

Legalizing pot would free up police to fight violent crime, law enforcement group says [L.A. Times]

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  1. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    LEGALIZE IT.

    4/12
    DOUBLE DOWN EVERY DAY

    Oh, wait, pot? Yeah, that’s cool too.

  2. digital0verdose says:

    This November is going to be crazy for so many reasons. Can’t wait to see how everything goes down, both with controversial propositions and senate seats.

    • solipsistnation says:

      If loads of Republicans and Tea Partiers are elected, we’re gonna need that legalized pot.

      • denros says:

        I don’t want to start another pointless political debate (actually I think it’d be good to have a true third party in our country), but I can’t be the only one who’s seriously considered the notion that this tea party “movement” is just an elaborate practical joke, can I?

        • digital0verdose says:

          Well considering the Tea Party is a movement started by a group that consists of two of the wealthiest industrialists in our country, yeah, its safe to say it is a joke.

          I’m all for people fighting for their rights, but it’s funny when people do so not realizing they are being baited into doing so so they can inadvertently make rich people richer.

          • TuxthePenguin says:

            Who started the Tea Party? Who are these two “industrialists”? And what does that even have to do with the premise behind it (ie, stop government spending)?

            Rick Santelli is technically the one who “started” the movement. His rant on CNBC was the spark that lit the fire.

            • digital0verdose says:

              The Koch brothers. It’s been all over the news for the past few weeks. How did you miss it? You gotta travel outside that Faux News and Rush bubble every once in a while.

              • TuxthePenguin says:

                That’s who you’re saying started the Tea Party? Wow… you do realize they basically fund any group that will benefit them and further their political beliefs…

                They are the libertarian equivalent of George Soros.

                • digital0verdose says:

                  I’m not saying it. But yes, they founded the group that parents the tea party. So much for grass roots and looking out for the little guy eh?

                  • TuxthePenguin says:

                    Yes, there are plenty of people who are supporting the tea party. Go read Newsweek – they had an interesting article about what the decentralized nature of the Tea Party means in this climate.

                    But funding aside… what do you think of the Tea Party’s plank that we’re spending too much money?

                    If any good comes of the Tea Party, it’ll force the Republican party to drop its damn stupid social issues planks.

                    • digital0verdose says:

                      The problem is the Tea party says it’s about spending, but more often than not they are bashing Obama and saying racially charged comments. There is a huge disconnect and overall the party doesn’t make any sense.

                      If they were bashing Bush for his massive spending and applauding Obama for creating deficit neutral programs, it would be different but alas.

                    • nutbastard says:

                      “If they were bashing Bush for his massive spending and applauding Obama for creating deficit neutral programs, it would be different but alas.”

                      WTF? Obama isn’t doing anything significantly different from Bush. I’m no teabagger but BOTH administrations (and many before them) spend way too much, tax way too much.

                      Bush and Obama have more in common than they differ.

                    • Skankingmike says:

                      The government isn’t spending too much money compared to our GDP.

                      I love how you people love to refute Nationalized health care by siting that you can’t use other countries as a bench mark. Then turn around and do just that to further your belief we spend too much money here.

                      So if any programs do you support the non funding of?

                      Oh let me guess, Education right? It should be a state’s primary job again? Yea cause that has worked out so well over the years.

                      How about the military? But who would kill those scary sand people who read a scary sounding book?

                      Oh I know social programs like Well fair! that will teach those poor people a lesson. Get a job! Oh wait a vast majority of southern Red states use most of the federal money while Blue states like NY, NJ, and CT are horrible underfunded federally? But how can that be? I mean democrats are bleeding hearts and republicans hate the poor right?

                      Keep blowing that horn of federal overspending, ignore the rich behind it all who will ultimately benefit.

                      If more public jobs are lost to the private sector for services that should be the rights of citizens, then you will see a decrease in your taxes but an increase in the costs of goods and services beyond that of the government.

                      Let me know how those once public toll roads who are now private work out. Exponential toll hikes to the point that people avoid them and thus put undue stress on surrounding roads.

                      Private military firms costing the government twice as much money than a larger public service.

                      But whatever I’ll never convince you of the necessity of evil that is government spending. You just think that buy the budget being cut that magically we will all have more money.

                    • TuxthePenguin says:

                      Wow, you like your generic talking points, don’t you?

                      Here are my first three actions if I had the ability to make changes.

                      1. Federal Pay: Freeze all pay for federal employees for two years. Convert everyone working full-time to a salary based system. After the pay freeze ends, federal employees only get COLA to keep pace with inflation, although I would never allow a negative COLA. If you want to make more money, either advance or move to the private sector.
                      2. End all federal pension plans. Technically the term would be “terminate” in accounting lingo – basically every federal employee that was going to be eligible for the pension gets their benefit calculated at that point. From then on, it never grows or increases. Immediately begin 401k plans with all employees affected. Heck, I’d be generous with the matching… 1:1 up to 6%? 8%?
                      3. Reduce spending to 2007/2008 or so levels – IE, the last Democrat budget under Bush. All other “increases” since then get a zero-balance review – justify the additional money.

                      That doesn’t deal with the two biggest liabilities on the federal government’s plate – Social Security and Medicare. Not sure what I’d do with Medicare, but I know what I’d do with SS – remove the cap on earnigns, but allow anyone to immediately opt out of future benefits, even giving up benefits earned to that point, in exchange for reducing the tax by 50%. IE – you still pay in, but at a lesser rate. If people want to roll the dice, its up to them.

                      Then again… I tend to be libertarian fiscally, so I know that shines through a bit.

                    • MustWarnOthers says:

                      Wow. The text in the comments section gets incredibly scrunched up as it pushes over to the right.

                    • Skankingmike says:

                      Ok how about we freeze the pay of our Senators and congressman? Oh that’s right the only admenment to the constitution past in the last 30 years has been to increase their pay. I get it.

                      I also hate salary. Nobody should be salary, it removes productivity, it increases down time. When you tell somebody no matter how hard you work you get paid x amount you won’t see much.

                      Now I would like to see a more comprehensive pay system of a mixture of hourly and by project. Meaning jobs should be paid out based on productivity, and based on a time frame deemed reasonable to accomplish.

                      401k’s are not the answer, pension plans are and have always been a good way benefit to the employees. What should happen is increase the amount paid into the fund by the federal and state employees and requires the government to do their contracted share, without it stealing from funds unrelated. Meaning there should be a portion of tax revenue diverted directly to the funds instead of borrowing from say Social security or another fund.

                      I have a 401k and after a meltdown like what just happened I don’t know too many people who are singing the praises of their 401k’s.

                      Allow people to decide to opt out of social security is a bad idea. The vast majority of people are not finically savvy their borderline incompetent when it comes to most things. Allow people to opt out of social security will put not only all those people at risk to conditions worse than that of the great depression and before.

                      The issue is a society and government should treat its weakest the best.

                      There shouldn’t have been anything wrong with social security. The issue stems from politicians “borrowing” funds from it to pay off underfunded areas they couldn’t get passed in their budgets.

                      Medicare should have been expanded to national health care. A right to life is a right. The fact that somebody can say to “save all the babies, they have a “right” to life!” but turn around and be on the same party ticket that is so ANTI the right to life when it comes to adults and being sick is not only hypocritical but borderline insane.

                      There are certain functions no private firm should ever have control over. Health care is one of them. Allowing private companies to deny, force people into, and remove the health care rights are exactly what the political scare tactics people spouted about a government run system.

                      Guess what these “death panels” exist already they’re called insurance companies.

                      I had thought I was libertarian, but then I realized I just hate our political government system here and it needs to grow and adapt to the new world, instead of focusing on a document written by rich white male land owners from over 200 years ago. Who even Madison the man who wrote the thing, said that people are too stupid to government not only themselves but they will often not know what is good for them. But then again this country has made all its money on the back of hard working immigrants, who eventually become “American” and thus hate the new immigrants.

                  • trey says:

                    regardless how you feel, November will be the month that the American public gets to vote the Bums out! Never have this many democrats retired prior to an election. Especially given that most of the retiring democrats won their seats easily in the last election.

                    • digital0verdose says:

                      Vote the bums out? Those bums are the only people working. Everyone else is just sitting back shaking their heads no and they have you convinced it’s for your own good. What is sad is that you are falling for it. But being a true American, I support your right to live in a bubble and have others do your thinking for you.

                    • trey says:

                      yep, keep telling yourself that.

                    • Tenebrioun says:

                      Rebuttal of the year. I can only imagine if that was the rebuttals in congress. Though, it seems it might be for the Tea Party.

            • ARP says:

              Here are a few of the following:

              The Koch brothers (funding some of the groups below and Charles R. Lamb Foundation)
              Americans for Prosperity
              FreedomWorks (Run by Lobbyist Dick Armey)
              Sarah Scaife Foundation and Sarah Scaife Mellon Foundation (part of Mellon family fortune and industries)
              Some GOP lobbying groups contribute money to particular campaigns

              Then you have your typical PAC’s. Karl Rove’s pack is making a killing by keeping its donor’s names secret.

              In other words, do a Glen Beck “follow the money,” but remove the paranoia and make it factual.

        • ArcanaJ says:

          An elaborate, well funded practical joke, yes. Sadly, I think the joke is being played by those doing the funding, on those in the “movement”.

          • Traveshamockery says:

            Keep dreaming. It’s real, and it’s going to be quite clear in November.

            Why can’t liberals get over the fact that the average American is against continuing to grow the size of the government, and hate the continued encroachment of taxation to cover pie-in-the-sky liberal social engineering programs?

            • Enduro says:

              Because: A. They didn’t exist before Obama was elected and apparently were cool with Bush, Cheney and Halliburton raping our coffers and while promoting sound fiscal advise like “deficits don’t matter” and “the best way for Americans to help [after 9/11] is to keep spending”. B. They say stuff like “keep government out of my Medicare” Many of them are of a certain age and on public assistance so what one must assume is they’re against Americans that don’t look like them getting the benefit of big government. C. They worship the wit and wisdom of Sarah Palin ergo they are a joke.

            • SolidSquid says:

              Just to point out, the healthcare bill they protested so much would have led to a significantly smaller increase in deficit than maintaining the current system and the tax cuts they wanted kept in place only applied to around 2% of Americans and would have added massive amounts on to the deficit (so far estimates have the cost to the economy of those cuts at $1.7 trillion)

              If they had a serious plan/proposal to reduce deficit and increase economic stability then it’d be one thing, but instead they just seem to shout down anything which has the trigger words “spending” or “tax” (and that’s another problem, the fact they were stopping actual debates from happening by just shouting over anyone who tried to speak)

        • frank64 says:

          Trying to reduce spending so that we won’t spend ourselves into oblivion, yeah a joke.

          I don’t like the people put out as spokesman for the tea party and think that many of the people at the rallies are radicals, so I haven’t paid much attention to them. However, I believe their basic premise of some fiscal responsibly is sound.

        • ARP says:

          A practical joke funded by some the wealthiest groups in our country (the Koch brothers, Chamber of Commerce, etc.). So, it’s an astroturf group at its core, that’s gathered a surprising amount of support from people who would be most harmed by Tea Party policies (middle class, elderly, etc.). Republicans thought they could harness the anger/enthusiasm of the movement for their own purposes. Unfortunately, the the monster got too big and now they’re defeating incumbent Republicans. I imagine that the Tea Party Republicans will become the equivalent of the “Blue Dog” democrats.

        • ktetch says:

          Vote pirate! ;-)

          no seriously, we are a legitimate 3rd party. Now, if only the ballot access laws were on a par with those in just about every other democracy (I got a party on the Polish ballot in 6 months, and I don’t speak polish, it’s been 4 years so far to get onto a single state ballot and no go…)

          • OnePumpChump says:

            It doesn’t matter, as long as we have first-past-the-post voting, you’ll never achieve anything more than small and brief successes.

        • Kryndar says:

          NDP NDP! Wait, were talking about the states here? Uh… I got nothing.

      • Anonymously says:

        The Tea Party discussion below sounds like an ADD-riddled strawman festivals. In order to have a useful discussion you need to start from a foundation of shared facts, but you don’t even have that much.

        I guess I would be naive if I believed there was ever a time when spreading FUD wasn’t the primary tact of politicians and their supporters.

    • KyleOrton says:

      Pretty sure it’s a bet between Randolph and Mortimer Duke.

  3. goodpete says:

    I love LEAP. They do great work.

  4. milkcake says:

    That’s a stupid excuse. They can just choose to take care of serious crime FIRST and then take care of all these pity crimes AFTER. It’s just that they have it backward with no priority. It’s like saying I have a presentation to clients in an hour but I choose to organize my files instead. Many police would be fired in a business setting.

    • Joe User says:

      That argument didn’t work for Prohibition and it’s not working now.

      There’s always someone who wants headlines, might as well get lots of the easy ones.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      I think it impacts the court system more than the resource of beat cops. If a cop pulls someone over, smells marijuana, the law would obligate them to search the car. They’d find something, give a summons, and that case will clutter up the system.

      • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

        It may vary from state to state, but where I’m from, the law doesn’t obligate the police to perform that search. Police procedures dictate how the laws are enforced.

        I asked someone I know the other day who is a retired police officer about drug enforcement in my town and found out that where I live the procedure says that if an officer suspects someone of possessing, using, or dispensing marijuana the officer should not confront the suspect. Instead he files a report for the detective (small town, 1 detective). The detective files the report away for when he has nothing more pressing to do.

      • apple420 says:

        Not necessarily….I was watching Speeders on TruTV on Sunday and the cop found marijuana and paraphernalia in the car and gave the guy a warning. He still got a ticket for no seatbelt though. Could be dependent on the state.

    • evnmorlo says:

      At least half to three quarters of “serious crimes” are caused by narcotics business disputes. But I agree the police are to blame for going after easy drug arrests.

      • eccsame says:

        But if pot was legalized, it would drastically reduce the number of narcotic disputes surrounding marijuana. After all, when was the last time you heard of a gang shootout occurring over a 12 pack of Keystone Light?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Perhaps if the majority of citizens are breaking the law, the law could be considered wrong.

      There are exceptions of course, such as if the population decided murder was cool, but pot isn’t murder, so perhaps it needs to be revisited.

      Sort of like Prohibition.

      • Traveshamockery says:

        It’s exactly like prohibition, except that pot is less dangerous than alcohol.

        Never smoked, never will, but I’m all about legalizing pot. Regulate it like alcohol and legalize it. It won’t affect abuse rates, and will lower crime rates.

      • thedarkerside.to says:

        The problem is proponents of keeping pot illegal tend to argue that it is bad for you because it is illegal.

        Yeah, there is some circular logic going on here: “Well, it’s illegal, so it must be bad for you, otherwise, why would it be illegal?”

        I honestly think the best thing society could do is make sure that everybody gets well educated about drugs and their effects / consequences and then gets to decide for themselves. If they want to shoot up H then let them but to criminalize these substances has probably destroyed as many lives as the drugs themselves, if not more.

    • dolemite says:

      Dude, you do realize many police departments have laid off tons of cops, or even the whole department during this recession? They barely have time to answer their calls. I know in my town, you almost never see cops any more. And it shows…people running red lights, more break ins, etc.

      Legalizing pot would make sense on SO many levels. Many gangs would lose their source of income…our jails would be about 30-40% less full (requiring less tax dollars that could go towards education, etc). I don’t even smoke it and I think it should be legalized. It is absolutely no worse for you than drinking or smoking, and is actually better for you in many ways. (In that you might smoke 2 packs a day, or drink a 12 pack in a day, but you will most likely only smoke 1-2 joints a day).

      • HighontheHill says:

        What would all those upstanding “gang” types do for their cash then?

        I am fully behind the legalization position, but it will be no panacea, there will be trickle-down issues; such as gangs looking for other ways to get monies.

        • dolemite says:

          I dunno, they might even have to get jobs.

          Most likely they will into Meth production, etc., but the vast majority of the population isn’t interested in Meth, Crack, etc. They just want legalized pot.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      they have to go out on the calls either way, priorities or not. There will always be a more serious crime than some kid smoking out. So what you are saying is basically the same as legalizing it.

    • HighontheHill says:

      Excuse? How about the correction of a fucking stupid governmental policy and colossal waste of valuable resources? This whole issue should be behind us already, we have much more important issues to concern ourselves with.

    • Papa Bear says:

      First of all, I say legalize pot but to hell with the argument for medicinal pot because they are moot. Just legalize pot for general use! A prescription drug, Marinol (dronabinol), exists to treat the many things that the medicinal pot proponents claim they want to treat, so their argument is not valid. Medical professionals are right to say that it is far healthier for someone to use the prescribed and controlled doses of the meds as opposed to smoking pot which contains many very unhealthy chemicals besides THC.

      On the other hand, legalizing pot for general use should be the only argument. To hell with the harmful effects. We do many, many harmful things every day that are perfectly legal. Why not pot which would raise billions in revenue and eliminate the largest criminal cartels the world has ever seen. But screw the non-effectual medicinal argument!

  5. Santas Little Helper says:

    So does this mean they are going to start taxing it, and if so who is going to sell it to collect taxes? Then how are we going to raise the taxes on it to such high levels to support all the people the healthcare system will be filled with (likening to the tobacco tax argument)? This is a very slippery slope. FIrst pot, then what else? Heroin, meth, most if not all prescription drugs? Society needs boundaries like this. I think it’s a bad idea.

    • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

      All prescription drugs are Legal Drugs already, darling. Don’t freak out. Meth is not next – the people who want to smoke Grass from the Ground don’t want anything to do with Chemicals under the Sink.

      • tmac40 says:

        Meth is already a legal drug. You can get a prescription for it to treat ADHD if weaker drugs are not working.

      • Sepp_TB says:

        tmac40 is correct. Meth is a Schedule 2 drug in the US, meaning the government classifies it as having acceptable medical use, but with the possibility of abuse and dependence. Marijuana is a Schedule 1 Drug in the US, meaning the government feels it is highly abused and addictive, has no accepted medical use and cannot be safely taken in a medical setting.

        That alone should show you how crazy the drug laws are here in the US. Marijuana has never caused an overdose on its own, and is a well documented anti-nausea medicine and appetite stimulant that is safe and nearly side effect free, yet its classification goes entirely against this.

        • Extractor says:

          And that is why anyone with a DEA certificate cannot be given an Rx by a dope Dr. Federal Law trumps state law in this matter. Until its legalized completely, its use by Drs must be hidden, even if its used to treat their chemotherapy symptoms and its purchase and possesion must be invisible. The DEA will revoke our certificates for utilizing a Scedule 1 drug. Prescribing Schedule 2 drugs is also very risky for us.

    • montecon says:

      So it’s much better to have narco gangs collect the money which fuels violence and death and fear among US and Mexican citizens? Worst. Boundaries. Ever.

    • Griking says:

      Most people don’t smoke 40 joints (2 packs) a day.

      I doubt it would make much of an impact at all to health care costs. Of course the pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t like this a bit.

      • digital0verdose says:

        The thing that HCPs wont like is the sheer number of ailments that pot can help treat which will cut into their bottom lines.

        As this pot movement gets bigger, expect HCP backed anti-pot lobby groups to get out of control.

        Pot become legal has massive monetary implications on so many sides of the spectrum that things will get out of control.

    • Joe User says:

      Change the line to:

      “FIrst alcohol, then what else? ” and you’re in 1930.

      US society didn’t completely collapse in 1934 and the then rich organized crime groups got much weaker in the years following.

      Why do you think the result wouldn’t be the same today?

    • digital0verdose says:

      Have you been to an ABC store? Imagine the same thing but for pot.

      As for your “slippery slope”, and boundaries? You do realize that your boundaries are wasting hundreds of millions of tax payer money and is the cause of some of the most violence we are seeing today.

      If you legalize and regulate the substances, you gain better control over how the population interacts with the drugs than you do by criminalizing everyone who uses and sells.

      This has significant impact with drugs like heroin as you also cut down on the number of people sharing needles and you offer those who are looking for a way out, without going cold turkey, a chance to do so. There are areas in Canada and Scandinavia that have had programs like this for a while and they have done nothing but show positive results.

      Yes there are the few who abuse the system, but there will always be those people and they are always in the extreme minority.

  6. jason in boston says:

    Legalize it, setup some “government control” for standards, and tax it. I wonder what would happen to the cartels if pot became legal. Would they get run out of the business like the mob in Vegas?

    • denros says:

      Hmm, let’s see… selling a completely unregulated product that can’t be acquired through legal channels so it commands a huge markup, yet is so ubiquitous, it’s probably a safer business prospect than cheating on your taxes. I’d actually be surprised if those cartels weren’t trying to prevent it from being legalized by paying people off.

      • Rachacha says:

        The Hearings as they are working on the law would be a good opportunity to round up some illegal drig distribution rings. I can picture it now [insert dream sequence]

        Law review board: Thank you Mrs. Cravitz, leader of the community association and president of Mother’s against drugs for kids for your comments opposed to legalizing drugs. Up next, we have Mr. Juan Mendiola (don’t worry consumerist, he was actually convicted of drug distribution). Mr Mendiola.

        Mr Mendiola: Thank You. My name is Juan Mendiola and I currently work for a drug cartel, and serve as the regional vice president for distribution, yes, I am a drug dealer and I would like to speak out against the proposed regulation to legalize drugs.

        At this point, 50 cops come in and arrest Mr Mendiola and his friends for admitting drug dealing.

    • evnmorlo says:

      The hard drugs will never be legalized, so they will also have business opportunities.

  7. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Too much resources are being squandered to chase down petty dope smokers. Our prisons are full – we have the largest percentile per capita of our population of any nation. “free country” my ass.

    We need to use our resources wisely, and not waste them to put people like Tommy Chong in jail. Seriously, 12 MILLION dollars to bust a guy for selling bongs on the internet, pure entrapment. (watch AKA TOMMY CHONG http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478090/)

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Quote: Bill Maher:[...] I can’t think of a more ridiculous diversion of manpower than to bust Tommy Chong. If anyone feels safer because Tommy was put in jail, that’s a ridiculous human being…

  8. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    First of all, I support Prop 19. While some say the estimated amount earned via taxes is hard to really estimate, I think the most important impact is the reduction of funds to drug cartels.

    Marijuana to the cartels is like clothing at Wal-Mart. Cocaine is like flat screen tvs. The clothing is the low cost to produce, high volume items. What basically covers the cost of operation. They keep the store going, allowing lower prices on their flat screen tvs…versus a store just selling flat screen tvs.

    You take away all the affordable, high volume product (marijuana), and the cost of doing business just for the higher end items (that are far less used) jumps up even higher, making the whole scheme far less practical.

  9. TuxthePenguin says:

    Point by point…

    1. Drug arrests clogging court rooms – this sounds to me that a change in who gets arrested would be a more sensible result. If someone is in possession but is not selling, just take it from them and fine them. No need to arrest. Perhaps you’re not doing an efficient job enforcing… and I don’t quite believe that they arrest 165 people a day… although if someone could point out where they get that number from…

    2. “Legalizing will hurt the cartels”. I hate this logic. That logic doesn’t work. Say you legalize it and set the same restrictions as alcohol. What about all those users who are under the age of 21 (or 18, if you use smoking)? They will still be served by the “cartels” and their chain of distributors. That’s assuming 100% of those who can get it legally will. Do you think all those illicit dealers will suddenly go clean? Nope… it’ll take years to break that black market down, if ever. Remember, if you legalize pot, once the black market makes the sale, that becomes a legal product. There would be no way to distiguish between legal (and taxed) pot and illicitly sold pot.

    3. Any time anyone says “if we raise/start taxing X, we’ll raise Y.” Those estimates almost NEVER work out. Tax increases almost always raise less money than advertised. I would be shocked if that revenue projection comes close. And what about the cost of enforcing those new regulations on who can buy and who can’t?

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      If marijuana was legal for adults in California, that means a large chunck of those smoking won’t be buying illegally, as well as infrastructure in Cali that is producing the product.

      This means the cartels are putting the the same effort (paying off officials, smugglers, etc) to move less product, that is arbuablly crappier than what would be grown in California legally.

      So it’d be far easier (and a better product) for someone who MUST buy marijuana illegally to buy it from a California source than a Mexican source. Hell, some 21 year old could just buy an ounce for California weed, sell it to his under age friend, and no cartels get any money!

      We don’t import beer for underage drinkers.

      • Copper says:

        I highly doubt an underage kid is going to look for a scary drug dealer instead of asking his friend/brother/uncle/grandma.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      1. Police are legally obligated to arrest people, thats the law. Yea, you might get away with dumping a bag or 2, but at some point your CO will come down on you for it. The law needs to be changed.

      2. Ummm, I don’t see too many bootleggers these days, do you?

      3. SOMETHING collected in taxes = a lot more than NOTHING.

      What a maroon.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        1. My point about this was that changing the law doesn’t mean a wholesale repeal, but change what you arrest for. Although the person above you made a good point – conviction rate means a lot to prosecutors… there would be some tacit opposition there, even if they never claimed to really oppose it.

        2. Alcohol is a much different beast than pot. But how long would it take to create a domestic industry to replace the importation of pot from cartels? Do you really think the cartels are going to sit idly by as it happens? If they’re willing to storm government buildings in Mexico to take out opposition… I’d hate to see anything close to that here. They could simply burn down fields. I think there’s a greater risk there than we are giving credit.

        3. Sure, you’re collecting some in taxes, but how much of that revenues is simply replacing what would have been collected elsewhere? When you legalize something, you’re going to increase the use of it (if for nothing else people trying it out). That money would have been spent at McDonalds otherwise, so you lose sales tax there and gain it here. So what percentage of that money is simply being moved from one bucket to another? And then you’ll need to reduce those revenues by the cost of enforcement (Texas has the TABC… how many new officers would you need to do the same for pot)?. Its not as cut and dry as you make it.

        Then again, I would rather be a thinking maroon than someone who tries to simplify things into simple statements.

        • digital0verdose says:

          2. It’s wouldn’t take long at all. Pot is a very easy and fast plant to grow. You’ll be harvesting every few months like clockwork. As for the cartels, they work like water which is to take the path of least resistance. They will fall back on coke and move on. Sure there may be some vestige of them in the states trying to pull off something but it will be minor compared to what we see today. Regardless, you cannot make governmental decision because of a fear that an illegal group will do something. If you live like that you can never progress.

          3. You are collecting taxes from people who already have an allowance for pot and those who decide to get into it. I would say that the percentage that is moving from McD’s to pot is going to be relatively small, while the overall taxes pulled in will be relatively high because you are taking all that once dirty money and bringing it back into the system. Please keep in mind that once pot is legalized, current users are not going to quit or keep buying from the blackmarket.

          It really seems like you are grasping at straws in trying to fight this.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          If you legalize pot, sales at McDonalds go through the roof. Munchies!

          UltraMaroon.

        • tmac40 says:

          If Alcohol can be regulated and taxed there is no reason marijuana can’t be. You count the people that have died from an alcohol overdose and I will count the people that have died from a marijuana overdose. I can count them on one hand with 5 fingers left over. If you were a fast counter you might get through it in a few years.

        • Sepp_TB says:

          As far as enforcement vs tax revenue goes, you may be forgetting law enforcement is already spending a good deal on marijuana enforcement. You’re right that its not just tax revenue, you have to account for regulation and enforcement as expenses and a reduction to that revenue, but if you consider the current cost of enforcement, which is strictly money being spent, compared to revenue coming in and (hopefully) a less amount spent on regulation and enforcement, it is still certainly a gain. Right now marijuana is nothing but a money sink for government.

        • SolidSquid says:

          You’ve brought up the alcohol thing a few times, so it’s probably worth mentioning that the risks and long term impact to health from alcohol are actually higher than those of pot. The only known long term effects of pot are 1) Marijuana Psychosis (exceptionally rare, believed to be a result of someone with low level/impact schitzophrenia having it triggered and made worse by the pot) and 2) psychological addiction (pot doesn’t have chemically addictive contents, but people can become dependant on it’s effects)

          Alcohol on the other hand, has 1) Liver damage/liver failure, 2) Psychological dependancy (same as the pot version), 3) In some cases increase in aggression, 4) Cancer (http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/healthyliving/alcohol/howdoweknow/) and 5) Death through poisoning (in very rare circumstances, but no less rare than marijuana psychosis, this can happen even after a single pint if someone has an allergy)

          The only real reason why alcohol is legal and pot isn’t is that alcohol has been drunk for centuries whereas pot is relatively new (at least outside of certain civilisations)

    • Joe User says:

      Point by point.

      1. Prosecutors are considered good when they have lots of convictions. Easy arrests lead to easy convictions and a re-elected DA.

      2. Legalizing will hurt the cartels. Exactly same way it ruined the mob alcohol business in 1933. Those under 21 do not go to the mob to get a drink, they won’t be going to them for marijuana. They will get someone who is over 21 to buy it for them.

      3. Alcohol taxes do work, so I’m not sure why marijuana taxes wouldn’t.

    • Griking says:

      Under aged kids would end up getting their pot from the same place that they get their cigarettes now; from their legal friends and shop owners who don’t ask for ID.

    • outis says:

      2. Wouldn’t the underage smoking and underage alcohol cartels that must logically already exist at least increase their competition?

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      I won’t nitpick everything you said, but you seem to forget that anyone who is fined has a right to challenge that fine in court.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        Good point I didn’t think of. But I have a feeling that’s a bit less of a clog than arrests would be. How many people just pay (or just ignore!).

        The irony of all of this is I’m not really opposed to legalization. I just think that its not going to be as rosy of a picture as people believe. It’ll be interesting to watch, especially once the Federal Government sues to stop it. It will still be illegal under federal law.

        That… and its fun to mess with people :)

    • sonneillon says:

      It would hurt the gangs from the standpoint that. Corporations do it better faster and cheaper than cartels. Even poorly run corps are going to be more efficient than most gangs. They just price the gangs out of business. If pot were legalized today with a reasonable amount of startup funding I could price out every illicit operation in a year just do to a more efficient management system and large scale production. Still it’s against federal law and that type of thing carries too much risk from the fed getting involved.

    • thedarkerside.to says:

      1. Arresting people or even fining them still takes up police resources, especially if people don’t pay their fine.

      2. Cartels currently don’t provide alcohol to minors, they find other ways to obtain it, mostly from “legal sources”, say, their parents liquor cabinet. So yes, cartels would be hurt by legalizing it.

      3. Indeed, it isn’t a zero sum game, some people will continue to fail to pay taxes etc. On the other hand you get to safe money in the justice and law enforcemenet side of things so in the end society would probably still be coming out ahead.

      Then there is the quesiton on WHY it should remain illegal in the first place. The danger potential clearly doesn’t justify it, cars and alcohol kill more people every year than pot probably does in 100, and yet, both of those things are pretty much legal everywhere.

      Shouldn’t law (enforcement) deal with the most dangerous things out there, not with some imaginary threat that doesn’t exist? Don Quixote rode against the windmills in vain, law enforcement tries to get rid of a plant that does little to no damage to society in vain.

      I truly hope that Prop. 19 in California passes, maybe that will finally crack the stupidity that is US drug law and allow, for example, Canada to finally move towards a more progressive drug policy as well.

    • dg says:

      Just don’t bother people for possessing it or even selling it. Legalize it, tax it and stop trying to control people’s lives for what’s basically a bunch of bullshit reasons. Yeah, you shouldn’t drive while high, but honestly – beyond that – who cares if someone wants to smoke a fatty, get some ice cream and enjoy the day?

      The cartels arent going to supply kids under 18… that’s what brothers and sisters over 18 are for :-)

      Yeah, they’ll make a bunch of money with taxes – but only so long as they don’t get overly greedy. Keep it sane, and people will pay. Make it insane and a pain to deal with and you’re right back where you started…

    • Skankingmike says:

      1.) you have limited grasp of law. If found in possession of any amount of unregulated narcotics you have to be arrested. What the outcome of that is depends on your trail or often times plea bargain.

      2.) Of course nobody is saying they will go away over night. The MOB didn’t go away over night but by legalizing Alcohol again they were severally hurt but not before they gained copious amounts of money first.

      By legalizing and regulating the same for Alcohol and cigarettes we effectively decriminalize a normal behavior of humans. We as humans have smoked pot and drank alcohol since before agrarian society formed. Recreational drug use is not only part of human development in an evolutionary standpoint but you would be hard pressed to argue that the vast majority of our religions have an influence of mind altering substances.

      To actively punish and deny individuals hard wired desire consumption of substances that have been in use since the dawn of abstract thought in humans is an act of ludicrous.

      I hope that in my lifetime the decriminalization of all drugs are accomplished freeing unjust people from a life of criminal behavior they would’ve have other wise never been involved with.

      Imagine taking all the people who drink in the world and putting them in jail. How safe would our society be?

      Please read up on history, anthropology and Law before you make comments on drug use and legality.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        “1.) you have limited grasp of law. If found in possession of any amount of unregulated narcotics you have to be arrested. What the outcome of that is depends on your trail or often times plea bargain.”

        No, I have a perfectly good grasp of the law. What I said (and you just missed so you could get onto your rant) is that if the arresting part is jamming the courts, simply CHANGE THE LAW SO YOU DON’T ARREST THEM. Wow, what is so hard to figure out about that?

        Sheesh…

  10. digital0verdose says:

    Have you been to an ABC store? Imagine the same thing but for pot.

    As for your “slippery slope”, and boundaries? You do realize that your boundaries are wasting hundreds of millions of tax payer money and is the cause of some of the most violence we are seeing today.

    If you legalize and regulate the substances, you gain better control over how the population interacts with the drugs than you do by criminalizing everyone who uses and sells.

    This has significant impact with drugs like heroin as you also cut down on the number of people sharing needles and you offer those who are looking for a way out, without going cold turkey, a chance to do so. There are areas in Canada and Scandinavia that have had programs like this for a while and they have done nothing but show positive results.

    Yes there are the few who abuse the system, but there will always be those people and they are always in the extreme minority.

  11. Cicadymn says:

    I don’t care to smoke pot, but I think people that want to should be able to.

    I want to tax the fuck out of it like cigarettes. But that also goes against my desire to allow people to grow their own to stay away from big companies evil chemicals.

    Well maybe it would work, because there’s a 100% chance pot stores would spring up and sell a wide variety that we could tax a lot but they’d still be able to turn a nice profit. But people would still be able to grow their own if they wanted.

    Maybe we should make hookers legal to. Cut down on human trafficking and give us a new taxable revenue as well as hopefully decrease disease transmission.

    I don’t see these things passing though. I’d like them to. But I don’t see it happening.

    • Duffin (Ain't This Kitty Cute?) says:

      Exactly. Its like tobacco right now. It’s not illegal to grow your own tobacco in the back yard, but very few people want to bother. It’s the same with marijuana. Sure, some will grow their own, but most will be perfectly content buying a joint from the convenience store.

  12. JohnDeere says:

    leap has been around a while.

  13. Mknzybsofh says:

    I agree with this. Legalize it.

  14. The Marionette says:

    Legalize it already. Liquor is legal for 21+ yet it’ll screw up your liver if drank too much, hell you vomit if you drink it too much, yet it’s legal. Cigarettes, 18+ , has shown that it could cause cancer and in fact has it on the packaging. These things are legal, but somehow weed isn’t? I’ve seen more proof that cigs and liquor is far worse for you than weed (with the exception of red wine) and unless someone can show me otherwise I think it’s a stupid thing to send people to court for and screw up our system even more than it already is.

  15. Sian says:

    the real, REAL reason: pot busts aren’t a big source of income. Legalizing it frees up cops for more speeding tickets.

  16. galm666 says:

    Makes perfectly good sense. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it. That’s additional tax revenue and more police manpower freed up to chase down real criminals.

  17. Branden says:

    i’m from canada, for a few years we’ve legalized pot in small quantities. if you’re wondering what the ramifications of legalizing pot might do i can tell you what impact it has had on my country:
    none.
    hippies and d-bags have not taken over the streets, crime is not rampant, kids are not being led into trying ‘harder’ drugs. police still bust grow-ops. in fact pot usage is no more noticeable than it was 10 years ago.

  18. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    If the majority of citizens wish a law passed, it should be done so within the confines of legality. That’s the beauty of our system. If we don’t like it, we can actually change it.

    Some of you may disagree with easing pot regulation, but if you’re in the minority just suck it up and deal.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      Under your logic, why are people using to allow gay marriage? The majority voted and decided on something.

      Why not respect that majority, but respect this one?

      • Sian says:

        uhm, the part about ‘within the confines of legality’.

        You can’t pass a law that violates the constitution, without changing the constitution first.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Yea, if you think that “We the People” still have control of this county, you are delusional.

  19. Boberto says:

    While we keep hearing about “jail” time and criminal implications, please keep in mind the other hidden cost to society (even under decriminalization).

    Even though, you may technically not have a criminal record (getting caught with small amounts), you will always have to face the prospect of a “drug offense” when undergoing a criminal background check.

    This can have dire consequences on employment, housing etc., relegating users to the underbelly of society.

    When I talk about hidden cost, these are great examples of why it needs to be fully legalized.

  20. dush says:

    Pot smokers are too high to do any robbing, arsoning, murdering or thieving. And a stoned society is easer for the government to control.

  21. smo0 says:

    Hey, legalize it! I’ve had this debate since high school… there’s zero wrong with this outcome if you set this up properly.

  22. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    “They have a political job, so they can’t tell the truth,” he said. “People are free to speak out honestly only after they are retired.”

    QFFT.

  23. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    “…saying it would free up the police to focus its efforts on more serious crimes.”

    You mean like big banks that steal money from people’s accounts (or their homes) under the guise of overdraft/maintenance fees and/or foreclosures? Crimes like that?

  24. Geekybiker says:

    I think the biggest question is if any major players will move in once its legalized in CA, but not by the feds? I know big tobacco has to have all sorts of plans drawn up in case pot is legalized. However I can’t imagine them risking the feds either.

  25. drburk says:

    Oddly enough I want to legalize pot so I can make hemp houses.

  26. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    awesome sign.

  27. theslik1 says:

    Let’s be clear about a few things. Most police associations or any other political group representing law enforcement will NEVER go for any sort of legalization, because 1) pot busts are easy pickings for police departments that want to pump up their arrest stats but don’t really want to do any heavy lifting when it comes to fighting actual crime (read: lazy), and 2) they don’t want to lose any of the precious funding associated with The War on Drugs despite the fact that it has been a dismal failure. Not to mention the power to trample on citizens’ rights with highly militarized police forces, no-knock SWAT raids, and asset forfeitures. None of this is by accident or due to “improper prioritization” by law enforcement. Police and DA’s are doing *exactly* what they wish to be doing i.e. soaking up taxpayer dollars with minimum effort, which is why they will spend even more taxpayer money ensuring that reform never occurs.

  28. CookiePuss says:

    While I’m all for legalizing drugs, only legalizing weed isn’t going to be “a huge blow to the massive drug cartels”. Thats like saying Walmart would go out of business if cigarettes became illegal. The impact would hardly be felt.

  29. kenj0418 says:

    > “I was a drug warrior until I saw what was happening in my own courtroom,” said former Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray

    How about you not be a ‘warrior’ for one side, and instead be an independent and neutral arbiter of law? I’m glad this guy is a *former* judge.

  30. Puddy Tat says:

    I am starting to think about Legalizing EVERYTHING…..!

    Honestly the drug war is a losing battle and if we just legalized everything it would put all those drug dealers, drug lords and scumbags out of business!

    If you want to be a addict and you have no money or are homeless head down to the local clinic register and you can get your daily allotment of whatever and use the money from taxing these drugs to have rehap centers – crime would decrease right?

  31. oldwiz65 says:

    I don’t use pot and am not interested in it but I’m all for total legalization of pot.

    Look up the history of making pot illegal and you will find it was a racist reason;they were concerned about black people (back when they could use the N word) attacking white women. Pot was thought to make them sex crazed.

    I’ve known people who did pot and never saw one of them get angry or mad. They did get pretty silly though.

    It would be nice if they would simply annonce a blanket amnesty of anyone in jail for posession of pot less than a pound or so.

    The police here would much prefer not to bother with pot arrests.

    When you think about how much trouble legal alcohol causes in drunken driving and such, why worry about pot?

    • webweazel says:

      The history I had read says that marijuana was pushed to be outlawed by the COTTON industry. WHAT? You say? Think about HEMP rope and cloth sails back in the says of sailing ships. Think about slavery and the super-wealthy and powerful cotton plantations. They wanted HEMP outlawed so they could sell more cotton.
      So, who do you think made up some of these weird rumors like the ones you mentioned? You bet. Cotton farmers.

  32. Thumbmaster says:

    As much as I’m all for legalizing pot, their reasoning is completely flawed and horrifying. If we follow their train to its logical end, everything should be legalized so the cops can spend more time with family. “Why waste resources investigating murders and burglary when they can be legalized?”

    I hope they come up with a more compelling reason to win over the voters.

    • travel_nut says:

      The problem with your argument is that there are *victims* of murder and burglary. Someone has their home invaded, possessions stolen, or their life taken.

      Pot is a victimless “crime”. Who the fark cares if I sit on my back porch and get high? What the hell does it matter to anyone else if I want to smoke a joint? The act of smoking pot does not have a victim. And even when people are high, 99.9% of the time they don’t commit crimes. They sit on their asses, maybe eat a bag of doritos, and just screw around.

      Pot is nowhere near on the same level as murder or burglary.

      • john says:

        Follow the money!!

        The “legalize pot” lobby is being funded by Little Debbie and Frito-Lay. We are all being led around by “big snack”! This will just lead to more overweight issues and then we will have to hear from the self-righteous idiots at the CSPI about how pot makes us want to eat more Hardee’s $6 burgers.

        I am not for legalizing pot, but it does have it upside. More jobs available for people like me who don’t get high. Might bring down “reported” unemployment since people would give up looking and eat snacks all day.

  33. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Fine. Keep your high ass off the damn highway. No driving under the influence of ANYTHING.

  34. jpdanzig says:

    My dad was in AA for more than thirty years. In all those years, he said that the one substance that really didn’t seem to cause a problem for individuals or society was — “what’s that stuff people smoke?” “Marijuana, Dad?” “Yeah, that’s it — that stuff really isn’t a problem.” Amen.

    Now if they would legalize it, regulate, it, and tax it — and sell it at a reasonable price — I for one would be one very happy camper — and gratified to see that American society had made at least one genuine advance since the days of civil rights legislation…

  35. barty says:

    I’ve been saying this for years.

    No, I don’t smoke pot, and don’t plan on starting anytime soon. But we waste a HUGE amount of resources in arresting people for simple possession, taking them to court, and throwing them in jail for 30-180 days (if they just don’t get off with a fine), only to have them get out and do the same thing again.

    As mentioned time and time again, legalize it, but just tax it to death. Earmark the tax receipts for treatment of drug/alcohol abusers (proven to be many times more effective than simply incarcerating people over and over) and let the police attend to more pressing issues than arresting someone because the nosy neighbor smelled some smoke.

  36. john says:

    Legalizing pot would move it from one cartel to another, the US govt.

    I can see the headlines that are coming on Consumerist.
    “Pot shrink ray strikes again”
    “Walmart to start selling organic marijuana”
    “Chemical industry creates pot substitute from corn, consumers protest”

  37. RogueWarrior65 says:

    Enough. ENOUGH! ENOUGH WITH THE DAMN DO-AS-YOU-PLEASE ATTITUDE!
    This is at the heart of what’s wrong with this country. No, no, no, NO, NO!!! I will NOT tolerate any more of this liberal bullsh*t!!! I don’t give a damn that the prisons are filled with pot smokers. I’d rather have them there than flying an airplane or driving a truck loaded with jet fuel. If you think it’s going to stop there if you legalize it, guess again. Everything with liberals is give an inch take an effing mile. Next thing you know they’ll want cocaine and meth legalized. Cut the crap. Doing drugs is NOT a victimless crime. I spent a week searching for a 2-year old who was overdosed on methadone by a custodial mother. The kid’s remains were found in a ditch picked clean by the vultures. STICK THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT!!!

    • Sian says:

      How about just holding people responsible for their actions, regardless of what substance they are or aren’t on?

    • drjayphd says:

      Wow, you seem… tense. Perhaps something to take the edge off? (I’m sorry, but you certainly seem to see everything through your own perspective, and the broad-brush liberal bashing doesn’t help at all. Also, you’re wrong about the slippery-slope argument, as there isn’t nearly as much of a push to legalize other drugs. It’s like the old, tired argument about gay marriage: same-sex marriage has much more support and moral standing in the US than other relationships… it’s not going to lead to man-on-dog and whatever fantasies Rick Santorum has rattling around because no one’s going to support it.)

    • staralfur says:

      Let’s throw everybody who drinks alcohol in jail too. Surely that will solve society’s ills.

  38. TardCore says:

    Good, the jails are full of small time drug offenders that are not a threat to society. Free up some jail beds for the hard core dangerous criminals and stop wasting tax payer dollars on a failed war on pot.

    • TardCore says:

      The environment is also paying a terrible price from all of the illegals running massive grow operations in our national forests.

  39. sopmodm14 says:

    makes logistical and economic sense…every cop car giving tickets is one less to fight real crime

    or they can just legalize it, have more manpower for violent crimes and get taxed for it !

    win-win-win !!!

  40. john says:

    I am sick of people saying that cops can be used to fight real crime if they are not stopping dope smokers. I hear the same kind of argument from people who get speeding tickets.

    There are beat cops, traffic cops, SWAT, detectives, etc. If a traffic cop isn’t stopping speeders and maybe finding drugs in a car, they ARE NOT going to be out investigating a rape, murder or other violent crime. Like every other job, you have to work your way up the totem pole.

    Traffic cops are fighting crime. Speeding is a crime, just a misdemeanor. So on and so forth.

  41. Levk says:

    LOL how much each state waste on catching illegal pot crimes does not in any way match the result they can spend millions upon millions of trying to get ride of the drug but when you compare the hundreds of millions of dollars they spend and the result is 60k criminals that in no way adds up nicely

  42. kenskreations says:

    How about this? Legalize pot with permits to sell and/or grow (like they do now for growing). Then take all the proceeds after the expenses of operating the department for issuing only these permits and give to law enforcement. Instead of laying off officers, keep them on and go after the hard drugs and major crime?

  43. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    “People are free to speak out honestly only after they are retired.”

    Explains why my father talks way too much now. Also explains, why we only here the truth from Area51 employees and astronauts after they retire, or maybe it’s their medication talking…