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.”