Monday, September 13, 2010

California Law Enforcers Endorse Marijuana Legalization

Today at press conferences in Oakland and Los Angeles, a group of police officers, judges and prosecutors released the following letter of endorsement for legalizing marijuana in California signed by dozens of law enforcers from across the state.

Law Enforcers Say Control and Tax Cannabis to Protect Public Safety

To the Voters of California:

As police officers, judges, prosecutors, corrections officials and others who have labored to enforce the laws that seek to prohibit cannabis (marijuana) use, and who have witnessed the abysmal failure of this current criminalization approach, we stand together in calling for new laws that will effectively control and tax cannabis.

As criminal justice professionals, we have seen with our own eyes that keeping cannabis illegal damages public safety -- for cannabis consumers and non-consumers alike. We’ve also seen that prohibition sometimes has tragic consequences for the law enforcers charged with putting their lives on the line to enforce it. The only groups that benefit from continuing to keep marijuana illegal are the violent gangs and cartels that control its distribution and reap immense profits from it through the black market.

If California's voters make the sensible decision to effectively control and tax cannabis this November, it will eliminate illegal marijuana distribution networks, just as ending alcohol prohibition put a stop to violent and corrupting gangsters' control of beer, wine and liquor sales.

As law enforcement professionals, we especially want voters to understand that legalization will allow us to do our jobs more effectively and safely. In 2008, there were over 60,000 arrests for simple misdemeanor cannabis possession in California, yet nearly 60,000 violent crimes went unsolved in our state that same year. When we change our cannabis laws, police officers will no longer have to waste time on low-level cannabis arrests; we'll be able to focus on protecting the public from murderers, rapists, drunk drivers and burglars. Cannabis cases will no longer clog up court dockets. And room in our costly, overflowing prisons will be freed up when we stop locking people up just because they tested positive for cannabis while on probation.

Because of all the overhead and administrative savings that legalization will generate, our criminal justice apparatus will have more resources to keep more good law enforcers employed serving the public in this time of fiscal turmoil. Ending prohibition will also put a stop to other crimes and problems caused by the illegal marijuana market, such as robberies, gang warfare, gun-running and house fires caused by underground grow operations.

Controlling marijuana through a regulated system will also reduce its availability to kids. Right now, illegal dealers have no incentive to check IDs or avoid selling to juveniles, given that the market is illegal for everyone. But under adult legalization, licensed cannabis businesses will face penalties and consequences that will effectively deter underage sales. Indeed, a recent study from Columbia University shows that teens currently find it easier to purchase illegal marijuana than age-regulated alcohol.

And, because marijuana is illegal and unregulated, its producers aren’t required to do any quality control or safety evaluation, and sometimes it is adulterated with other drugs or harmful chemicals. While law enforcers understand that every drug has the potential for abuse, making cannabis illegal has made it much more dangerous than it otherwise would be under effective regulation.

Please join us in supporting the sensible solution to California’s failed cannabis policies. Let’s vote to control and tax cannabis this November – for safety’s sake.


MacKenzie Allen
Former Deputy Sheriff, Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept.
Deputy Sheriff, King County Sheriff's Dept. (Ret.)

James Anthony
Former Community Prosecutor, Oakland City Attorney's Office

L. Lawrence Baird
Former Senior Reserve Park Ranger, Orange County

William Baldwin
Correctional Officer, California Department of Corrections (Ret.)

Nate Bradley
Former Officer, Wheatland Police Department
Former Deputy, Sutter County Sheriff's Office

Walter Clark
Deputy District Attorney, County of Riverside District Attorney's Office (Ret.)

Stephen Cobine
Captain, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (Ret.)

William John Cox
Former Officer, El Cajon Police Department
Former Sergeant, Los Angeles Police Department
Former Deputy, Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
Retired Supervising Trial Counsel, State Bar of California

Bill Dake
Former Officer, San Francisco Police Department

David Doddridge
Narcotics Officer, Los Angeles Police Department (Ret.)

Stephen Downing
Deputy Chief, Los Angeles Police Department (Ret.)

Rick Erickson
Officer, Lakeport Police Department (Ret.)

Paul Gallegos
District Attorney, County of Humboldt

Dr. Nina Graves
Former Military Police, Santa Barbara

James Gray
Judge, Superior Court of Orange County (Ret.)

Terence Hallinan
Former San Francisco District Attorney

Russ Jones
Former Narcotics Detective, San Jose Police Department, DEA Task Force

Kyle Kazan
Former Officer, Torrance Police Department

Leo E. Laurence
Former Biker Enforcement Task Force Member, San Diego District Attorney's Office
Former Deputy Sheriff, Missouri

Madeline Martinez
Correctional Peace Officer (Ret.), State of California Department of Corrections

Danny Maynard
Former Yolo County Sheriff’s Office
Former Sacramento Port Police Department

Walter McKay
Former Senior Police Specialist, Police Assessment Resources Center, Los Angeles, CA
Former Detective, Vancouver Police Department

Joseph McNamara
Chief of Police, San Jose Police Department (Ret.)

Joe Miller
Deputy Probation Officer, Mohave County Probation Department
Police Officer, Needles Police Department (Ret.)

John O'Brien
Sheriff, Genesee County, MI (Ret.)
University of Phoenix, Southern California campus

John A. Russo
Oakland City Attorney

David Sinclair
Former Deputy Sheriff, Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff

Mike Schmier
Former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles
Former Administrative Law Judge California State
Former Federal Labor Prosecutor San Francisco

Jeffrey Schwartz
Senior Deputy District Attorney, Humboldt County (Ret.)

Lyle Smith
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (Ret.)

Norm Stamper
Executive Assistant Chief of Police, San Diego Police Department (Ret.)
Chief of Police, Seattle Police Department (Ret.)

Jeff Studdard
Former Reserve Deputy Sheriff, Los Angeles County

All agency affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.


  1. The illegal drug trade is now estimated to be somewhere in the region of $400 billion a year ( equal to the defense budget ). This "former land of the free" arrests 1.5 million of it's citizens a year for drug law violations, half for marijuana alone, The majority of the 2.2 million inmates in the USA are incarcerated because of this insane drug war (Prohibition 2) at a staggering cost to all taxpayers and trauma to their families.

    Prisons have been filled to capacity. Violent criminals, murderers, rapists and child molesters are released early to create space for these so called drug offenders. Half of court trial time and also a huge chunk of police officers time is pointlessly wasted. Enormous untaxed profits from illegal drugs fund multi-national criminal empires which bribe law enforcement authorities and spread corruption faster than a raging bush fire. These laws take violent criminals and turn them into multi-billionaires whilst corrupting even entire countries such as Columbia, Panama, Mexico and Afghanistan. The extreme violence on and south of the border is drug gangs fighting for turf in this lucrative business. The drug laws are also funding the Taliban whose illegal opium profits allow it to buy weapons and pay it's fighters more than $300 a month, compared with the $14 paid to an Afghan policemen.

    The definition of insanity is great folly, madness, extreme senselessness, lunacy. The present drug laws cause all of the above and may therefor be deemed insane.

    There will be many of you who probably fear a theoretical free-for-all, but that overlooks one major point: That's exactly the situation we have at the moment. Sure, there are laws against the possession and sale of these drugs, but they have no impact on actually restricting either one. When we allow such drugs to remain in the criminal market, they finance the activities of street punks, violent gangs, drug lords and terrorists. That's why there is now such an urgent need to legalize, which will not only allow us to properly regulate these substances, but also strip the illegal cartels of their main income.

    So please consider the following very carefully : It wasn't the alcohol that caused the surge in crime and homicide during alcohol prohibition, it was prohibition itself. That's why many of us find it hard to believe that the same thing is not happening now. We clearly have a prohibition fueled violent crime problem. A huge number of these violent crimes are perpetrated by criminal syndicates and gangs who use the proceeds form the sales of illegal substances to further even more of their criminal activities.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare. We have to regulate and we have to do it now!

  2. Awesome!

    My main hope is you all can inspire the rank-and-file guys and gals to speak up. David Bratzer is one of the few I know of. The more they learn about the failures of prohibition and how it has needlessly and wantonly destroyed so many lives and so much property, they should be completely disgusted with how it DOES NOT promote law and order, but instead promotes lawlessness!

    If I was ever a member of a union and my dues were being spent on something I thought was wrong, I'd speak up. This is where they need to be. Their "leaders" are using their own money to make society worse! AND they're doing it under their name, AND they're doing it under the falsehood of making society better.

    Thank you all for being so public in your efforts.

  3. LEAP is beautiful.....yet all these folks are FORMER law enforcement, FORMER speaks of a big problem in the USA with (perceived) Freedom of Speech........are there no active or current cops/etc against Prohibition???!!

    Are they fired or demoted for speaking their minds? What's the deal?

  4. I will gladly pay taxes for my pot and get this country out of the red and into the black! It's time to legalize pot! For the country!!!

  5. @ Andre Lange

    Funny you should mention that. Mine is one of the only names on that letter as an actively employed peace officer.

    On December 10th, 2010, I was terminated from my position as a probation officer. Seems in management's opinion the letter didn't have an adequate disclaimer. "All agency affiliations are listed for identification purposes only" apparently wasn't good enough for my boss.

    Sucks to be fired right before Christmas but
    I'm currently working on an appeal to the termination.


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