Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Thanks so much for calling for marijuana to be classified like alcohol in your latest column.
I hope you’ll keep watching and covering this issue as the push for legalization heats up, and I thought you might be interested in hearing about a group of police, prosecutors and judges who are pushing in favor of legalization.
These members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) fought on the front lines of the war on drugs, witnessing how prohibition only serves to make substance abuse and market violence problems worse. Now, they are actively working to change the debate on drug policy issues so that more voters understand that continuing to keep marijuana illegal harms public safety, not protects it.
Just to give you an idea of some of the perspectives our speakers bring to the debate in California:
• There’s Judge James Gray, who retired in 2009 from the Superior Court in Orange County and has been calling for legalization for more than a decade now. One of the main reasons he wants to end prohibition is so we can better keep marijuana away from young people by enacting age limits, which illegal drug dealers definitely don’t do. Judge Gray was profiled in the LA Times at http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lopez29-2009mar29,0,88438.column
• We’ve got Norm Stamper, who was a police officer in San Diego for 28 years before being hired as chief of police in Seattle, WA. With a 34-year policing career, he’s seen how prohibition can corrupt and endanger law enforcement from top to bottom. Chief Stamper was featured in this Nicholas D. Kristof column in NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/opinion/14kristof.html
• Just one more example would be Joe McNamara, who served as San Jose’s chief of police for 15 of his 35 years in law enforcement. Currently a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute, Joe knows that legalizing marijuana in California will deal a strong blow to the cartels and gangs that currently control its distribution through violent illegal networks. Chief McNamara had this op-ed published in the San Francisco Chronicle: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/25/IN1K1EGQRJ.DTL
We’ve also got prosecutors, narcotics detectives and corrections officials, and we’re actively recruiting more criminal justice professionals across the state who agree that it’s time to legalize marijuana.
During the Prop. 19 campaign, these pro-legalization law enforcers held press conferences and released a sign-on letter to announce their support for the ballot measure: http://copssaylegalize.blogspot.com/2010/09/media-goes-nuts-for-cops-supporting.html
Beyond California, we have a robust network of pro-legalization law enforcers active across the globe.
Media Relations Director
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Nov. 21, 2011