California Gubernatorial Candidates Not for Pot: The Led Leading the Leaders, Once Again

Posted: June 5, 2010 in Marijuana Legalization, War on Drugs
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Though Californians will decide in November whether their state will be the first in the nation to legalize recreational use of marijuana, the three leading candidates in California’s gubernatorial race have already made up their minds on the issue.

According to the Sacramento Bee, this is what they had to say about legalization of the devil-weed:

Republican Meg Whitman (by spokesperson): “absolutely against legalizing marijuana for any reason. … She believes we have enough challenges in our society without heading down the path of drug legalization.”

Republican Steve Poizner (by spokesperson): “feels we need an across-the-board tax cut to reignite our state’s economy, not an attempt to smoke our way out of the budget deficit.”

Democrat Jerry Brown to a meeting of law enforcement officials: “I’ve already indicated that that’s not a provision I am likely to support, I have been on the side of law enforcement for a long time, and you can be sure that we will be together on this November ballot.”

Finally, a point of bipartisan agreement.

Something Missing

Another thing all three statements have in common is the complete avoidance of any substantial reason for their opposition.

Meg Whitman’s “we already have enough challenges” approach assumes that personal freedom granted to a large number of California pot smokers would be a problem. Somehow, the reduction in taxpayer spending on incarceration, the courts and law enforcement–plus the huge dent in the dope cartels’ cash stream that legalization would create adds up to a “challenge” by Whitman’s reckoning.

Steve Poisner’s answer was simply an opportunity to recite the Republican tax-cut mantra—with an inane reference to “smok[ing] our way out of the [State’s] budget deficit” tacked on. I’m not even sure what that means.  Actually, I’m not sure he knows what that mans. But since he brought it up, to completely disregard the tax revenue that would be generated by controlled, taxed, commercial distribution of a very popular drug is a wee bit, well, stupid.


Then, there’s Jerry Brown. Mr. Brown may be one of the more enlightened of the three (faint praise, I know), but he is also a politician. His “I’m with law enforcement” statement was made to a group of law enforcement officials meeting in Sacramento.  What else would he say? “After careful study of academic, legal and medical reports—and deep reflection on my own personal use of the stuff back in the 60s and 70s, I’ve come to the conclusion that you law enforcement people have been wasting your time and causing untold misery to many decent people for the last 85 years. Marijuana is enjoyed by millions of Californians. To allow the manufacture and distribution of alcohol and tobacco, but draw the line on a substance that has been proven to be less harmful than both of the other substances makes no sense at all, is unconstitutional, and is, in all truth, very, very destructive. And remember, vote for me. Thank you.

Brown also left a little wiggle room with his “not a provision I am likely [italics mine] to support.” Who knows, he may change his tune if the numbers supporting legalization continue to grow.

Wide Support

According to Reuters, legalizing marijuana “appears to have broad support in the state, with some 56 percent of Californians surveyed in an April, 2009 Field Poll saying they favored making it legal for social use and taxing the sales proceeds.”

The most recent polls show support for the initiative has declined somewhat, but no matter how you slice it, a whole lot of Californians think the ban on reefer should be lifted.

Once again, it appears the led are leading the leaders.


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