On Nov. 8, Californians will get a chance to vote for the legalization of recreational cannabis, but the police and prison guard groups are raising money to oppose this ballot measure. Stipulated by the fear to lose their revenue streams from cannabis, the law enforcement officials have already collected money to lobby against pot legalization.
Though medical marijuana has already been decriminalized in California in accordance with Senate Bill 420 and Proposition 215 in 1996, recreational use of weed is still not legalized in the state. Today, California punishes people for the possession of one ounce of weed with a fine of $100.
Marijuana advocates have already made efforts to legalize recreational weed in the state, but their attempts were not crowned with success.
While cannabis supporters were preparing their addresses to campaign for marijuana, it turned out that the law enforcement officials have already come up with their position in the matter.
John Lovell, a lobbyist hired by the police, has reported that the law enforcement agencies provided about half of the money raised to oppose Californian marijuana legalization. It is surprising, but $60,000 came from groups representing law enforcement agencies.
Their actions were allegedly induced by the prison guard supervisors and police chiefs who do not want to lose the money they receive from marijuana prosecution. Thanks to marijuana, the police get huge federal grants and money from asset confiscation, while the prison is constantly supplied with prisoners. The Justice Department grants the police with huge funds to help with the drug enforcement efforts. Moreover, California received about $180 million from asset forfeitures related to marijuana over a ten-year period.
Fearing to lose their sources of money, the police have employed John Lovell, who leads the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies aimed to oppose the legalization of recreational cannabis in California. The professional skills of John Lovell are beyond any doubt, as last year, he successfully defeated measures to reform asset seizures related to drugs in California.
The police of Washington and Minnesota have already lost their money in the result of marijuana decriminalization, and California is the last state of America in which the police are still leading the fight against cannabis legalization.
However, marijuana advocates are also doing their best to make California legalize weed. They have already collected more than $2 million for the campaign and garnered the support of California Congressman Ted Lieu and the California Medical Association. Moreover, the latest poll results show that more than 60% of Californians support the decriminalization of recreational cannabis in the state.