he Oakland City Council endorsed California’s marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot Tuesday, becoming the first city in the state to back it.
Last year, 80 percent of Oakland voters approved becoming the first city in the United States to tax medical marijuana dispensaries, gaining $500,000 for city coffers, reports Joe Garofoli at SF Gate. And in 2004, city voters approved Measure Z, making marijuana possession arrests the lowest law enforcement priority for the Oakland Police Department.
“Our experience shows that controlling and taxing cannabis dispensaries can benefit everyone in the community,” said Oakland City Council member at-large Rebecca Kaplan.
|Photo: East Bay I|
|Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan|
”Police are able to focus their efforts on real crime, regulations create responsible dispensaries with safety protections and worker rights, and the public receives vital services from the revenue,” Kaplan said.
Despite the steadfast opposition of hidebound law enforcement groups like narcotics enforcement associations, police chiefs’ associations, and others, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) reports many cops actually support the initiative; LEAP itself has already endorsed Tax Cannabis 2010, reports David Downs at East Bay Express.
“California has its public safety priorities wrong,” said former Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Stephen Downing of LEAP. “In 2008, we arrested over 61,000 Californians for misdemeanor cannabis possession. The same year, almost 60,000 violent crimes went unsolved in California. Let’s stop arresting non-violent adult cannabis consumers so police can focus on violent crime.”
The head of a major teacher’s group has also expressed support for the measure, Downs reports.
Randi Weingarten, head of the 1.4 million-member American Federation for Teachers, said she’d back the measure when Real Time host Bill Maher asked her in April.
“Everything in moderation is pretty much fine… And should marijuana become legal, I believe it should remain off-limits and illegal for children… As a baby boomer, I smoked marijuana,” Weingarten said. “But as a baby boomer with asthma, my experimentation with it was short-lived.”