Oakland City Attorney Backs Prop 19 To Allow Marijuana


Photo: Living In The O
Oakland City Attorney John Russo: “What we’ve being trying to do is fight a raging fire with a watering can. The better way is to cut off the oxygen”

​Breaking from the staunch opposition of most law enforcement groups, Oakland City Attorney John Russo on Monday joined about two dozen officials from across California to publicly support Proposition 19, the measure allowing recreational marijuana that will appear on November’s ballot. Another group gathered in West Hollywood with the same message.

Their support of Prop 19 goes against the majority of law enforcement agencies in California, which oppose the measure, reports Angela Woodall of The Oakland Tribune. “It’s very difficult for them to change, Russo said Monday in front of Oakland City Hall.
Meanwhile, a coalition headed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca — “No On Prop 19” — blasted the measure in a statement signed by scores of police chiefs, sheriffs, law enforcement associations and district attorneys, of all whom want to keep those fat federal anti-pot funds flowing.

Photo: City Of Fontana
Fontana Police Chief Rodney Jones: “Nothing about Prop 19 is positive”

​”Nothing about Proposition 19 is positive,” claimed Fontana Police Chief Rodney Jones in the “No On Prop 19” statement. “The initiative has too many legal loopholes and will cause too much chaos, and put the public’s safety and our communities at risk.”
Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts has taken no public stance on the measure, and has said he is responsible for enforcing the laws on the books.
Since 1976, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor in California (unless, since 1996, you have medical authorization) punishable by a $100 fine but no jail time.
California law enforcement made 61,388 misdemeanor marijuana arrests in 2008, up 127 percent since 1990, according to a report by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in the California Legislature.
Prop 19 would allow adults over 21 to carry an ounce for personal consumption, as well as allow a 5×5 marijuana cultivation area. Local governments would be allowed to levy new taxes on marijuana sales.

Photo: LEAP
Nate Bradley, LEAP: Drug dealers “don’t care if they’re selling to a 12-year-old or a 30-year-old”

​The city attorney said he supported Prop 19 as a “law and order” issue.
Current policy has empowered violent drug cartels who take in 60 percent of their income from marijuana sales in the United States, according to Russo.
“Money is the oxygen of these groups,” he said.
Giving local governments more autonomy over marijuana regulation would “take it off street corners,” Russo said.
The black market controls the distribution, regulation and sale of marijuana right now, said Nate Bradley, former Wheatland police officer and Sutter County Sheriff’s deputy.
Bradley now speaks for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and uses medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. He is also a consults medicinal cannabis patients.
Bradley disputed the claim that youth would have easier access to marijuana if Prop 19 were passed. Drug dealers “don’t care if they’re selling to a 12-year-old or a 30-year-old,” Bradley said.