Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

April 28, 2010
Prosecutor assails pot measure, backers say 'marijuana is here'

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who has assailed medical marijuana dispensaries as illegal, profit-reaping operations, is targeting the legitimacy of the November ballot initiative to legalize recreational pot and allow local governments to tax and regulate its use.

In a letter to attorney general Jerry Brown, Cooley charges that the title and summary for the measure is "wrong and highly misleading" and should be disallowed.

Cooley, a Republican candidate for state attorney general, charges that the initiative offers false promises of providing "major tax and other fiscal benefits" for the state and local governments and regulating marijuana like alcohol.

Cooley argues that the burden will fall on "local governments to promulgate comprehensive cannabis-related regulations." He said that will "unduly burden local governments" and "lead to a chaotic and confusing result."

He also argues that the measure, which would allow Californians over 21 to grow pot in 25-square-foot residential spaces, would also "create an absolute right to cultivate marijuana on private property" and, possibly, on public lands.

Cooley's April 13 letter was followed 10 days later by a memo in The Huffington Post from the Drug Policy Alliance, an group advocating alternatives to the drug war.

In "Dismantling the Talking Points of Marijuana Prohibitionists," Tony Newman and Stephen Gutwillig of the Alliance argue that "the California ballot initiative simply acknowledges that marijuana is here and that it's more sensible to regulate this massive market."

"The bottom line," they wrote, "is that marijuana is California's largest agricultural commodity, freely consumed by millions...with no financial benefit to the state...This is a reality we literally can't afford to ignore any longer."

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.