AG candidates oppose marijuana legalization

I’ll have a story in Sunday’s editions about what legalized marijuana might look like were any of the proposed ballot measures now circulating for petition signatures, or a bill now pending in the Legislature, to be enacted. In trying to characterize law enforcement’s opposition, I decided to check in with all of the candidates for California Attorney General. And, don’tcha know, all the folks who responded are dead set against legalization.

From Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark:

“Cannabis is a powerful medicine appropriate and necessary to treat the side effects of many serious illnesses, from HIV/AIDS to cancer. It is not, and should not be made into, a legal recreational drug or a new revenue source. We need to support the appropriate medical use of marijuana with strong new regulations and oversight of medical marijuana collectives.

“Even in the midst of this terrible fiscal crisis, the last way we want to balance our budget is by putting the state in the position of profiting from recreational drug use.”

From Brian Brokaw, campaign manager for San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, a Democrat:

“As a career prosecutor, District Attorney Harris believes that drug selling harms communities; it is not a ‘victimless crime,’ as some contend. While the D.A. supports the legal use of medicinal marijuana, she does not support the legalization of marijuana beyond that.”

From former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, a Democrat:

“California led the nation in passing the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Now that the U.S. Justice Department has said they will not enforce the federal law against states, we should ensure that existing state law in California on this specific issue is appropriately implemented, including building the necessary regulatory structure, before we take any next steps. Therefore, I oppose all 3 measures and the Ammiano bill.”

From Tim Rosales, campaign manager for state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach:

“Tom Harman does not support any further liberalization of drug laws, including marijuana.”

Spokespeople for Assembly members Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, didn’t return my e-mail, nor did former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo’s campaign.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Anthony

    I’ll will never understand how we criminalize Cannabis, all the while Alcohol is fully Legal and socially acceptable.If you speak with Law Enforcement Officers I am of the firm belief that they can attest to the fact that most violent crimes such as Domestic disputes,rapes,murders and such are committed by those individuals under the influence of alcohol.Would you agree that all Drunk Driving accidents and Fatalities are attributed to DUI of alcohol? Think about the human toll of the failed drug war and all the collateral damage surrounding the war on drugs,and a war is exactly what it is.Get all the FACTS.Than make a choice.

  • J

    Anthony, you make excellent points. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of ‘apples to oranges’ because Alcohol and Marijuana are not comparable items, in that Alcohol is an encompassing category while MJ is a specific item within a broader working category (ie MJ is to ‘Drugs’ as Wine is to Alcohol). The opposition to legalization has less to do with violence, though important, than with concerns of a legal MJ industry creating a money laundering facility for cleaning funds garnered from other illegal operations, and what the potential fallout of this will be (ie will gangs go fully behind legal MJ — unlikely — or ‘double down’ on their other illegal activity, and what will that cost law enforcement in $$ and bodies, particularly relevant when one factors in the Foreign Policy element and the current situation in Mexico).