DiFi comes out against pot legalization measure

Opponents of Proposition 19, the marijuana-legalization measure on November’s ballot, gained a high-visibility ally today as U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., came out against the initiative.

“Proposition 19 is simply a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe,” Feinstein said in a news release issued by Public Safety First, the coalition opposing the measure. “A recently released report from the RAND Corporation noted that if Proposition 19 passes, the only thing that would be certain is drug use would go up and the State of California would run afoul of Federal law and risk losing federal funding.”

“In addition, there are too many unknown factors related to law enforcement and public safety. I urge voters to VOTE NO on Proposition 19 this November.”

The release said Feinstein will sign the ballot-pamphlet arguments against the measure.

UPDATE @ 6:15 P.M.: Dale Clare, speaking on behalf of the Tax Cannabis 2010 committee that’s backing Proposition 19, said Feinstein’s statement “illustrates why we are asking the voters to decide, ‘reform, or more of the same?’ Unfortunately we’ll never get reform from the politicians. I trust voters to make this reform happen. Current policy has failed.”

“We have an opportunity to free police resources to fight violent crime, weaken drug cartels, create new jobs and generate revenue to fund what matters most; our teachers, emergency services and cops on our streets!,” Clare wrote in an e-mail, noting Oakland is in the process of laying off 80 police officers and will lose more through attrition.

A new CBS 5 KPIX-TV/Survey USA poll released Monday found 50 percent of the likely voters it surveyed favored Proposition 19 while 40 percent oppose it and 11 percent remain uncertain (the numbers were rounded off); the poll of 614 likely California voters was conducted July 8 through July 11 and has a four-percentage-point margin of error.

But other recent polls, including Field and the Public Policy Institute of California, have shown less robust support for the measure, and many pundits believes it faces an uphill battle.

The California Democratic Party Executive Board will hold its summer meeting this weekend in San Jose, and is scheduled to address November proposition endorsements during a general session from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday; it’ll be interesting to see what the party does on this measure.

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.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    The BIG queation is where Barbara Boxer stands on this issue, in the 2nd Summer Of Love!!!

  • Art Mijares

    Alright Mrs. Finstein!!! Reason does exist, rather then lack of common sense. Thank you for your fearless response and concern, especially for the next generation (our youth).