Who’s Getting Rich Off Prohibition? Just Look Who Opposes Prop. 5

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 30, 2008

    You can learn a lot about the merits of a proposal by taking a good, hard look at who’s lobbying against it.

    Take California’s Proposition 5, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, which would require the diversion of certain non-violent offenders to drug treatment and increase funding for state-sponsored rehabilitation programs. The measure seeks to expand upon the alternative sentencing programs initially enacted by Proposition 36, which is estimated to have saved taxpayers some $1.7 billion dollars and reduced the number of people incarcerated for simple drug possession by one-third. So who would oppose this proposal?

    If you guessed: the folks who make their living arresting non-violent drug offenders, you’d be right! According to the ‘No on 5′ website, the California State Sheriff’s Association, the California Narcotics Officers Association, the California Peace Officers Association, the Police Chiefs of California, and the California District Attorneys Association all oppose Prop. 5.

    However, even more disturbing is who’s bankrolling the ‘No on 5′ campaign. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, California’s powerful prison guards union has spent close to $2 million dollars to lobby against the passage of Prop. 5. After all, overcrowded prisons — In 2007, California declared a ‘state of emergency’ in the prison system because of the lack of bed space — and more prison construction (in lieu of building additional public high schools and state colleges) are a financial windfall for prison guards, even if they spell disaster for everyone else.

    In addition to expanding drug treatment in California, Prop. 5 would also reduce minor marijuana possession penalties from a misdemeanor (punishable by a $100 criminal fine with a criminal record) to a non-criminal infraction (punishable by a $100 civil fine with no criminal record). Now who would be against that?

    If you answered: the folks who make their living by possessing a monopoly on the sale of legal intoxicants, you’d be correct! According to the DPA, the California Beer and Beverage Distributors have donated $100,000 to the ‘No on 5′ campaign. Could it be that the alcohol lobby is fearful of the day when they will have to legally compete with a natural product that is remarkably safe, non-toxic, and won’t leave you with a hangover? Do we even have to ask?

    So now that you know who’s against Prop. 5, why not examine who is lobbying for it. That list would include the California Nurses Association, California Society of Addiction Medicine, the California League of Women Voters, and the California Academy of Family Physicians.

    In short, those who have dedicated their lives to helping others in need are backing Prop. 5, while those who have dedicated their careers to destroying people’s lives (or who promote a product that does) vehemently oppose it. You do the math.

    27 Responses to “Who’s Getting Rich Off Prohibition? Just Look Who Opposes Prop. 5”

    1. […] Flop Ahnuld is on whatever side the money is. Prison Industrial Complex Attacks Prop. 5 Who?s Getting Rich Off Prohibition? Just Look Who Opposes Prop. 5 October 30th, 2008 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director You […]

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    3. 4204ever says:

      It’s true yes on prop 5 would mean a drop in imprisonment for non violent marijuana so called offenders? And would mean a few less jobs posibley but if the prison and probation system really wanted to help people they would see a lesser work load would free up their time to focus on people with real issues I pray for the day marijuana is leagle for I have expirenced the theraputic use of marijuana and prohibition is a a major injustice in modern society but back to the topic unfortunatly it seems our government is based on greed and looking out for número UNO hopfuly one day man can once again learn the meaning of compassion

    4. Jolly says:

      Whats up with Feinstein? I thought that freak of nature was a liberal?

    5. tony is awsome says:

      fuck the police coming straight from the underground.
      but, seriously how long do we have to wait until we try some of these “drug war heros” for war crimes? how long till we say who care what you can and can’t tax? how long till we take our country back from these backward violent jesus freaks (no offense non-violent jesus freaks)? i love my country but i hate my government.

    6. CD1 says:

      The key word here (and all other issues regarding marijuana decriminalization) is “MONEY”. The anti-drug forces have powerful unions and political action commitees that provide a constant inflow of cash to promote their agenda. Unfortunately, the pro-legalization has only a limited amount of money to promote common sense policies.

      Ken Stroup has often said that marijuana users are the only demographic that actually want to be taxed. This is probably not that realistic, even if pot was legalized, because it is so easy to grow (Another reason why drug companies fight it so hard; they know they can not profit from it.)

      My solution: Everyone that uses marijuana should impose a tax on themselves. Each time you use or buy marijuana, set aside a dollar or two to donate to NORML or other organization for the reform of marijuana laws. Maybe donate some time or money to support a political candidate or action group that supports marijuana decriminalization.

      “Tip” O’Neil once said the money is the mother’s milk of politics. Perhaps if enough donations are made, the politicians will start seeing things our way.

      Just My Humble Opinion.

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