Who’s Getting Rich Off Prohibition? Just Look Who Opposes Prop. 5
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.
October 30, 2008