Los Angeles Times: “California’s Next Attorney General Can’t Punt on Marijuana”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 13, 2010

    Republican candidate Steven Cooley and Democratic candidate Kamala Harris are campaigning to become California’s next attorney general. In that position, he or she will be sworn to uphold the laws of the state of California. Yet neither one of them will commit to upholding and defending California’s Prop. 19, and that — as I write in today’s Los Angeles Times online — is unacceptable.

    California’s next attorney general can’t punt on marijuana
    via The Los Angeles Times

    [Excerpt: Read the full text and comment on it here.]

    Regardless of which candidate wins the race for California attorney general, voters expect that San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris or Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley will respect the outcome of the election gracefully.

    But they appear reluctant to extend that respect to Proposition 19, which would legalize the private, adult use of limited amounts of marijuana statewide and allow local governments to regulate commercial production and retail distribution. At their debate last week at UC Davis, neither Harris nor Cooley would state whether they would, as attorney general, enforce and defend Proposition 19.

    … Given that the attorney general is sworn to uphold all of the laws of the state, not just the ones he or she supports, the candidates’ responses were disconcerting. In both cases it appears that their personal biases against marijuana legalization could compromise their ability to objectively carry out their duties as attorney general.

    Further, both candidates’ statements exhibit extreme arrogance. On the one hand, both Harris and Cooley believe that voters should be empowered to choose the state’s top law enforcement officer; but when it comes to amending the state’s marijuana laws, Harris isn’t sure that voters have the final word, and Cooley disregards them outright. Both candidates ought to know better; after all, voters pay for enforcing these criminal policies with their tax dollars.

    If a government’s legitimate use of state power is based on the consent of the governed, then at what point does marijuana prohibition — in particular the federal enforcement of prohibition — become illegitimate public policy? Ready or not, California’s next attorney general needs to be able to answer that question objectively and definitively.

    51 responses to “Los Angeles Times: “California’s Next Attorney General Can’t Punt on Marijuana””

    1. Anonymous says:

      i wouldn’t vote for either of them

    2. freedom says:

      Thats the problem with government to, their is an attitude of..”Were smarter than you.” They are over riding their legitemate use of power , They are ignoring us. This is a fear based culture. We are told we cant effect our fates. If we dont have hard proof of an outcome of and idea or policy, then we stay with status quo. Its time people start effecting their fates, for if you dont do it for your self, some one else WILL do it for you. Show those who would ignore where their “power” is based that they do have to do as we wish. It doesnt matter if these people are “smarter” than us. I do not choice to live in a world were government does its damnedest to make your life a living hell. Thats the the fate we must all change.

    3. Igor says:

      Let the People decide! What a spectacle it will be, if government officials sworn to uphold the law choose the route of tyranny.

    4. claygooding says:

      At what point do the politicians show the world that “for the people,by the people” has absolutely no meaning to them or apparently any of the drug warriors?

    5. Roy Niemann says:


    6. ck30 says:

      Meaning they are for it? i dont understand Cant Punt On it

    7. DragonTat2 says:

      Well then Cali needs a write-in candidate… and fast!!!

    8. JesterLaugh420 says:

      Well then we need to go in and change out all politicians who WILL have the people in mind, maybe refuse to pay taxes? so none of them get paid!!! (not sure how that will blow over) However we need people in congress that have “THE PEOPLE” in mind, not themselves. To Be Honest i could care less about what their view points are at all, it should be the people making laws and decisions! All they should have to do is carry out what the people want. GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!!!!

    9. Lou says:

      So let me get this straight, neither of the two candidates running for attorney general had any comment one of California’s, if not America’s, most high-profiled ballot measure…a law? A lawyer won’t comment on law? And they’re applying for a job that requires them to do just that. Doesn’t sound like much of a debate. Or a good pool of candidates.