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LA Sheriff Pledges To Bust People for Pot

October 18, 2010

Posted by CN Staff on October 18, 2010 at 12:47:30 PT
By Steve Elliott 
Source: AlterNet 

cannabis California — Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said on Friday that the voters don’t matter. His deputies’ enforcement of marijuana laws would not change even if voters approved Proposition 19, which would legalize cannabis in California, on November 2, according to the Sheriff.     

“Proposition 19 is not going to pass, even if it passes,” Baca said in a news conference Friday at sheriff’s headquarters in Monterey Park, reports Robert Faturechi in The Los Angeles Times.

The department run by Sheriff Baca polices 75 percent of Los Angeles County. His staunch opposition to marijuana — even if it is legalized — was echoed Friday by an announcement from Attorney General Eric Holder that federal officials would continue to “vigorously enforce” cannabis laws in California, even if state voters pass the measure. Baca, who is sworn to uphold California state law, claimed Prop 19 was superseded by federal law and if passed, would be found unconstitutional.

Standing onstage with other prominent opponents of marijuana legalization, including Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, Sheriff Baca colorfully assailed marijuana use, users and sales.

Asked if he had ever experimented with pot, Baca left no room for doubt. “Hell, no,” he said.

Baca claimed legalizing cannabis would have far-reaching effects, including increasing the costs of drug rehabilitation (although most people in rehab for marijuana have been forced there by court order), causing traffic accidents (although marijuana is not a significant factor in auto wrecks), prompting labor disputes with employees getting high on the job (although Prop 19 gives employers the right “to address consumption that actually impairs job performance“), and providing a safe cover for drug cartels selling hard drugs.

California’s laws for pot smokers are already lenient enough, Baca claimed.

“If you a need for an ounce or less… then use your marijuana, but use it privately,” Baca said. “If you want to do a joint in your house, do it. Leave the rest of us alone.”

Baca claimed personal users smoking at home were already a non-priority for police agencies, including the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. His department does target pot dealers, he said.

The sheriff came out against Prop 19 early on, joining with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to try to prevent its passage.

Polls have shown California voters are almost evenly split on legalization.

Incredibly, Baca claimed on Friday that local law enforcement agencies — which, again, are sworn to uphold state laws — should abide by federal drug laws prohibiting marijuana, even if Prop 19 passes.

“[Prop] 19 has no effect on what we’re going to do,” Baca said.

Source: AlterNet (US)
Author: Steve Elliot
Published: October 17, 2010
Copyright: 2010 Independent Media Institute
Contact: letters@alternet.org
Website: http://www.alternet.org/
URL: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/148524/

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 19, 2010 8:57 am

    Well-He refuses to follow the state law. He is a county official in the state of California. If he violates state law that would make him a criminal right? Arrest the bas***d and send him to prison and the county attorney as well. Besides with all the attrition that will be occurring in the next few years from the 60% of prisoners there for marijuana they’ve got to do something with all those extra beds. Oh and while they are at it arrest and imprison any FBI, DEA, DHS or other agents who attempt to enforce federal law in a state where it is legal. I would include US attorneys and federal judges who continue to prosecute and sentence people for federal law that is contrary to state law.
    In any case, we wouldn’t want all those state corrections employees to loose their jobs over this would we.

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