| The polls are pretty clear: California Democrats back Prop 19. Last week's Field Poll showed that registered Democrats support it 53-38, and other recent polls have found similar numbers.
California Democrats understand that Prop 19, which would legalize and tax cannabis within a sensible regulatory structure similar to how alcohol is treated, is an initiative worth supporting this November. The question is, will their party agree?
This weekend the California Democratic Party's Executive Board, of which I'm a member, will meet in San Jose for their regular July meeting. One of the main items on the agenda will be to decide endorsements for the November ballot, including Prop 19. Will the CDP endorse Prop 19, as have groups like the California NAACP? Or will they follow Dianne Feinstein and oppose it?
The Courage Campaign isn't going to wait to find out. We're asking Californians to sign our petition to the CDP E-Board asking them to endorse Prop 19. I'll be bringing these signatures with me to San Jose this weekend.
That's right, yesterday Dianne Feinstein came out against Prop 19. Here's her statement as sent via email:
Proposition 19 is simply a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe," Senator Feinstein said, "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 only jumbled nightmare here is Feinstein's reasoning. Prop 19 does not undermine workplace rules about drug use. Nor will it make our highways unsafe. As to our communities, most observers agree that Prop 19 will likely eliminate the violent drug cartels, at least in the cannabis trade, just as the end of Prohibition in 1933 ended the violent alcohol trade.
The RAND study is designed to scare people a la "reefer madness" that Prop 19 would lead to an increase in consumption, despite the fact that cannabis use in California is already widespread. Prop 19 merely brings that out into the open for adults over age 21, and enables it to be regulated and taxed instead of staying on a violent black market.
Further, it would help provide badly needed reforms to our sentencing laws, reducing prison costs, and would enable local governments to derive revenue from and license (thereby regulating) the sale of cannabis in their communities.
It's a sensible proposal that deserves our support. Unfortunately, some elected Democrats like Dianne Feinstein oppose it. But we have reason to believe Democratic rank and file won't go along with her opposition.
Last month, the Washington Democratic Party took up the question of endorsing their state's own cannabis legalization initiative, I-1068. Their E-Board recommended against I-1068, but the rank and file overturned that and voted overwhelmingly to endorse I-1068.
I'm confident the CDP E-Board will make the right decision this weekend - especially if we can get a lot of signatures in support. Click here to add your name and help ensure the CDP endorses Prop 19!