California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein must really love the senseless, failed war on marijuana. Not only has she come out very publicly in opposition to Proposition 19, which would legalize, tax and regulate cannabis, but she also has taken the bold step of actually becoming the co-chair for the No on Prop 19 campaign. In the incredibly sad but fully expected tradition of those individuals actively fighting against marijuana legalization, instead of making a logical argument against legalization based on facts, Feinstein resorted to spouting pure rhetorical nonsense. From the No on Prop. 19 press release via Chris Good at the Atlantic:
“California will not see a single positive result if Proposition 19 passes,” said Senator Feinstein. “It is a poorly constructed initiative that will cause harm to Californians on our roadways, and in our schools, workplaces and communities. I look forward to working with Sheriff Baca to ensure we defeat Proposition 19 in November.”
Really Sen. Feinstein? Not a single positive result?
I would like to inform Sen. Feinstein that even the State of California would disagree with this nonsense. The California State Board of Equalization concluded that a similar marijuana legalization law would generate roughly $1.4 billion in direct revenue for the state, which also happens to be experiencing a serious budget shortfall.
I would also like to bring her attention to the Legislative Analyst’s Office official analysis of Prop 19. They conclude that in addition to generating hundreds of millions of dollars in much needed tax revenue, Prop. 19 would provide savings:
Reduction in State and Local Correctional Costs. The measure could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually. The county jail savings would be offset to the extent that jail beds no longer needed for marijuana offenders were used for other criminals who are now being released early because of a lack of jail space.
Reduction in Court and Law Enforcement Costs. The measure would result in a reduction in state and local costs for enforcement of marijuana-related offenses and the handling of related criminal cases in the court system. However, it is likely that the state and local governments would redirect their resources to other law enforcement and court activities.
Hundreds of millions in new tax revenue, millions saved on law enforcement, reduced prison overcrowding and prevention of dangerous criminals being released early all sure sound like “positive results” to me.
In addition to this official report, I believe there are strong evidence-based arguments for positive developments such as reducing the profits of the Mexican drug cartels/gangs (the FBI directly told the Senate Drug Caucus, which she co-chairs, that marijuana is the top revenue generator for the Mexican cartels), increasing the number of legal jobs, and improving police response times for serious crimes, etc…
Unlike the dishonest Diane Feinstein, I don’t think I need to resort to over-the-top rhetorical nonsense to make the case for my position. I have the intellectual decency to acknowledge there might potentially be some negatives from ending the prohibition against marijuana, but I’m prepared to argue that after weighing both positions, I believe that the net positives for our society would far outweigh the potential negatives. Similarly, the negative consequences of our country’s experiment with alcohol prohibition fair outweighed any of the positives that resulted from the 18th amendment.
I sure hope Diane Feinstein isn’t actually counting on getting support from young voters in any future elections. As a group, they strongly support Prop 19 and probably will not forget the extraordinary effort Feinstein is making to try to defeat it.