Oregon, Washington and Colorado voters will be voting on a states’ right issue in November.
Initiative 502 in Washington State continues to rack up endorsements. Most elected leaders in Seattle support the measure, including the current sheriff and his opponent in the upcoming election. Former U.S. Attorney John McKay is one of its sponsors. But the most stunning endorsement came from the Children’s Alliance, an umbrella organization for 100 child welfare groups. Jon Gould, Deputy Director of the Children’s Alliance, says marijuana laws are being enforced unevenly and that hurts minorities and the poor.
Washington D.C. has very little to say about the ballot, which would allow up to one ounce of marijuana possession. Many former prosecutors, law enforcement officers and judges have announced their support of Colorado Initiative 64.
Retired Denver police officer Lt. Tony Ryan, now an outspoken member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) says “Law enforcement officers know better than anyone that keeping marijuana illegal and unregulated means the gangs and cartels that control the illegal trade win, and the rest of us lose.”
In an interview with The Colorado Independent last year, Ryan said current drug laws put police officers at risk on a daily basis, as they never know when they will cross paths with someone involved in the illegal drug trade. Virtually every law enforcement agency in the country gets federal grants for drug enforcement work and departments have become “addicted” to the money and don’t want to lose it.
Neill Franklin, a former narcotics officer in Baltimore and now the executive director of LEAP, agreed with Ryan that current drug laws put police in danger and prohibition has “driven a wedge” between police and the communities they serve, where police are not respected or trusted. In many neighborhoods people are afraid to report more serious crimes for fear that they will come under investigation for drug crimes.
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