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

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 thoughts

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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?

  4. 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!!!!

  5. 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.

  6. Yeah…if they say otherwise there would be no mo campaign money..duh..save your seeds, hide your weed

  7. Fear is used against our soceity, fear of change, fear of truth, fear to be at one’s own liberty. Our government has been wayward for some time. They had declared that they know more of what is right them any citizens. Upon entering their knowledge of the US Constitution raises upon the population who elected them. Our government is full of greed and criminals who do the popoulation of citizens harm and injustice. I say vote and follow the peaceful approach in hopes that will keep those in government from getting killed by an angry mob of citizens who have grown tired of the bullshit. Let keep to the peaceful path for history tells us all to well that when wars break out it is the women and children that suffer the most. It is important that we attack with our minds and not with force. We must continue to press this vote in CA, and in every other state there after. We must take the jury box away from the government. Refuse to convict anyone dragged unjustly before the court. Again Jury Nullification is a power in the hands of the people. Everyone of the next 900,000 people arrested in this country need to demand a Jury of Peers. The cost alone will destory the Court system. We must show our wayward government who is boss in our country and in the jury box we rule, we are the KING. Put that law on trial and practice your power of Jury Nullification.
    When the government becomes wayward, the people must become lawlessness towards the Courts and the Government.

  8. If the republic operated as it should, with the whole point of a republic being to defend the rights of the minority (cannabis users) from the majority (those that generally accept cannabis prohibition) we wouldn’t have this problem.

    Ironically, it is going to take democracy, the people voting, to do what should have already been done by the republic to protect the people… from democracy.


  9. There is no good reason for any California voter to be forced to choose between the Democratic candidate, Kamala Harris, or the Republican candidate, Steve Cooley, for the CA Attorney General position. Neither “mainstream” political party has been willing to publicly support Prop 19, whether for reasons of personal moral stance or political cowardice.

    Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party share many party platform planks in common, and neither party has the best interests of we the people at heart. Rather, both parties have been corrupted for many years by the Crony Corporatists who actually run this country, for now.

    There is a third way — a vote for the CA Green Party candidate for CA Attorney General, Peter Allen. Not only does Peter Allen personally support Prop 19, so does the CA Green Party AND the USA Green Party. He should appear on the November 2nd ballot state-wide, but if he doesn’t, you could certainly take the time to write his name in — 2 minutes of extra time in the voting booth versus 4 years of regret. What a choice.

  10. Can the Governor overrule the vote on prop 19? The voters in one of our northern stated voted for and won to have Medical MJ i think it was and the Governor overruled it. Can this happen in California?

    [Paul Armentano responds: No.]

  11. People gotta take a side and join a party. I guarantee there were Primary candidates who should have been voted for as the chief nominees. People have to be involved in politics always. Especially at the beginning of a campaign season

  12. The “will of the people” should never supercede the will of a peaceful individual. Majority rule can be tyrannical and it is what brought the prohibition laws in the first place. If people had practiced the non aggression principle we wouldn’t be worried about overturning prohibition, it never would have occurred.

    More government by “majority rule” will only allow other kinds of prohibition to appear if marijuana prohibition is overturned. The solution is not to allow government to intervene in the lives of peaceful people AT ALL unless it is a consensual interaction. Permitting forced intervention in people’s lives of any kind under the seal of “majority rule” will only result in future laws that will ruin lives.

  13. It does not matter what their opinionare on prop 19. If they do not do their duty as sworn officers of the state get them on dereliction of duty by putting the people at risk.In other words fire them they work for you not you for them!!!!We here in Indy support Cali on this issue show us the way

  14. I perceive Steve Cooley to be the most hostile to Prop. 19, even though Harris is not much better. Therefore I am voting for Harris.

    I wish we could get word around to support a Libertarian or other party candidate. If everybody who is voting for 19 would also vote for them, they could win. But getting everybody to do that is another story…

    [Paul Armentano responds: Cooley has also threatened to use the force of state law to close down ALL of the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries — an extremist position that his opponent (Harris) does not hold.]

  15. This is just one ofr the reasons I am a Libertarian. The Libertarian Party belives that what you ingest is your own business, not the governments, as long as you harm no one else in doing so. The legalization of drugs is one of the planks in the Libertarian Party Platform. You can read that platform here http://www.lp.org/platform

  16. The most destructive, dangerous creature to ever exist on this planet is someone who thinks they know what’s better for you than you do. If both Republicans and Democrats are opposed to large National deficits, why do we have them? Haven’t Democrats and Republicans been in charge for a while now? Both Democrats and Republicans have this country locked in a two-party death spiral. If you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, you’re going to keep on getting what you’ve been getting. It is insane to think there can ever be a different outcome from continuing to vote for Democrats or Republicans. Picking the lesser of two evils is not a choice, it is a death sentence. If the citizens of this country do not wake up soon, they deserve what is happening to them. I suggest we try the government we have but largely ignore: the Constitution of the United States of America. Vote Libertarian, Green, write yourself in, or anything else, but I’ll never again vote for a Republican or a Democrat.

  17. This just may sway a lot of voters that are on the fence to vote yes on prop 19. I know it would me. We the people are told “I don’t care if you like the law or not you must obey it or we will punish you”. They have been telling us that for 73 years, now the shoe will be on the other foot. Yes on 19. Liberate the people.

  18. This doesn’t surprise me in the least. In fact I’ve been anticipating it. There are always people out there in the government trying to play the proverbial chess board. We get backed into corners where it’s “Heads they win, Tails we lose.” Many times there are agendas on the board far before us regulars see it on the horizon. There are those who have an agenda for cannabis legalization and those who wish to further sublimate it. Both have something to gain and legalization will only take place when there is more money to be made by a particular, *powerful* vested interest. Sure Cali might thrive economically, but it still doesn’t provide enough of an incentive to those who hold the power. Likely, it never will. I suggest we start playing the actual political game instead of approaching it like “citizens”. Present the government with multiple choices which lead to one end; Cannabis legalization. Strategy is not about taking options away, or hoping one avenue of opportunity prevails, it’s about leading all options to the desired outcome.

  19. A poll conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle shows that San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris trails medical cannabis opponent and LA District Attorney Steve Cooley by only four points in the race for California Attorney General – less than the poll’s margin of error! The choice for patients and providers is clear. Kamala Harris has always supported medical cannabis, while Steve Cooley wants to roll back safe access.

  20. Not Cool on MARRIAGE EQUALITY… Cooley has pledged to fight against the effort to overturn Proposition 8, which denies equal rights to gay and lesbian couples. We need an Attorney General who will defend the rights of every Californian.

    Not Cool on MEDICAL MARIJUANA… Cooley will criminalize the sale of medical marijuana and aggressively raid legal dispensaries around the state. The Attorney General needs to support the will of the voters, defend legal patients, and promote sensible regulation.

    Not Cool on WOMEN’S ISSUES… Cooley has a spotty record on women’s rights, including issues with discrimination in his own office. We can’t afford to have an Attorney General who doesn’t take equal rights seriously.

  21. It is questionable whether pot-phobic prohib hypocrites have ever reached the age of reason. But – even more questionable than that is why we even listen [hear] to them at all – why we give them any credence whatsoever – and – why we respond to their phobia. “Their hysteria is theirs.” Where before, we pushed on their walls – they now push on our walls. We have taken the positive position – rightfully so! What goes around – comes around – and now – it’s their turn to feel like lepers. They can dish it out – let’s see if they can take it.

  22. Jesus said to treat other people the way we want to be treated. I know I wouldn’t want my kid (or grandkid) to go to jail over a little marijuana.

    Google your state name and the phrase, voter registration. You can do it right now.

    Register. Vote. Change the world.

  23. And I wouldn’t want my aging parents to get their house confiscated and stolen by the police if they grew a couple of plants for their aches and pains.

    It can still happen in California under the new “decriminalization” rule.

    Register. Vote. Change the world.

  24. We could probably get better AG’s and governors except it is hard to improve our system when all we get to vote for is the one that sucks the least. And that goes right on to the top.

  25. Marijuana will NEVER be LEGAL! Even if prop.19 is passed, Federal Government goons will simply take it upon themselves to say to the population “TOO BAD!!!” Yes, it’s sad, but it’s going to happen.

    [Editor’s note: There is no good reason to be a Doubting Thomas here…did the feds stop medical cannabis after it was legalized at the state level 14 times?]

  26. dont stop the fight you are doing a great job and all of the states are watching and hoping for you to win on nov 2

  27. @#34 the feds dont have enough manpower to enforce prohibition in rhode island let alone california… welcome back to reality

  28. you guys should post this video with Donald Abrams, its a well put-together piece with him explaining some of the history on mmj. I know you guys are focused on regulation and prop 19 and all, but we can’t forget that even though we do want regulation and taxation for all, mmj still has very viable medicinal properties.

  29. There is a new party that declares constitutionality and no affiliation with any other party, Two term limit mandatory. It is called GOOOH or pronounced GO acronym for “Get Out Of Our House” And that is exactly what it is to do Throw out everyone that was an incumbent this year and replace them with a candidate sworn to the people to stand for constitutionality. http://goooh.com/ Is the web site, pretty simple, may have to cut and paste it. Check it out, some here were proposing exactly what already is we just all need to know about it.

  30. Given what those candidates intend to do about the issue (ie:nothing), is there anything you can do about it?

  31. 34 Wantin4change

    You’re right! The feds have already stated that they don’t care what California says. But – California has said they don’t care what the feds say, and stay out of California. Ahhh! we have a donnybrook brewing. What it boils down to is the same thing it has been for some time now – “the rights of a sovereign state.” It will be a fight over sovereinty. The fact of the matter is that their are fifty (50) soverign states that make up the United States of America. If you were in Las Vegas that would put the odds 100% against you. So! unless your crystal ball has had a tune up – play with the house odds – you can’t win with scared money.

  32. i hope this doesnt change the mind of voters in california i think the prohibitionists are going to publish scare tactics now to dissuade the voters of cali please dont be swayed pass prop 19 the rest of america is with u thanks norml for every thing i am sure that the feds really dislike u right now but please keep up the fight

  33. YES go California! We are waiting for your abundant success to prove there is no down side to LEGALIZATION!

    The same people who are scared of legalization are still scared of the aliens…closed minded judgemental greedy and based in FEAR.

    Viva la revolucion! FEARLESS FREEDOM!

  34. It all stands to reason that as long as there is prohibition there is a war on drugs.The war on drugs allow all levels of law enforcement to legally destroy your life.All the money, property, and drugs (that they use to arrest more people in stings and planting of bogus evidence)are their source of funding and more reason for more law enforcement officers.
    As soon as marijuana is legal ,then there is less of a reason to employ as many officers to fight the war.
    Of course the amount of people clogging the courts will go down meaning less money for the courts,that also means less people being jailed ,less money for the prisons (america is the prison capital of the world).and legalization will not produce the same amount of money to off set these losses.
    GREED GREED GREED EVERYONE WANTS TO CONTROL GODS LITTLE WEED.This is all about the money not about the well being of the people.ALL POLITICIANS LIE,EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THEIR MOUTH IS ALL LIES.This is the way the people of the world have been controlled. By bogus and misleading propaganda.And most of the people beleive everything they read.This just shows how weak the human mind really is.VOTE ALL PROHIBITIONIST OUT OF OFFICE WRITE IN NONE OF THE ABOVE.IT IS TIME FOR THE PEOPLE TO TAKE BACK THIS COUNTRY FROM THE OPPRESSERS

  35. Man renting home in Caliente arrested on marijuana cultivation charges Details:On Friday, at approximately 1300 hours, deputies from the Kern Valley Substation responded to 39672 Baker St. in Caliente regarding a subject living on the property that was not supposed to be there. The landowner, who had not been to the property for approximately two years, also reported a large amount of marijuana being grown inside the residence on the property. Deputies responded to the residence and located a marijuana grow within the garage of the residence, however, no subjects were located on the property at that time. At approximately 2110 hours, deputies were notified the subject had returned to the property and were provided a description of the subject and the vehicle the subject was driving. Deputies responded and located the subject in the 11200 block of Caliente Bodfish Rd. The subject was detained for further investigation and subsequently arrested for possession of a loaded .22 caliber rifle. The initial investigation revealed the subject was renting the property from a relative of the landowner who also claimed ownership of the property. Deputies obtained a search warrant for the residence located at 39672 Baker St. and the subject’s vehicle. Due to the elaborate marijuana grow operation inside the garage of the residence members from the Southern California Tri-County H.I.D.T.A. Unit responded to assist with the investigation. Approximately 100 live marijuana plants were located within the garage of the residence in various stages of growth. Two live marijuana plants were located in the subject’s vehicle. Processed marijuana was also located within the residence. John Gaither, 33 years old, was arrested and booked into the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Central Receiving Facility for cultivation of marijuana, transportation of marijuana, sales of marijuana help John get free!!!!!

  36. If 19 passes and Holder decides to keep his promise against legal marijuana it seems to me he would have to put California under House Arrest and do pee tests on our sewers. Since our medical marijuana laws are only protected from Holders Army because Obama asked him to stay away from legitimate medical use, can’t that change if Holder starts attacking California for legal pot? It seems to me he will have to go after medical and if he goes after medical in California wouldn’t he be obliged to go after every states medical marijuana as not to be unfair? Somethings got to give, the feds can’t fight all of California.

  37. The feds will do what the feds want to do – just like they’ve done everything else in D.C. they’ve wanted to do. The fact of the matter is “They simply don’t listen to the people.” Frankly – they need an incentive from we the people to stay the fuck out our sovereign business – like our size 12 up their size 1, and to hell with political correctness.

  38. Those “candidates” should reflect on a few things said by Thomas Jefferson:

    “Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now.”

    “The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.”

    “Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add “within the limits of the law,” because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”

    Politicians – especially politicians running for A.G. should – know the “legislative history” of our founding documents in order to correctly ascertain the actual “legislative intent.” Based upon the historical accounts of the legislative intent, the Founding Fathers would never have allowed the need for Prop 19 in the first place.

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