California’s senior senator Dianne Feinstein has joined Governor Jerry Brown in voicing her disapproval of marijuana legalization.
“The risk of people using marijuana and driving is very substantial,” Feinstein told the Associated Press.
Feinstein also says her experience on California’s parole board confirmed her belief in the “gateway theory” although it has widely been disproven.
“As drug and marijuana prohibition lose their popular support, only crony capitalists like Senator Feinstein continue to champion these most un-American of policies at the behest of companies like General Dynamics and BAE Systems who garner immense profits from what has become a 40-year exercise in militarizing every aspect of law enforcement and government policies,” says Eapen Thampy, Executive Director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform.
Using federal civil asset forfeiture laws, law enforcement in California have exploited the openness of the cannabis industry for financial gain. California law enforcement averages $33 million a year in asset forfeiture revenues, a number that has risen dramatically since dispensaries began popping up in the state.
Feinstein has served in the U.S. Senate since 1992. Prior to serving as senator, Feinstein assumed the role of mayor of San Francisco after her predecessor, George Moscone, was shot and killed in city hall alongside Harvey Milk. San Francisco has been pro-marijuana long before the rest of the state, and any vocal opposition to cannabis legislation passing within its city limits was not voiced at that time.
Feinstein would later come out in full opposition to legalization, stepping up to chair the No on 19 campaign in 2010. Proposition 19 was a full-legalization initiative that was narrowly defeated, largely due to opposition from within the state’s well-established cannabis industry and movement.
“Proposition 19 is a dangerous experiment based on false arguments and fake promises,” Feinstein said in 2010.
NORML.org estimates California produces $8.2 billion in cannabis annually, and that information is considered dated. Because the state pioneered the medical cannabis dispensary system, its industry players are far from new — many have been operating for nearly 20 years now. It’s a stretch to say much would change in the state if the law caught up with industry.
As to the concern for Californians driving under the influence, they likely already are. Californians are also driving while drunk, on cocaine, on legal pharmaceutical drugs, while doing their makeup, texting their friends, speeding, racing, eating, smoking cigarettes, watching TV or other general bad behavior. More than 2,700 people die a year on California roads, the best prevention is awareness, education and reporting suspicious driving to the California Highway Patrol.