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Back to Archives | Back to October 2010 Contents 

Legislative Alert

IACP Opposes California Marijuana Legalization Effort

By Meredith Ward, Legislative Representative, IACP

Click to view the digital edition.

n late August, IACP president Michael Carroll released a statement on the current movement to legalize marijuana in California. California was one of the first states to enact a medical marijuana law, and now the state has presented Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, which seeks to legalize marijuana. As written, this legislation centralizes on the idea that cannabis legalization will generate revenue for the deficit-burdened state as well as the idea that legalization would alleviate police drug responsibilities as marijuana enforcement would not be necessary. The proposed revenue created would be applied to neutralize health-care costs, and legalization would eliminate the apparent violence demonstrated daily by the drug trade with the added benefit of applying the remaining tax dollars to close budget gaps.

In President Carroll’s statement he writes,

the faults, flaws and fallacies of the proposed arguments are numerous. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol-related deaths claim 79,000 lives annually and tobacco-related deaths claim 443,000 lives annually. Combine this information with the fact that the United States has one of the most robust and persistent illegal drug trades in the world, the question arises: why would we want to allow another drug to legally infect our lives and communities? Unfortunately, the voices publicized and marketed by the media, purported to represent law enforcement, encourages the public to support marijuana legalization measures. However, it has been my experience that the views presented by the IACP membership contradict the media, and most chiefs of police stand in opposition to this legislation.

The IACP has a long history of opposing drug legalization legislation. This legislative concern was discussed at length at our recent executive committee meeting in Philadelphia. The consensus was that the public is not being fully apprised of the negative effects that will occur if marijuana is legalized or if the patchwork medical marijuana legislation efforts continue. I encourage police chiefs, state police heads, and sheriffs to speak out on the dangers of the movement toward legalization. Your voice can be critical in countering the “No Harm” message presented by the legalizers.

In his statement, President Carroll mentioned several resources for police chiefs on the issue. For the full statement, please visit

Two articles have been recently published by IACP members on the topic.

Chief Susan Manheimer, president of the California Police Chiefs Association and Chief of San Mateo Police Department, was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday, August 22, 2010, with an article entitled “Legalizing Marijuana Is Bad for California.” In it, she outlines the economic and social disadvantages to marijuana legalization, providing her standpoint as a citizen of California and as a local police leader.

One perspective on the national level is the article published in the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, August 25, 2010, entitled “Why California Should Just Say No to Prop.19.” A collaborative effort by five former directors and the current director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, including IACP Past President Lee P. Brown and IACP members Director Gil Kerlikowske and former Governor Bob Martinez, this article describes the reasons why this legislation is to be opposed by the law enforcement community and the American society at large.

Also, see page 22 in this issue of Police Chief magazine for Covina, California, Police Department Chief Kim Raney’s article, “Proposition 19: California’s Marijuana Legalization Debate.”

For more information, please visit the IACP’s website section on this important issue at

IACP Opposes ATF Modernization Legislation

The IACP recently announced its strong opposition to H.R. 2296, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Reform and Firearms Modernization Act. H.R. 2296 will severely limit the ability of the ATF to revoke the licenses of gun dealers who violate federal law.

The IACP believes this bill is reckless and irresponsible and will impede criminal investigations and diminish the ability of law enforcement to protect their communities from the crime and violence associated with the illegal use of firearms. H.R. 2296 would change federal regulations regarding the suspension and revocation of gun seller licenses by allowing the ATF to employ escalating penalties against gun dealers, short of revoking their licenses.

H.R. 2296 is currently being considered in numerous House committees including Judiciary and Ways and Means.

Legislative Briefing

The IACP will hold its 117th annual conference in Orlando, Florida, in October. The membership-wide Legislative Briefing will be held on Saturday, October 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Convention Center room 208A. During this briefing, members will be updated on pertinent legislation and resolutions and will have the opportunity to ask questions.

For more information, please contact Meredith Ward, Legislative Representative, at ■

Please cite as:

Meredith Ward, "IACP Opposes California Marijuana Legalization Effort," Chief's Counsel, The Police Chief 77 (October 2010): 8, (insert access date).



From The Police Chief, vol. 77, no. 10, October 2010. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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