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News Link • Drug War

LA County Sheriff: The Law Is What I Say It Is

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It sounds like a bad line from an old episode of the Dukes of Hazzard, but the Sheriff in this case isn’t Roscoe and Boss Hog isn’t the one spewing anti-American bile.  Instead, it’s Sheriff Lee Baca of Los Angeles County.

“Proposition 19 is not going to pass, even if it passes,” Baca said at a news conference today.  The Sheriff says he and his deputies will continue enforcing current marijuana law, even if Proposition 19 changes it.

He claims to have the authority to do this based on his judgment that the proposition is unconstitutional.  An interesting take, since his oath of office required him to “uphold and defend it” not “decide what it says.”

Of course, all of this is for our own good, according to Baca.  He’s afraid of the “far-reaching repercussions” of marijuana’s legalization, such as increased traffic accidents (despite studies showing marijuana does not negatively affect driving) and workplace disputes over safe workplaces (see this argument spelled out and discussed here).

Baca claims that his department targets the “dealers,” not the “users.”  My question to the sheriff is where the users are supposed to get their (in this hypothetical post-Prop 19 world, perfectly legal) marijuana from if there are no dealers.  Obviously the LA County Sheriff’s department also considers growers to be dealers and raids them as well.


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