Coalition in Support of Proposition 19, to Legalize Cannabis in California, Grows as Election Nears.

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, an additional two groups and nine individuals have joined eight very diverse groups and political parties who, last week, signed on to a coalition strongly in support of Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize, tax and regulate cannabis throughout California.

Marijuana Policy Project (MPP); National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML); Eric Garris, founder and director of AntiWar.com; Honorable Judge Jim Gray; Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and honorary chairman of OurAmericaInitiative.com; Wayne Allen Root, 2008 Libertarian vice presidential nominee; U.S. Senate candidates for Connecticut: John Mertens of the Connecticut for Lieberman Party, and Warren Mosler, independent; Illinois gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney of the Green Party; U.S. Senate candidates for Illinois: LeAlan Jones of the Green Party and Mike Labno of the Libertarian Party, said they agree with the coalition that, the passage of Proposition 19 is a vital step towards ending the War on Drugs, bringing peace and safety back to our neighborhoods, and producing an extra revenue source for struggling businesses in California.

The new signatories join the Green Party of California, Peace and Freedom Party of California, Republican Liberty Caucus of California (RLCCA), Progressive Libertarian Caucus, National Black Police Association, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), The Free and Equal Elections Foundation and Hempire Media, all of whom joined the coalition last week.

Further, a number of signatories agreed:

“The Republican and Democratic Parties have sided against the people by failing to endorse Proposition 19. This historic proposition, if passed, would allow possession of up to an ounce of cannabis for adults 21 and over in California, for personal consumption, and in turn, would allow for the taxing and controlling of cannabis, similar to alcohol and tobacco, thus allowing all Californians and small businesses across this state the right to realize the potential of Cannabis, California’s number one cash crop.

“We ask that voters join us, as well as police officers, cancer patients, teachers, doctors, judges, nurses, journalists, students and everyone else across California to tell our government that we demand an end to prohibition of cannabis because it simply doesn’t work. Our prisons are bursting at the seams with cannabis arrests, which now comprise more than 50% of all drug arrests nationwide.

“We strongly urge California voters to legalize this herb in California by voting YES on Prop 19 this November. Together we can make our streets freer, smarter and safer.”

Mark Hinkle, Libertarian National Committee chair; Mike Feinstein, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States; C.T. Weber, state chairperson of Peace and Freedom Party of California and candidate for lieutenant governor of California; Laura Wells, Green Party candidate for governor of California; Carlos Alvarez, Peace and Freedom Party candidate for governor of California; Ann Menasche, Green Party candidate for California Secretary of State; Christina Tobin, Libertarian candidate for California Secretary of State and founder and chair of The Free and Equal Elections Foundation; Lex Green, Libertarian candidate for governor of Illinois; Todd McCormick, founder of Hempire Media; and Mark Seidenberg, vice chairman of the American Independent Party State Central Committee.

“The policy of Marijuana Prohibition has not only failed, it’s hopeless,” Judge Gray said. “As just an example, marijuana today is California’s largest cash crop – all untaxed, by the way – and it is more available for children than a six-pack of beer.  Proposition 19 certainly will work better than that.  In fact, things can only get better than they are today.”

“California has the potential to start the domino effect in this country that will lead to bringing about rational drug policy nationwide.  Proposition 19 can be the beginning. With just a little bit of education and awareness I see people moving on this issue everyday,” Johnson said. “Let’s make it happen. Tax it, regulate it and control it. Let’s stop this needless war that is making criminals out of otherwise tax paying, law-abiding citizens.”

“The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) supports Free & Equal Elections’ efforts … to address the American hemisphere’s elephant in the room: the failure of cannabis and drug prohibition and the destabilizing effects on the hemisphere’s economies and democracies,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director, NORML. “Clearly elected policy makers do not possess the will or want, to address the many problems created by government abdication of regulating and taxing adult commerce like cannabis, and they often look to the general public and the stakeholder community to create alternatives to failed and tax-draining public policies that do not achieve even the government’s minimum stated goals.”

“It is great to be part of this diverse coalition in support of ending marijuana prohibition in this country. The people are ahead of our nation’s ruling class on this issue, and that is reflected in the support from these groups, which are dedicated to ideas, not beholden to special interests. We look forward to working with this coalition in the future as we bypass elected officials and enact laws to tax and regulate marijuana though the ballot initiative process,” said Steve Fox, Director of Government Relations, Marijuana Policy Project.

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