Former Lieutenant and Current Mother, Diane Goldstein, Believes Marijuana Prohibition is Wrong

Diane Goldstein, LEAP Representative and mother, wife, and retired Redondo Beach Lieutenant sharing her thoughts. (Photo credit:

My name is Diane Goldstein. I’m a mom and former police officer, I wanted to take a minute to tell you about how I’ve come to realize that marijuana prohibition is an unwise fiscal policy and makes our communities less safe – and why the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform’s efforts to end marijuana prohibition in California are so important.

I started off as a patrol officer for the Redondo Beach Police Department in 1983 and worked my way up the ranks to become the first female lieutenant before retiring in 2004.

I managed a variety of tactical units including a gang and a narcotics unit.

Over those 20 years my colleagues and I arrested a significant number of people for marijuana use and possession.

But as I came to realize more and more, this didn’t help anyone: In fact this imposed a terrible cost both on our limited fiscal resources and in waging a war that we cannot win, not on an enemy combatant, but on our neighbors, our families and our friends.

It didn’t help the folks we arrested when we gave them a criminal record and introduced them to more dangerous criminals in the justice system.

It didn’t help our neighborhoods, because they still had plenty of access to marijuana anyway.

It didn’t help the courts, that had to waste their valuable time, money, and energy prosecuting victimless crimes.

Everything from my professional experience convinced me that this war on marijuana was wrong.

Over the years, my experiences, both personal and professional, have led me to an important conclusion: we need to stop incarcerating cannabis users and shift our priorities to education and rehabilitation that has proven to be more cost-effective then enforcement.

That’s why I’m proud to be a part of the movement to end marijuana prohibition by being a part of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform.

Our goal is to move the locus of authority from criminal justice to public health and education.

Together, we can move to a smarter strategy in California in 2012. I hope you’ll join me.


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