A group of Californians, led by members of an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) are offering voters a unique opportunity.
For a one time charge of $1,500,000 we can save California from paying for the cost of 71,000 marijuana arrests, plus related costs of prosecution, courts and incarceration.
That works out to about $21 per arrest.
The deal gets better. If someone puts up the $1,500,000, costs of all arrests over the 71,000 will be eliminated forever. Also eliminated will be related prosecutions, court costs, and incarcerations.
At California’s $45,000 cost to incarcerate one person for one year, we can save related incarceration costs on the 71,000 arrests for the price of incarcerating 33 for one year.
But wait, included for the same $1,500,000 we can also disempower gangs, terrorists and drug cartels, reduce police corruption and violations of rights against search and seizure, reduce massive discrimination against minorities and the less affluent, and generate what the California Attorney General has stated as “potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in net additional tax revenues” to the state.
California and America has a window of opportunity on this deal. The window of opportunity is being offered by supporters of The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012 (“Like Wine”).
Like Wine is a state initiative sponsored by retired judges, police officers, doctors, medical marijuana patients and taxpayers who are determined to stop wasting tax dollars arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people for marijuana offenses.
It is supported by people who think marijuana prohibition makes us and our children less safe and it is backed by people who are horrified by the death and destruction in Mexico for which marijuana prohibition is a major cause.
Despite ever increasing marijuana arrests, prosecutions, incarcerations, seizures and eradications, prices and availability remain unchanged, and the result includes an incarceration rate that is five times higher than most every industrialized country in the world.
Recent figures provided by California NORML reported a near record level 16,585 felony and 54,849 misdemeanor arrests in 2010, plus 1401 inmates in state prison for marijuana felonies at December 31, 2010.
The $1,500,000 is the amount necessary to gather 505,000 good signatures by March 2012 to get on the November 2012 ballot. A recent poll in California reported that by a 62 to 35 percent margin, with 3 percent unsure, California supports Regulating Marijuana Like Wine.
For an investment of $1,500,000 we can end the wasteful, unjust and discriminatory marijuana prohibition laws in California, and lead the world in promoting safety, individual freedom and prosperity.
Steve Collett is the Treasurer of Regulate Marijuana Like Wine and is currently running for Congress as a Libertarian in California’s 33rd District.