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Police and Judges Call for California to Legally Opt Out of War on Marijuana

Sam Sabzehzar 2011-10-17 0 comments

Judge James Gray, speaking at the Marijuana Reform: Next Steps Conference in Hollywood, California earlier this year. (Photo credit: Medical Marijuana 411)

In response to the Obama administration’s recent escalation of federal raids against California’s medical marijuana dispensaries, a group of retired police officers and judges will hold a press conference in Orange County this Tuesday.

The press conference will be at the Plaza of the Flags, behind the Santa Ana Courthouse at 10 am and will focus on telling the feds to back- off its marijuana threats and will feature retired superior court judge James Gray, LAPD Deputy Chief (ret.) Stephen Downing, and former Lieutenant and LEAP speaker Diane Goldstein.

They will also use this conference to highlight an initiative that Congressman Dana Rohrabacher  (R-CA) has also endorsed, The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Initiative of 2012.

The law enforcers say that by passing the new voter initiative, California voters will have a strong argument that they can opt out of the Controlled Substances Act.

For James Gray, “For the federal government to interfere with state and local implementation of California’s medical marijuana law is tantamount to a government bailout for criminal gangs and violent drug cartels.”

“For some reason the federal government wants to force legal medical marijuana patients toward a dangerous criminal market and away from an above-ground industry that pays over $100 million per year in state taxes and provides jobs for thousands of our citizens. California voters can tell the feds to back off and let Californians implement our own laws by voting to regulate marijuana like wine next November.”

The initiative, the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012, which is endorsed by the Libertarian Party and medical marijuana business training professionals, 420 College, would repeal failed marijuana laws for adults aged 21 and older, strictly regulate the sale of marijuana similar to the wine industry and authorize a vibrant new economy of eco-friendly hemp agriculture and products.

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

The initiative would not change laws regarding medical marijuana, impairment in the workplace, driving while impaired or use by persons under 21 years old.

Despite the escalation in federal threats, initiative proponents are pointing to recent legal cases as well as comments by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as an indication that the federal courts are increasingly open to seeing states take more control in setting their own drug policies. Justice Scalia recently told a U.S. Senate committee that, “it was a great mistake to put routine drug offenses into the federal courts.”

Retired LAPD deputy chief of police Stephen Downing says, “Now more than ever, it is important for Californians to stand up and tell the federal government that enough is enough when it comes to their interference with our marijuana policies. Next November, California voters have the opportunity to hurt the cartels in their pockets in a way that no level of prohibition enforcement and dedicated skill on the part of my police colleagues ever can.”

Representatives from various local and national organizations will also be on hand, including OC NORML, The Human Solution, and OC Americans for Safe Access.

More information about the initiative is online

LAPD Deputy Chief (ret.) Stephen Downing, tells his story about how be used to fight in Nixon's War on Drugs, and now seeks to see an end to prohibition.