Oakland City Attorney Gives Thumbs Up to Pot

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010  |  Updated 5:13 PM PDT
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Grow Your Own Medicine

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You might not expect cops to get behind pot-legalizing Prop 19 -- but that's just what Oakland City Attorney John Russo has done.

Russo joins several other members of the law enforcement community who have given a thumbs-up to growing and possessing small amounts of marijuana. Members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) believe that banning marijuana causes more harm than good.

Among their members: Joe McNamara, San Jose's former police chief, who advocates for legalization as a means to disrupt violent gangs.Then there's Norm Stamper, a former San Diego police officer who later became Seattle's chief of police. And Judge James Gray, a former Superior Court judge who advocates legalization so that age limits can be enforced.

Meanwhile, the "No on Prop 19" campaign said that the measure would cause "chaos" by allowing people to smoke pot in the privacy of their own homes without fear of reprisal. Oh, yes, that does sound chaotic.

Russo's reasoning actually stems from his work in law enforcement. He pointed out that drug cartels derive massive profits from illegal marijuana sales. Allowing more people to grow their own legal plants would choke off those violent groups' cash flow.

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