Boxer: Legalizing pot could increase crime, car accidents
California Sen. Barbara Boxer has a message for marijuana law reform activists: Just say no.
The liberal senator’s position might come as a surprise, but it’s no surprise to those who follow California politics: Boxer is facing perhaps the toughest reelection race of her career in 2010. She’s neck-and-neck with former GOP Rep. Tom Campbell and slightly ahead of former Hewlett Packard chief Carly Fiorina.
In a statement issued late Friday to liberal blog Talking Points Memo, Boxer’s campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said the senator opposes a California ballot measure that seeks to legalize and tax marijuana.
“Senator Boxer does not support this initiative because she shares the concerns of police chiefs, sheriffs and other law enforcement officials that this measure could lead to an increase in crime, vehicle accidents and higher costs for local law enforcement agencies,” Kapolczynski said. “She supports current law in California, which allows for the use of medicinal marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.”
Boxer’s six-year Senate term comes to a close this year. She’ll stand for election Nov. 2 against a yet-to-be-determined Republican challenger.
The marijuana legalization measure will be on the Nov. 2 ballot as well.
If California voters approve, it will be the most comprehensive reform of marijuana laws ever undertaken in the United States. While some states, such as Oregon, have relatively lax penalties for possession, no state has attempted to regulate and tax the herb before.
The measure’s chances are good: A poll taken last April found that 56 percent of Californians want to see the herb legalized and taxed.
According to the L.A. Times, the measure would make it legal for anyone over 21 to own an ounce or less of pot, and to grow pot for personal use in a space no larger than 25 square feet. It would also give cities the right to license marijuana growers and sellers, and to collect taxes on the crop.