Ethan A. Huff
The federal government’s illegal war on drugs is big business for lobbyists who profit on making sure you never have access to marijuana, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes. And one such lobbyist, John Lovell, reportedly raked in nearly $400,000 from the California Police Chiefs Association(CPCA) for helping to defeat California’s Proposition 19, a 2010 ballot measure that would have legalized marijuana in the Golden State and generated billions of dollars in new state tax revenues.
The Republic Report‘s Lee Fang writes that, based on a comprehensive review of the lobbying contracts anti-marijuana groups had during the Prop. 19 battle, Lovell’s name showed up as a major recipient of lobbying funds for his help in making sure the proposal never got passed. And with his services, CPCA was able to continue receiving millions of dollars in federal funding for drug war programs that are a significant source of police force revenue.
After the Obama Administration enacted its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Lovell reportedly got busy sending notices to police agencies alerting them about “important opportunities” to generate more federal grants. These opportunities included $2.2 million in funding for implementing a “Marijuana Suppression Program,” and more than $7.5 million for a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program.
However, if Prop. 19 had passed, this federal funding stream would have quickly dried up, which means police agencies across California would have had to seek out alternate sources of funding. The “Northern California Marijuana Eradication Team,” for instance, composed of police departments in Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama Counties, would not have received its $550,000 federal grant had Prop. 13 been passed.
So once again job security and greed have overtaken the will of the people. CPCA’s concerns about losing millions of dollars in federal funding for carrying out drug war initiatives are apparently more important than spurring the ailing California economy by legalizing a natural substance that is leaps and bounds safer than alcohol.
“[T]he passage of Prop. 19 would have given thousands of ‘hempreneurs’ behind the state’s $1.3 billion medical marijuana industry a stimulus stronger than a vaporized bowl of Hindu Kush,” writes Fang, artfully, concerning the marijuana legalization issue in California. “The likely side effects — a decline in budget-busting law-enforcement costs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state of California — don’t seem all that bad compared to what we got stuck with: A war on drugs that makes people like John Lovell even richer.”
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