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Down to wire, Prop 19 gets support, opposition

October 29, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Proposition 19 is one of the most controversial measures on Tuesday's ballot: Should California legalize marijuana? A rap-music star and a seasoned politician are leaving little doubt where they stand on the issue.With just days to go before the election, people on both sides of Proposition 19 are coming out with some big-name supporters.

On the no side: Friday, a top lawmaker came out and called the reasons for legalizing marijuana unrealistic.

And on the yes side: A popular musician had no problem taking a toke to prove his point.

She's one of the most veteran lawmakers in the country and Friday Senator Dianne Feinstein came out publicly against Proposition 19.

"I'm a grandmother of six," said Feinstein. "I have a granddaughter who's 18. Do I want to send the signal to her that smoking pot is just fine? Because that was legalization does."

Feinstein says the belief that legalizing marijuana will decrease law enforcement costs, cartel violence and the state deficit is wrong. She says studies show that once legalized, use of the drug will increase by 50 to 100 percent.

"In fact the chemical concentration of the drug's psychoactive ingredient known as THC has more than doubled since 1983," said Feinstein.

"I'm quite disturbed when the Washington politicians are coming and telling Californians how to vote. I thought that their job was to represent the views of Californians in Washington, not to represent the views of Washington to Californians," said Hanna Dershowitz, criminal justice policy attorney.

Members of the Yes On 19 Campaign showed up at Friday's news conference ready to counter every point that was addressed.

"So why would we even consider legalizing an intoxicant that is going to rival alcohol as the number-one cause of traffic fatalities in our state?" asked Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa.

"They said the same thing when they implemented medical marijuana. And it didn't happen," said former LAPD Deputy Chief Stephen Downing.

But likely the most well-heard message for proponents Friday was a video posted on YouTube featuring rapper Snoop Dogg.

In a video posted by the League of Young Voters Education Fund, the musician, well known for his pot-smoking ways, put out an official endorsement.

"Prop. 19 -- you know where I stand on that: very high," says Snoop Dogg in the video.

And the public the will likely see more endorsements like that over the next few days.

The Drug Policy Alliance, which is running its own campaign in support of Proposition 19, just received a million dollars from billionaire investor George Soros. The money will be used to pay for several new ads targeting young voters on radio, TV and the Internet.


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