Celebs, former officials endorse Prop. 19

HOLLYWOOD These celebrities used personal stories, tax incentives and even race relations to explain why legalizing pot is the right thing to do. But law-enforcement officials say there will never be enough good reasons to legalize the drug.

Glover, singer Melissa Etheridge and comedian Hal Sparks brought their star power and a string of arguments Thursday to convince voters to legalize marijuana.

"A yes vote on /*Proposition 19*/ is the right thing to do. It's the just thing to do," said Glover.

"What Prop. 19 does is move cannabis, marijuana, in particular, into the same category as alcohol: regulated, smartly controlled personal-use issue," said Sparks.

Etheridge says it was medicinal marijuana that helped her endure the treatments of breast cancer in 2004. She says the drug continues to help her deal with stress.

"I think that as our country and as our state come to more different ways of thinking about health, that maybe it's not about, 'Oh, help me if I get sick,' but 'How can I help myself not to get sick.' And I think cannabis is part of that," said Etheridge.

Thursday's panel of Prop. 19 advocates included the former governor of New Mexico and a former Los Angeles Police Dept. deputy chief.

But across town, one law-enforcement official stood strong against the measure.

"If marijuana becomes legal in California, what about the other 49 states where it's illegal?" said Baca. "California would be the drug-dealing state."

Baca said his department will have no choice but to continue to enforce federal law if Prop. 19 passes. He said the provisions of the measure are so badly worded that it will promote more people to use and become addicted to the drug.

"You can grow enough marijuana in a 25-square-foot plot to supply 500 people with marijuana," said Baca.

But Glover said legalizing the drug will not only help bring down law-enforcement costs, but he also stands by the NAACP, which believes Prop. 19 will stop the disproportionate targeting of blacks and Latinos in marijuana-related crimes.

"I come from firsthand experience in my own family," said Glover. "Because I've had brothers that have been arrested for marijuana use."

"The truth is that marijuana kills brain cells and that is not a positive," said Baca.

With just 12 days left to go until Election Day, polls are mixed on how people will be voting on Proposition 19.

Our most recent SurveyUSA poll shows 47 percent of Californians will be voting yes on the measure, while 43 percent say they will be voting no.

But at least one other poll shows a majority of Californians right now against legalizing the drug.

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