California's Prop 19, aka the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, was defeated in 2010 by a margin of 53.5% to 46.5%. One of the lobbyists who helped defeat the bill is named John Lovell. In 2010, Lovell secured $386,350 from a wide array of police unions, including the California Police Chiefs Association. Lovell also represented some of the unions in an attempt to steer millions of federal dollars toward California's marijuana suppression programs.
Official summary:Follow below the Orange Squigglies of Red-Eyed Stupor for more ...
Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired.
Summary of estimated fiscal impact:
Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of marijuana products
Even though Lovell made a great deal of money, he had the temerity to tell Time Magazine that he was fighting the measure because of the ills that it threatened to society.
"The last thing we need is yet another mind-altering substance to be legalized," says John Lovell, a lobbyist for the California Peace Officers' Association, told Time Magazine.Despite Lovell's claims, he has built his firm on keeping marijuana illegal. Just after the 2009 Stimulus Bill passed, Lovell began an effort to get some of that money into drug war programs in California.
"We have enough problems with alcohol and abuse of pharmaceutical products. Do we really need to add yet another mind-altering substance to the array?"
According to documents Republic Report obtained from the Police Chiefs Association, Lovell helped local departments apply for drug war money from the Federal government. Here’s a copy of one letter sent to a police department in Lassen County, California:
Welcome to the Law Offices of John Lovell. During the twenty years our firm has been in existence over 99% of the bills we have lobbied for have been signed into law in the California State Legislature. The short and simple truth is, our effectiveness is unparalleled.
If you are serious about getting things done in the California Legislature you need John Lovell on your side.
In other marijuana-related reading ...
This article in Mother Jones "The New Dealers" details ordinary citizens pulling the Nancy Botwin and turning to the marijuana trade.
Also in Mother Jones, this page of Special Reports on the War on Drugs