ANTIOCH, CA -- The League of United Latin American Citizens of California has announced its endorsement of Proposition 19, the California initiative to control and tax marijuana on November 2nd's ballot.
"The current prohibition laws are not working for Latinos, nor for society as a whole," said Argentina Dávila-Luévano, California LULAC State Director. "Far too many of our brothers and sisters are getting caught in the cross-fire of gang wars here in California and the cartel wars south of our border. It's time to end prohibition, put violent, organized criminals out of business and bring marijuana under the control of the law."
LULAC board member Angel Luévano added, "In these tough economic times we must find ways to provide new jobs for our people and prosperity in our communities. Supporting Prop. 19 will put more Latinos to work and generate cash for our state's budget. It's our neighborhoods and our families that suffer the most from widespread and ever-increasing unemployment and budget cutbacks for schools and public safety programs."
Latino youth are disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition. They are arrested and jailed at a higher rate than white youth, even though marijuana use is roughly consistent across ethnic and racial lines.
The support from LULAC is just the latest in a string of recent high-profile endorsements. So far, Prop. 19 has received endorsements from groups like the National Black Police Association, the California NAACP, the California Council of Churches IMPACT, the Latino Voters League and SEIU of California, as well as many individual law enforcers, doctors, Latino community leaders, faith leaders, labor organizers, leaders, elected officials, political parties and more.
A Public Policy Institute of California poll released last week found that Prop. 19 is supported by 63 percent of Latino likely voters and by 52 percent of all likely voters.
Similar to current alcohol and tobacco laws, Prop. 19 will give state and local governments the ability to control and tax the sale of small amounts of cannabis to adults age 21 and older. As the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO), which provides non-partisan fiscal and policy advice, confirms, Prop. 19 includes significant safeguards and controls: It maintains strict criminal penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana, increases the penalty for providing marijuana to a minor, expressly prohibits the consumption of marijuana in public, forbids smoking marijuana while minors are present and bans possession on school grounds.
California’s tax collector, the Board of Equalization (BOE), which currently collects alcohol and tobacco taxes, estimates that marijuana taxes could generate $1.4 billion in revenue each year, available to fund law enforcement, healthcare and other critical needs.
The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) also says Prop. 19 would enable California to put our police priorities where they belong, in that it “could result in savings to the state and local governments by reducing the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated in state prisons and county jails, as well as the number placed under county probation or state parole supervision. These savings could reach several tens of millions of dollars annually. The county jail savings would be offset to the extent that jail beds no longer needed for marijuana offenders were used for other criminals who are now being released early because of a lack of jail space."