Hampton Urges Opponents Support Marijuana Legalization

Written by FCJ Editor. Posted in News, Opinion, Politics

Published on April 12, 2009 with 2 Comments

From the Campaign to elect Adriel Hampton to Congress

April 12, 2009

California 10th Congressional District candidate Adriel Hampton (D-Dublin) is calling on potential rivals Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) to support San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s bill to legalize and tax marijuana. Hampton has made legalization of marijuana at the federal level a campaign priority.

“If Mark and Joan want to lead at the federal level they’ve got to start leading at home,” Hampton said. “Tom Ammiano is a trailblazer in living wage and universal health care legislation, and he’s on target with AB 390 as well. The fact that this bill has no Assembly co-sponsors is just one more black eye for California government. Prohibition does not work.”

Hampton supports legalizing and taxing marijuana at the federal level to reduce crime and prison overcrowding and to provide funds for harm-reduction programs. As an investigator for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, he has worked on cases involving enforcement of San Francisco’s medical cannabis laws.

“Everyone in District 10 has family members who’ve been hurt by our nation’s foolhardy drug laws,” said Hampton. “And this national problem is worse in border towns, where violent narcoterrorists are laughing at us all the way to the bank.”

Ammiano’s bill, introduced in February, is languishing due to lack of support at the Statehouse.

“If we’re hemorrhaging money and doing this wink-wink, nod-nod all these years, it’s about time we start harvesting this,” Ammiano told the San Francisco Chronicle. “And admit to the fact that it’s going to be around and if we regulate and tax it, and decriminalize it, we could have not only an economic benefit but a policy benefit.”

The Economist 20 years ago argued for legalization of drugs, and in March resumed that drumbeat: “Legalisation would not only drive away the gangsters; it would transform drugs from a law-and-order problem into a public-health problem, which is how they ought to be treated.” The venerable magazine points out that the U.S. spends $40 billion a year fighting supply, and locks up half a million citizens a year for drug offences.

California’s Board of Equalization estimates $1 billion in new annual revenues for the state should Ammiano’s bill pass. On the incarceration side, the state spends $35,000 annually per prisoner and is facing mounting fiscal crisis due to overcrowding and third-word conditions in its prisons.

“It’s time to stop the insanity and to take advantage of this fiscal win-win,” Hampton said. “We as a society can fight crime and violence far more effectively if we stop locking people up for pot, hurting families and wasting taxpayers’ money. It’s time to treat marijuana just like alcohol, a highly regulated drug in its own right.”

Adriel Hampton is a candidate for California’s 10th Congressional district, which is expected to host a special election following senate confirmation of Representative Ellen Tauscher as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security.

  • Ralph

    Here is my recently published letters to the editor in the Oakland Tribune and SF Examiner: Maybe it is time to think the unthinkable — legalize marijuana. Consider, in 2006, marijuana was the largest cash crop in the United States, more valuable than corn and wheat combined. Using conservative price estimates, domestic marijuana production has a value of $35.8 billion. Based on production estimates derived from marijuana eradication efforts from 2003 to 2005, marijuana was the top cash crop in 12 states, one of the top 3 cash crops in 30 states, and one of the top 5 cash crops in 39 states. In California, for example, the domestic marijuana crop was larger than grapes, vegetables and hay combined and worth over $1 billion.

    The World Health Organization found that 42.4 percent of Americans had tried marijuana. As long as there is a demand for illicit drugs, there will be a supply. By legalizing marijuana, we satisfy the demand for marijuana locally, control it, tax it, and by doing so take away the “king crop” from the Mexican drug cartels. Will this happen soon? Not likely.

  • Amazing,

    I leave town and good things happen. Maybe I should stay away? Really, Adriel and Ammiano are a great pair. They’ll get push-back from the Prison Guards who are one of the State’s most powerful unions. I’m itching to see Hampton debate the old guard in CA10.

    The Giants will be all right.

    h.