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Feinstein denounces Prop. 19 as 'dangerous experiment'

The Democratic U.S. senator, co-chairwoman of the opposition campaign, says the marijuana legalization measure is based on 'false arguments and fake promises.'

October 30, 2010|By John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times

Opponents of Proposition 19, arrayed in front of the Glendale Police Department, denounced the marijuana legalization measure Friday, charging it would lead to more stoned Californians and make schools, businesses and roads less safe.

"Proposition 19 is a dangerous experiment based on false arguments and fake promises," said U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), co-chairwoman of the opposition campaign who headlined the event.

Feinstein, who also opposed the 1996 initiative that allowed marijuana to be used for medical reasons, said passing Proposition 19 would tell California's children there is nothing wrong with smoking marijuana.

"The last thing we need to do is make it easier for drug dealers to increase their consumer base by pushing pot on young people," she said. "Buying and consuming marijuana, in my view, is already too easy."

The Proposition 19 campaign did not have any official events, but Stephen Downing, a former deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, and Hanna Leibman Dershowitz, a lawyer who has been speaking for mothers who oppose pot prohibition, crashed the news conference.

"This is scare tactics, same old song," Dershowitz said. "Marijuana is about as available in California as one could imagine it could possibly be, and I don't see that parade of horribles."

Proposition 19 would make it legal under state law for adults 21 and older to grow and possess marijuana, and would allow cities and counties to approve commercial cultivation and retail sales.

The Drug Policy Alliance, flush with money after a $1-million donation from multibillionaire investor George Soros, unveiled a final advertising blitz Friday aimed at boosting turnout among young voters — who overwhelmingly support legalization — and swaying undecided ones. Ads will run on radio and television, in the Los Angeles Times and on Google and Facebook.

The opposition campaign has substantially less money to spend, but has received a boost from the California Chamber of Commerce. The No on 19 campaign and the chamber are both running radio ads throughout the state.

Feinstein was joined by Glendale's mayor, two police chiefs and representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Assn. of California School Administrators.

john.hoeffel@latimes.com

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