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Mar-27-2012 15:15printcomments

Cops And Judges Ask California Legislator to Withdraw Marijuana DUI Bill

Law Enforcers Say Bill Will Criminalize Legal Medical Marijuana Patients & Distract Police

CHP car

(SACRAMENTO, CA) - A group of former California police officers, prosecutors and judges issued a letter today asking Assemblymember Norma Torres to withdraw a bill she has introduced that would criminalize driving with any amount of cannabinoids in the body. The criminal justice professionals, members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), say that the standards created by the bill have nothing to do with actual impairment behind the wheel and will criminalize the state's legal medical marijuana patients.

The letter reads, in part, "Zero tolerance has a nice ring to it, but most all applications of this overused (and clich├ęd) concept result in harmful unintended consequences. Zero tolerance relieves the decision-maker of the burden of making sound legal judgments and routinely produces more harm than good. It is absolutely conceivable that, if passed, this bill will become the foundation for DUI checkpoint abuses where the answer to the simple question, 'are you a legal medical cannabis patient?' will result in arrest and conviction under circumstances where impaired driving never occurred. And if it happens to the same patient on three occasions, they will face a mandatory ten-year prison sentence, all while still being innocent."

Stephen Downing, a retired deputy chief of police with the Los Angeles Police Department, says, "Keeping impaired drivers off the road is one of law enforcement's most important jobs, but this bill has no basis in science. Enacting this legislation would not only be disastrous for our state's legal medical marijuana patients, but would impede public safety for all Californians by distracting police from catching actually dangerous drivers. Assemblymember Torres should withdraw this legislation immediately."

Assemblymember Torres's bill, AB 2552, was introduced on February 24 and has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, which is chaired by medical marijuana supporter Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. The full text of the bill can be read at

The letter urging Assemblymember Torres to withdraw the bill, signed by ten former law enforcement officials, is online at

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who fought on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learned firsthand that punitive prohibitionist policies only serve to worsen addiction and violence. More info at

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Anonymous March 27, 2012 3:55 pm (Pacific time)

California needs revenue badly and will do whatever it takes to get it. I have a dozen horror stories, worse than this. And how will the officers know if someone had marijuana? A urine test? THC stays in the system for 30 days. Red eyes? what about allergies? Because they have a glove box full of twinkies? People who partake of MJ do not stumble around and slur their words like drunk drivers do. This will be difficult on police officers. Altho, I get info from police officers all over the country. Many have gotten out of the narcotics division because they dont want to arrest a marijuana user and ruin their life for a few joints. I have also heard that officers will try and find a MJ user because MJ users are always calm and obey all orders..The easiest arrest they can think of is what they tell me.

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