Is it California's Turn to Legalize Marijuana?
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"AFFNA members can contact www.saveoursociety.org for talking points," Bensinger continued. "If you need more ammo, let me know."
Drug warriors also have a strong economic incentive to fight legalization. "The money [from the federal War on Drugs] is just too big for police departments through grants and asset seizures," explained Downing of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "The state prison population is going down for the first time ever, but the federal prison population is increasing. All of that has to do with money."
And the backlash from drug warriors may be working. On December 7, The New York Times reported that the Obama Justice Department is weighing options as to how to respond to Colorado and Washington and whether to launch a crackdown or file lawsuits in those states. At the same time, drug reform advocates are girding for a long, tough battle. "I think it's vital for anybody who wants to keep the momentum going to recognize that there's going to be blowback in a serious way," Campos told me. "There's an enormous amount of practical, material interests wrapped up in the drug war. Those people must be putting a lot of pressure on Obama right now. The prison-industrial complex is super-dependent on the War on Drugs. We're at a really crucial moment."
Legalization in Washington and Colorado marks not only the beginning of the end, many say, but also the beginning of the most difficult part. "We are looking up a huge mountain right now and we're all taking deep breaths and looking around and gearing up for a really long but hopefully successful fight," Reiman said. "I think Californians are ready."