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The people behind Proposition 64, the initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in California, recently showed off minority support for the Nov. 8 measure.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a parade of people of color at a downtown Los Angeles event touting the advantages of legalization for minority communities. He argued that fewer African-Americans and Latinos would be arrested and that they would get a shot at opening cannabis businesses post-legalization.

“The status quo has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, woefully failed to protect our children, and created new generations of career criminals,” he said. “The only ones who benefit under prohibition are illegal operators, black-market dealers and drug cartels.”

Backing Newsom was backed by U.S. Rep. Ted W. Lieu of L.A.’s South Bay area, who said legalization wouldn’t bring lawlessness, just justice.

“As a military veteran and prosecutor, I know what it takes to protect the public safety,” he said. “Proposition 64 creates a legal, responsible and regulated framework for marijuana that is fiscally responsible, smartly builds on what California has already done with medical marijuana and provides necessary protections for local governments and law enforcement agencies.”

State Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia of Southeast L.A. County said it’s time California voters ended disproportionate arrests and prosecution for minorities accused of minor drug crimes.

“Proposition 64 will end the injustice of a war on marijuana that targets communities of color and focus our public resources on proven solutions – such as education, prevention, youth programs and job training,” she said.

State Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer of L.A. said the measure would enhance taxes and allow authorities to keep an eye on the pot business instead of having it thrive underground.

“As a co-author of the new Medical Marijuana laws signed by Governor Brown, I support Proposition 64 because it builds on that regulatory structure and strengthens it by adding a tax structure that will finally allow state and local government to offset the community impacts of the marijuana industry – as we do with every other legal industry,” he said.

About The Author

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Raul Duke has been working as a journalist in Southern California for two decades. The medical marijuana juggernaut is one of his many beats. He’s a longtime Westside resident who needs to renew his doctor’s recommendation soon. If you have news tips, reach out: raul@the420times.com

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