This November, California voters will finally get the chance to vote on statewide legalization. The Sean Parker-led Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) has been endorsed by the state’s medical association, state legislators and most pro-cannabis supporters.

However, not every sector of California society finds the state’s perhaps imminent legalization so appealing and the main opponent is a familiar foe. California’s police officers and prison guards have raised about half of the money to the tune of $60,000 intended fight AUMA.

Considering that $60,000 is a mere fraction of the over $2.25 raised by industry heavy hitters for AUMA’s campaign, this effort will likely prove futile. But it’s significant in seeing who exactly is fighting legalization on a state level because that fight will translate to a federal level.

Afraid legalization will halt California’s drug war and cause these state employees to “lose the revenue streams which they have become so deeply addicted” to, the Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies received its money from a variety of local and statewide police and even hospital associations.

The group’s fear of legalization stems from a pretty simple fact: they’d lose money. Fewer people would go to jail for cannabis, less raids would be executed on cannabis-related entities, and fewer individuals would be needed to work in jails.

Additionally, these police groups would lose “federal grants from the Justice Department to help fund drug enforcement efforts.” In the decade from 2002 to 2012, California police agencies raked in over $180 million in cannabis-related asset seizures; those seizures would plummet if cannabis goes legal in California.

Losing finances is a natural fear and fighting that fear is even more natural–it’s just probably a pointless fight. AUMA is polling well so far with about 60% of statewide voters stating they will vote in favor of legalization.

Bernie Canter

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