Marijuana: San Francisco Supervisors Approve Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Policy

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave final approval Tuesday for an ordinance making marijuana offenses the police department's lowest priority. The San Francisco district attorney is also directed to make prosecuting marijuana offenses her office's lowest priority. Public marijuana sales, possession by minors, and use by motorists will continue to be prosecuted.

The ordinance also creates an oversight committee through which people who feel they were wrongly targeted can seek a review of their cases. And it requires the Board of Supervisors to annually notify the state and federal governments that "the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco has passed an ordinance to deprioritize marijuana offenses by adults, and requests that the federal and California state governments take immediate steps to tax and regulate marijuana use, cultivation, and distribution and to authorize state and local communities to do the same."

The ordinance introduced by Supervisor Tom Ammiano passed 8-3.

"San Francisco should determine its marijuana policy locally, not hand it over to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration," the ordinance read. "Law enforcement resources would be better spent fighting serious and violent crimes."

San Francisco now joins Oakland, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood on the list of California cities that have embraced lowest priority ordinances. Only West Hollywood and San Francisco have adopted such an ordinance through action by elected officials; in the other cities, action came through voter initiatives. Seattle, Columbia, Missouri, Missoula, Montana, and Eureka Springs, Arkansas, have also passed such initiatives.

A panoply of state and national drug reform organizations supported the move. Among them were Drug Policy Alliance, the Marijuana Policy Project, California NORML, and a number of local drug reform groups and political clubs.

"By urging our law enforcement community to ignore adult marijuana offenses, our police officers can focus on battling the increase in serious and violent crime, much of which is ironically directly related to our failed prohibitionist approach to drugs," said Camilla Field, deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance San Francisco office. "This vote represents one small, but significant, step toward making our communities safer."

And one more small step toward undoing the marijuana laws.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Pot and prosecution

I have smoked pot over forty years. During that time I graduated from college, fathered five children (all of whom have matriculated as well), and had a successful career in emergency medicine. I saved many lives and risked my own to help other people. I never saw anyone commit a violent act as a result of marijuana intoxication, or treated anyone suffering from THC withdrawal. Yet, time and again, I have worried that a drug test would end my job and destroy my life. Now, in my twilight years, I still must fear government persecution for a personal habit that has never caused another any harm. It is my belief that the government uses these statutes to justify what would otherwise be considered illegal search and seizure. Law enforcement budgets rarely mention the money and property taken from citizenry when justifying their budgets. The War on Drugs is in reality a war on the American populace, and theft of our resources on a grand scale.

Reply to above

Just wanted to say thank you to the gentleman who wrote the post above. I have not heard it put in such an eloquent way in quite some time.

The New Mj Reform Wave?

Is the vote in San Fran really a tactic by the Oakland Raiders to keep Randy Moss in the Bay area? Seriously, maybe these deprioritation measures are the way to go, Colorado and Nevada and even South Dakotas bid for mmj came up short in their respective ballot measures, CO surprisingly lost by a wider margin than most thought, yet the depri-measures win by wide margins 60% plus in most cases. I feel this is the tactic mj reformers should be focused on, it's short of legalization, but it's the first step towards that goal.

Finally! They Got a Clue!

As a medicinal user of cannabis and long time smoker, I fully support this step toward ending prohibition.
There will be obvious federal backlash and probably everyone in prison using the program to review cases causing a back up of those resources but long term it will be more beneficial. I couldn't believe that in my lifetime I would see something like this coming to fruition. Not only would this cut down on street crime and the scores of people in prison for weed but the government could make so much money off of weed (Wouldn't be the best idea for people but I am sure that is where it would go) taxing the crap out of it. Most people just want to relax and smoke just like people who get to smoke cigarettes. I do think that it should be limited from minors just like alcohol and I think that being overall the masses will be pleasantly surprised with the long term effects of laws like this one being put in motion.

Congrats to the public for finally stepping forward and having the good worth to speak out or at least agree with the people who are speaking out against prohibition. After all these years people who stood against Marijuana are starting to realize that good ol Mary Jane is the not the most dangerous thing on the totem pole of priority.

I do agree with the person above, the War on Drugs is a kind of a joke and at the very least extremely corrupt.

Honestly, not just because

Honestly, not just because im a smoker, but If the government looked at all the deaths related to drugs (murders, robberies, etc) and weighed that next to the deaths ACTUALLY caused from pot...come on. You hear of alcohol poisoning all the time, do you hear of THC poisoning? Why is the nation so against marijuana? My final word and point, if weed is a drug, then alcohol should be too.

whats a good place to live and grow pot

where in cali is it always beach weather and legal to grow pot?

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