WHEN THE Assembly's Public Safety Committee voted 12 days ago to approve the legalization and regulation of marijuana in California, knee-jerk reactions were sure to follow.
This was only a first step toward legislation, but San Mateo police Chief Susan Manheimer quickly described the looming possibility as "mind-boggling."
John Lovell, speaking for the California Peace Officers Association, said it was "the last thing our society needs."
It wasn't hard to envision lawmen up and down the state nodding in agreement.
The viewpoint is understandable. It is part of the internal wiring of police agencies. The War on Drugs declared by President Nixon in 1971 has spanned four decades and seven administrations.
The thing is, it has failed. A far better idea is to legalize and regulate marijuana sales.
There are at least 1,500 current and former law enforcement professionals who agree. They are members of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), who base their opinions on years of experience.
Jack Cole, co-founder of the 8-year-old organization, is a retired New Jersey State Police lieutenant who served 12 of his 26 years on the job as an undercover narcotics cop. He describes the War on Drugs as "not only a dismal failure but a terribly destructive policy."
"All of us at TechShop are very excited to announce that we have signed a non-binding Letter of Intent with the Hearst Corporation to lease the 15,500 square-foot building at 924 Howard Street (at the intersection of Howard and 5th) in downtown San Francisco so we can build and open the first TechShop location in San Francisco! The building has its own parking lot, and it is just 1 block from the Moscone Center, 3 blocks from the Powell Street BART station, and 6 blocks from Union Square. The location is very convenient to people in San Francisco, as well as those living in the East Bay thanks to the quick BART access.
But We Need Your Help! This is not a done deal yet. In order for us to sign the binding 5-year lease and begin construction, we first need to receive pledges from you and all the other people in San Francisco that you will pitch in and help in one or more of these five ways:Pledge to Become a Lender ($25,000 or More)Pledge to Buy a Lifetime Membership ($5,000)Pledge to Become a Monthly Member ($99/mo Auto-Pay)Pledge to Make a Donation ($25 or More)Pledge to Volunteer Your Time for Demolition and Build-OutMake Your Pledge Right Now We are only taking pledges at this time...we will start collecting money when we are sure there is enough support to make this project successful. To pledge, please send email right now to "email@example.com" and indicate how you would like to pledge to help open TechShop San Francisco. Please include your name, phone number, and email address.Tell Your Friends About TechShop San Francisco, and Ask Them To Help Too Please tell all your friends about TechShop San Francisco and urge them to help pitch in with their pledge too. You can forward this email to them, or email them the link to the information page at www.techshop.ws/tssf.html.What Happens with TS SF if We Don't Reach Our Pledge Goals? All indications show that there is very strong demand for TechShop in San Francisco, so I am sure we will receive enough pledges in each category to proceed. However, if we don't receive enough pledges in each category, we will be forced to withdrawl the Letter of Intent and postpone the opening of TechShop San Francisco, and try again at some later date. If you want to see TechShop San Francisco open this summer, I urge you to please make your pledge today and don't wait!"