NYT: California's most powerful Union to support Prop. 19

A major force in the political dialogue has come out in favor of Prop. 19 and should provide a major boost to the cause. Much respect and appreciation to the folks at the SEIU for their courage and vision in backing this common sense measure to support cannabis freedom.

Marijuana Ballot Measure in California Wins Support of Union, Officials Say

Published: September 13, 2010

LOS ANGELES — A ballot measure to make California the first state to legalize the sale and use of marijuana has won the support of one of the state’s most powerful union, officials said Monday, offering the proposition a shot of mainstream legitimacy as well as a potential financial and organizational lift.

The decision by the executive board of the Service Employees International Union of California will be announced in the next few days, according to officials who have been briefed about it but were not allowed to speak publicly before it was announced.

The measure has faced strong opposition from law enforcement groups, including Sheriff Lee Baca of Los Angeles County, who said he would lead a campaign against it as a threat to public safety.

But the proposal also won support on Monday from some former law enforcement officials, including police officers, judges and prosecutors.

The measure, known as Proposition, 19 would legalize, regulate and tax the sale of marijuana. It has been promoted as a way to raise money for the financially beleaguered state, while dealing a setback to Mexican drug cartels.

The measure is quickly emerging as one of the top — and most contentious — ballot issues in the nation this November. Polls show that it has the support of a slight majority of voters. But political analysts said that this kind of measure, given the social stigma that comes with illicit drug use, could prove difficult to poll.

At the very least, the support by the S.E.I.U., which claims over 700,000 members in the state, could make it easier for other groups to rally around the measure. More practically, it means access to the union’s considerable campaign apparatus, which could finance mailings, telephone calls and leaflets.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/us/14marijuana.html?_r=2