by Lee Fang
March 7, 2012
from RepublicReport Website
John Lovell is a lobbyist who makes a lot of money from making sure you can’t smoke a joint.
That’s his job. He’s a lobbyist for the police
unions in Sacramento, and he is a driving force behind grabbing Federal
dollars to shut down the California marijuana industry. I’ll get to the
evidence on this important story in a bit, but first, some context.
So why do we still put hundreds of thousands of people in steel cages for pot-related offenses? Well, there are many reasons, but one of them is, of course, money in politics. Corruption.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s why you can’t
smoke a joint without committing a crime, though of course you can ingest
any number of pills or drinks completely within the law.
That’s what Lovell does, he gets those grants.
He also fights against democratic mechanisms to legalize drugs.
He told Time Magazine that he was pushing against the initiative because,
But Republic Report reviewed lobbying contracts
during the Prop 19 fight, and
found that Lovell’s firm was paid over
$386,350 from a wide array of police unions, including the California Police
Here’s a copy of
one letter sent to a police department in
Lassen County, California:
There is big money in marijuana prohibition.
Lovell represented a police union in a bid to steer some $2.2 million dollars into a “Marijuana Suppression Program.”
In 2009 and 2010, California police
unions sought a
$7,537,389 chunk of Federal money for
police to conduct a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program.
The Federal anti-marijuana "honey-pot" might have dried up if Prop 19 had passed. Legalizing marijuana would have generated billions in tax revenue for the state of California, while also reducing victimless crime prosecutions.
But for lobbyists like Lovell, legalization was
a direct assault on hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential fees for
helping to solicit taxpayer money for his clients.
Of the $386,350 in fees paid by police unions to
Lovell through 2009 and 2010, status update reports reviewed by Republic
Report reveal that Lovell worked on a number of issues, from advocacy
against Prop 19 to channeling grants and monitoring legislation.
Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who
now helps push for legalization as a citizen advocate,
told Republic Report that
lobbyists also fight to keep marijuana illegal because they view pot as a
low-cost form of competition.