The Buzz: Dianne Feinstein still reluctant to legalize marijuana in California

03/21/2014 8:51 PM

03/21/2014 11:14 PM

Feinstein voices concerns about legalizing marijuana

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein still has doubts about legalizing marijuana in California, adding her voice this week to mounting debate about the wisdom of legitimizing the drug following tax-generating efforts in Colorado and Washington.

“The risk of people using marijuana and driving is very substantial,” the California Democrat told The Associated Press in an interview.

In 1996, California became the first state to decriminalize marijuana for medical purposes. Four years ago, voters here rejected Proposition 19, which would have lifted the ban on adults 21 and older from smoking, growing and transporting pot for recreational purposes. At the time, Feinstein signed the ballot argument against the initiative. She called the proposal “a jumbled legal nightmare that will make our highways, our workplaces and our communities less safe.”

Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month questioned whether pot legalization would stymie the state’s competitiveness.

In the AP interview, Feinstein recalled serving in the 1960s on the parole board for women inmates. “I saw a lot of where people began with marijuana and went on to hard drugs.”

– Christopher Cadelago

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