Green Aid feels that forfeiture reform is an essential key to ending marijuana prohibition. We work closely with Americans for Forfeiture Reform on this important issue.
WHAT IS ASSET FORFEITURE AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU?
Asset forfeiture laws, both in California statute and federal law, allow federal, state, and local law enforcement to profit from Federal marijuana law enforcement. Under asset forfeiture laws, the government can take money or property for almost any reason without charging you of a crime or finding any actual evidence that a crime actually took place. Worse, because asset forfeiture allows police agencies, drug task forces, and prosecutors’ offices to profit from seizing cash and other valuable property, law enforcement agencies now prioritize the seizure of property over the enforcement of criminal laws designed to protect society.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION?
Forfeiture dollars are a big part of the ability of law enforcement agencies to fund the War on Drugs and enforce marijuana prohibition.
Marijuana prohibition still exists and is enforced because our government’s law enforcement agencies have a financial incentive to maintain the status quo. When a United States District Attorney or an enterprising young California prosecutor looks at the marijuana industry, they see a politically vulnerable industry where a lot of money is trading hands. Our government is invested in the notion that they can fund their agencies and pay exorbitant salaries to bureaucrats and mercenaries through the exploitation of marijuana users and producers.
Some prosecutors, police chiefs, and sheriffs even use forfeiture money to influence politics. Forfeiture dollars have paid for lobbyists to testify to legislatures in favor of more draconian drug laws, and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis (San Diego) openly spends her forfeiture dollars to curry favor with voters and special interests.
CAN ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM HELP LEGALIZATION?
Yes! This year, Americans for Forfeiture Reform will be working to pass AB 639 to prevent federal agencies from buying the services of state law enforcement with forfeiture dollars. Additionally, we’re working with a coalition of activists, attorneys, and legislators to introduce more legislation to reform the entirety of California’s forfeiture statutes. We’re also building the resources to offer services to victims of forfeitures so that they have the resources to defend themselves and their property.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT AMERICANS FOR FORFEITURE REFORM ONLINE AT FORFEITUREREFORM.COM.