Former law enforcement officers speak out in favor of legalizing marijuana reported on an AP story about ex-cops in California speaking out in favor of Proposition 19, a ballot measure that would legalize marijuana.

The group supporting Proposition 19 is largely comprised of former or retired police officers, judges and prosecutors. These supporters said keeping pot illegal props up drug cartels and overburdens the state’s court system. Stephen Downing, former deputy chief for the Los Angeles Police Department, said the nation’s drug policy has failed, likening it to cutting off the leg of a spider to cripple it.

“The drug organizations are more like starfish,” Downing said during a press conference at a West Hollywood park where children were playing with their parents behind him. “You cut a leg off, it regenerates. We are dealing with a sea of starfish. The only way you kill a starfish is to remove its nutrient. And that nutrient is money.”

If approved by voters, the proposition would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Local governments would be allowed to tax its sales.

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