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Phil Jackson provides mixed assessment on Prop. 19

November 2, 2010 |  8:13 pm

Phil Even if Lakers Coach Phil Jackson remains disenchanted with the tone of political discourse leading up to Tuesday's elections, he still remains alert enough to share his opinions on political issues.

Regarding Prop. 19, which would legalize marijuana, Jackson said that the legislation is "poorly written," but "there's no need to have our federal system and our state system fill the prisons with people who are prosecuted for this."

"I think marijuana has been known to be addictive," Jackson said at Staples Center on Tuesday before the Lakers' game against Memphis. "It's not something to be laughed at. I think it's a situation that can be handled and help our society out. There's no need to have our federal system and our state system fill the prisons with people who are prosecuted for this. Some of it is handled as a misdemeanor and some is handled as three stick. So it gets to be an issue that complicates our legal system and our prison system. I think it has to be better written. Marijuana is not a minor situation. People become addicted to it like they get addicted to anything. It's what we call the soft drug in the old days before the Len Bias situation changed everything in this country as far as drugs go. We have to get control of some of the things in this society we need to get control of in this drug war."

Jackson's known to share his opinions on various political issues, most interestingly his stance on the Phoenix Suns wearing "Los Suns" jerseys during the 2010 NBA playoffs to protest the controversial Arizona Senate Bill 1070, which Latino and civil-rights groups charge could lead to racial profiling of Latinos in efforts to enforce immigration.

"I think this one is still coming out to the balance in how it's going to be favorably looked upon in our audience and our public," Jackson said at the time. "If I heard right, it's that the American people are for stronger immigration laws if I'm not mistaken. Where we stand as a basketball team, we should let that play out, let the political end of that go where it's going to go."

Jackson had campaigned for Sen. Bill Bradley in 2000 and donated to the Obama election campaign.

-- Mark Medina

Photo: Phil Jackson. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times