Freedom vs. Oppression – Judge Jim Gray vs. Dick Ackerman. Topic: Prop 19

Jim tells drug warriors: please extract craniums...
Dick parrots: "just say no."

On September 11th, the Orange County Lincoln Club will be hosting a debate on the initiatives that are on the November ballot, including Prop 19, the “legalize marijuana” initiative. The debate host is Clare Venegas.

The debate is open to Lincoln Club members who are in good standing, whatever that means. The event will feature a pro/con speaker for each side. On the Prop 19 pro side is probably the most knowledgeable man in the United States when it comes to drug policy – retired Judge Jim Gray. Judge Gray recently wrote a book titled Why our drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It.

On the con (pun intended) side is Mr. Dick Ackerman who’s wife recently ran for the  state assembly in the 72nd district while claiming she lived in a rented room at a friend’s house even though everyone knew she (and Dick) were living in a “top secret” gated community in Irvine. Carpetbaggin’ and lying to the public is just fine; smoking a joint is the devil’s work.

At the end of the debate, the club’s Legislative Committee will present their recommendations and any general member in good standing will be able to cast a vote on the Club’s position for each initiative on our ballot.

The Lincoln Club’s commitment to acting on shared principles of limiting government and expanding economic and personal freedoms is a breath of fresh air, if you can really believe it. Personal freedom means adults being able to do what they want so long as they aren’t bothering anybody. That means having a beer or taking a hit of some of California’s Gold. Or both.

Let’s hope the voting members who have committed to such principles don’t get cold feet on such a hot topic when it comes time to vote.

War on Drugs: Craig Hunter Salutes 40 Years of Failure

Last week Sheriff candidate Craig Hunter pointed to our Bill Hunt interview on Facebook, ridiculing his opponent’s assertion that a Sheriff does not have to bend to the will of the DEA when it violates states’ rights.

Hunter asks “What kind of leader would put his deputies at odds with the DEA over a poorly written law?”

The answer, of course, is a leader who respects the Constitution and values the rights of his constituents over the intrusive tendencies of an overreaching federal bureaucracy.

What did they want me to say?

So now we know that Craig Hunter does not respect the will of California voters, who have overwhelmingly asserted that medicinal marijuana should be available to patients. Instead, he defers to the federal government, which has blown at least $2.5 trillion dollars over four decades of the “War on Drugs” with almost nothing to show for it. Illegal drugs are now cheaper, stronger and easier to obtain than any other time in American history.

If this is the kind of “leadership” that we can expect from Hunter? An automatic deference to any other agency claiming to hold authority, no matter how detrimental it might be to the citizens who he is sworn to protect?

There is, however, one satisfying statement made in Hunter’s Facebook — he says that all voters should read our blog. Thanks for your support, Craig!

Bill Hunt Talks the Talk: Liberty and Marijuana

I just came across this interview on the “Johnson for America Blog” involving OC Sheriff candidate, former Lt. Bill Hunt. Check it out. I am principally interested in this Q & A exchange on the subject of marijuana:

Josiah Schmidt: As an experienced law enforcement official, what is your opinion on the possibility that California might legalize marijuana in the next election?

Bill Hunt: It is the job of the sheriff to support and uphold the laws of the state.  As it stands now, medical marijuana is legal in this state by a vote of the people.  It is not the job of the sheriff to try to circumvent the will of the people by collaborating with the federal government.  If marijuana is legalized I will treat it just like any other legal activity such as the use of alcohol.  Responsible alcohol consumption is not a violation of the law.  However, use by minors, driving under the influence, etc., are violations of law and they are enforced.

Wow. A comprehensive, straightforward, honest answer. Liberty, state’s rights, common sense, and no bullshit about waging the counterproductive and bank-breaking War on Drugs – or any other empty chest thumping slogans. Hmm.

Well, okay. It’s just talk. But I like what I’m hearing. I like it a lot.

No Stems or Seeds That You Don’t Need

Recently Fullerton’s Redevelopment Director, Robert Zur Schmiede (who also serves on the planning commission for Laguna Beach) decided to channel his inner MD for an impromptu prescription to the Laguna Beach City Council to ban all medical marijuana dispensaries from the city. An OC Register article detailing the issue is available here, but here are a couple of noteworthy quotes:

“While acknowledging the needs of ill patients to access marijuana, I will not support — and will, in fact, vehemently oppose — the allowance of collectives in the city,” Commissioner Robert Zur Schmiede said.

“Why anyone with a grain of sense thinks this is something we should do is beyond me,” he added, to some murmurs in the audience.

Father Schmiede Knows Best
Father Zur Schmiede Knows Best

Let’s get this straight:

  • the majority of voters in California elected to legalize marijuana for medical use 13 years ago
  • Zur Schmiede is fully aware that there are ailing citizens who have a legitimate medical need for the drug
  • Zur Schmiede does not have a medical degree

Despite all that, he actively seeks to deny patients access to a drug that a licensed medical doctor has recommended for treatment.

Hmm... No medical marijuana for you!
Hmm... No medical marijuana for you! Trust me. I'm not a doctor.

Does Zur Schmiede really have the public interest in mind here? Can we expect this sort of reefer madness to echo in Fullerton? Or can we reasonably expect our city staff to uphold State law?

 

08/04/09 UPDATE BY THE FULLERTON HARPOON:

We have delved deep into our photo archives and have uncovered this image. And so continuing in the Robert Young leitmotif  we share it with our Friends.

But I'm sick and need help! Nein! Ve vill never approve this pprescription!
But I'm sick and need help! Nein! Ve vill never approve zis prescription!

Judge Jim Gray on Marijuana

Marijuana. Decriminalize, tax and regulate. Makes a lot more sense than ban, spray and incarcerate. Of course, it’s just the dark-skinned ones that we jail mostly. For middle class kids, it’s just “experimentation”!

That was the message of retired Judge Jim Gray at last night’s packed meeting of the Neighbors United for Fullerton at the main library. Gray told the supportive NUFFsters that imprisoning marijuana offenders costs California taxpayers $1 billion yearly and taxing it would add $4 billion to state coffers. That’s a net of $5 billion!

Who are the big winners in the drug war? Prison guards, prison builders, drug lords, dumb politicians and Big Pharma. (Tough to profit from a plant that grows in the wilds!)

Elected officials attending–and positively responding–were Supervisor Chris Norby and Anaheim UHSD Board Member Katherine Smith.

Gray talked about all the costs of the entire drug war, but concentrated on cannabis as the one most likely to see real reform. AB 390 by Assemblyman Tom Amiano (D-San Francisco) would legalize and tax marijuana in California, to take effect only after federal law was changed to respect state autonomy on the issue.

How ’bout it Barack? Would society really have been better off had you been jailed back during your experimental youth?

There are just enough pro-freedom Dems and Reps to form a coaltion. Reefer Madness might soon be replaced by Reefer sanity!

An Update: End Reefer Madness by Legalizing Pot

Marijuana is not a dangerous drug [”Proposed pot law ignites debate,” Opinion, Feb. 23]. Alco­hol causes thousands of deaths each year from overdose (alcohol poisoning), while no one in recorded history has ever died from marijuana overdose. It’s physically impossible to smoke or ingest enough marijuana to come anywhere close to a harmful overdose. We have our legal drugs backward. Numerous scientific studies in Canada and Europe have proven that pot is safer than most FDA-approved prescription drugs. Habitual pot smoking doesn’t even signif­icantly increase the risk of cancer. The worst side effect from chronic pot use is chronic lazi­ness. And the studies that claim pot is a “gateway drug” are inherently flawed because the omit alcohol, tobacco and pre­scription drug abuse.

The argument that legalization will lead to an increase in traffic accidents is also flawed. Of the millions of pot smokers who are currently breaking the law, studies and statistics show that only a small percentage are stupid enough to drive while stoned.

arnoldnyftky

Those like myself who would be inclined to smoke pot once it’s legal, but who currently refrain, are already respectful of the law, and, therefore, would not be likely to drive stoned once it’s legal.

Marijuana was made illegal for two purely political reasons. The first was a back-door agreement that ended alcohol prohibition. The prohibitionists wanted something in return for alcohol’s  return to the market; marijuana was the trade off. Second, Wil­liam Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnate, wanted to eliminate the hemp-based paper competition for his paper mills.

I hope all intelligent citizens in favor of freedom and fiscal common sense will contact their lawmakers in Sacramento and demand support for AB 390. It’s high time we stop the reefer madness.

David Santucci

OC Register, February 27, 2009