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It's A Gray Area: Let's make pot boring

October 02, 2010|By James P. Gray

It is time for us to be realistic and manage the trade and usage of marijuana instead of simply moralizing about it. The honest facts are that today marijuana is the largest cash crop in California (No. 2 is grapes); with illegal dealers there are no controls whatsoever on quality, quantity, age restrictions, price or place of sale; and most of the big money goes to groups like the Mexican drug cartels, juvenile gangs and other thugs, and they don't pay taxes on any of it.

It is also a fact that the voters are ahead of the politicians on these issues. Yes, most of the vocal politicians and current law enforcement officials have taken a position against Proposition 19, but many retired law enforcement officials, who are much less subject to political considerations, are speaking out in its support.

For example, I belong to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com). My fellow members are people like former Los Angeles Police Department Chief Deputy Steve Downing, former San Jose Police Chief Joe McNamara, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, and thousands of other former narcotics officers, prison guards, prosecutors and others, all of whom are stating the obvious that our nation's policy of marijuana prohibition is not working.

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Holland's and Portugal's experience will shed light on what will happen when Proposition 19 passes. Holland decriminalized marijuana possession and use for those 16 and older in the early 1970s, and several years ago, the minister of health was quoted as saying that they have only half the marijuana usage, per capita, as we do in our country — both for adults and teenagers! "We have succeeded in making pot boring," he said.

Of course, our country glamorizes marijuana by making it illegal, and also by having such obscene profit motives in getting others to sell it to you, your neighbors and your children. And you will also note that today young adults are not selling Jim Beam bourbon or Marlboro cigarettes to each other on their high school campuses. But they are selling marijuana to each other all the time.

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