Sand Deflects Douglas' Criticism Over MJ Stance

Sand Deflects Douglas' Criticism Over MJ Stance
Posted by CN Staff on February 17, 2007 at 07:14:47 PT
By Susan Smallheer, Herald Staff
Source: Rutland Herald
Vermont -- Windsor County State's Attorney Robert Sand dismissed Gov. James Douglas' claim that he kept his constituents in the dark about his beliefs on marijuana.Sand said he wrote two op-ed pieces in 2005 and 2006, well in advance of the November 2006 elections, outlining his concerns about the state's war on drugs and calling for a "public health approach" to marijuana and other drugs.
At his weekly news conference Thursday, Douglas asserted that Sand hadn't let voters know about his controversial stance. And, the governor questioned whether the veteran prosecutor would enforce the state's drug laws."The voters of Windsor County had a right to know about this before he was re-elected instead of immediately afterwards," Douglas said. "I hope and assume he will be true to his oath of office."Sand, who has been Windsor County's top law enforcement officer for the past 11 years, and has spent most of his legal career as a Vermont prosecutor, said the governor didn't have his facts straight.Sand said he wrote the op-ed pieces to let people know his views."I didn't want to be elected under false pretenses," he said.Sand, a Democrat, ran unopposed on both the Democratic and Republican tickets in 2002 and 2006.Sand said that while he wrote the two op-ed pieces in the Rutland Herald in August 2006, and in the Lebanon, N.H., Valley News in 2005, his views on the need for a dialogue on drug enforcement didn't gain significant attention until a news story ran in the Herald in late November 2006.Since then, he said, he has received national and international attention.Earlier this week, Sand expanded on his views at a forum sponsored by the Windsor County Democrats. He said he favored the decriminalization of marijuana, saying no one had convinced him marijuana shouldn't be legal and unregulated for adults."I don't think the police, prosecutors, courts and corrections should be involved with marijuana," he said.He said that despite his views the state should review its drug policies, he said he would fully enforce the state's drug laws and follow his oath of office.Sand, 48, said that as a high school and college student he used marijuana, but that he hadn't used it since 1982, although he said he might have smoked once at a party during law school.Sand, who came to Vermont to attend Vermont Law School, where he graduated in 1987, said he didn't like marijuana, and he used it because of the social scene."It made me kind of paranoid and more reserved than I already am," Sand said. "I'm not proud of it; I'm not ashamed of it."Sand said he had been expecting to be asked whether he smoked marijuana ever since he raised the issue about the war on drugs, and he was surprised it hadn't been raised earlier.He said his only hope was that the issue didn't distract from his goal of in-depth discussion of the state's drug laws, particularly in regards to marijuana.He said he believed adults should be able to use marijuana legally, but that it should be illegal for people younger than 18. Adults giving or selling marijuana to children should be prosecuted, he said.He said the argument made by some law enforcement officials that little time and government resources are spent on marijuana enforcement isn't true, citing a recent study by the Vermont Crime Information Center.During the past two years, he said, there were more marijuana arrests than all other illegal drug cases combined."Let's take marijuana out of the criminal justice system and reallocate the money to prevention, treatment and education. My prediction is that use would decline," Sand said.Sand said he favors more of a public health approach to the use of other drugs, noting that doctors in Great Britain can prescribe heroin.Jason Gibbs, the governor's chief spokesman, didn't return messages left for him at the governor's office.State's attorneys are elected independently of any state official, with the voters having the final say. Sand said Douglas has not called him about the issue."I think in the heat of the moment on an emotional and complicated issue, I think the governor made a mistake. Let's move on," he said.Sand said he has received lots of support on the issue."Almost to a person, people have said, 'let's have the discussion,'" he said. "It's abundantly clear that the current approach is not working."The prosecutor said his experience was proof that experimental use of marijuana did not automatically lead to addiction or other drug use."I don't use drugs. I don't like drugs. This is a public health issue," he said.Reporter Louis Porter contributed to this report.Source: Rutland Herald (VT)Author: Susan Smallheer, Herald Staff Published: February 17, 2007 Copyright: 2007 Rutland HeraldContact: letters rutlandherald.comWebsite: http://www.rutlandherald.comRelated Articles: Prosecutor Says Drug War Isn't Working Time Has Come To Reform our Drug Policies
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Comment #11 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on February 18, 2007 at 07:50:44 PT
YW, Toker00. Thank you for all your postings.
"The atmosphere so permeated with THC you only need to breath to know God."Now, that's some HOPE!Of course, the big question is, when cannabis is the only plant that will grow outside, will the U.S. government continue to outlaw it?Continuing on our hopeful note, I'll say the odds are 50/50.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on February 18, 2007 at 06:33:13 PT
You asked a good question. I don't say how I feel much anymore because it isn't what people want to hear so I go about my way and hope for change quietly. It seems that Democrats are like a dirty word and I don't know why. I have always been more of a Democrat then a Republican. I have read how hateful those on the right are towards those on the left. I will walk away before I will fight. I think maybe that is why more people who think like me aren't involved in marijuana reform. Why try when no matter how determined we are they will still hate. 
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Comment #9 posted by MikeEEEEE on February 18, 2007 at 06:08:13 PT
TomPaine is usually right on the money.Wake Up! The Next War Is Coming:
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Comment #8 posted by Toker00 on February 18, 2007 at 05:44:00 PT
Thanks, sinse.
We needed that silver lining. I should have said "potentially" the Darkest Days of Mankind. Eternal Hope. Don't leave home without it!FoM, do you think change will come from policies being changed by Kucinich, civil disobedience on a large scale until cannabis prohibition is repealed, or after some cataclysmic event wherein cannabis may be the ONLY answer for our survival? Cannabis may be one of the few remaining plants that can survive after our destruction of the environment. The ONLY one that can provide the twelve fruits of life. It protects your lungs from tobacco chemical radiation. It protects your skin from solar radiation. It EATS radiation for Christ's sake! What if cannabis was the ONLY plant that can survive a nuclear holocaust? Cannabis. The Natural Genesis. Imagine a world with ONLY cannabis plants, no others. All life dependent on good bud. Wow. I just Imagined HEAVEN! Heaven is Sticky and Stinky! The atmosphere so permeated with THC you only need to breath to know God.Toke. 
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Comment #7 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on February 18, 2007 at 05:02:09 PT
Welcome to the Darkest Age of Mankind.'s always darkest, before the dawn?(I figure since we all have less Hope at the moment, that I should try to be full of it.)Freeda Weed!Freeda People!War Is Over!(If You Want It)
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on February 17, 2007 at 12:09:08 PT
You do good work. You are concerned like many of us are. PS: Just to let you know. It is snowing and my satellite keeps getting snow on it so it's hard to stay connected. If I don't show up for a while it will be because of the weather. Have a good weekend everyone!
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Comment #5 posted by Toker00 on February 17, 2007 at 11:58:23 PT
How do you stop a runaway military?
DON'T JOIN! Work for Peace instead. Expose the Fascists and Defeat them in office. Run yourself, if you have to. You have to.I hear you Mayan. Iran is gonna be bad. I'm more worried about when they are going to reduce the population worldwide. Welcome to the Darkest Age of Mankind. FoM, I don't do much, but I do a lot of it! : ). Toke.
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on February 17, 2007 at 10:47:19 PT
U.S. patrol ship on alert in gulf: arrests bomb suspects, police say U.S. link: Approaching War with Iran: Part III officials see outbreak of conflict with Iran looming: be with all of you.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on February 17, 2007 at 09:23:08 PT
Thank you for the information. Keep up the good work.
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Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on February 17, 2007 at 08:31:06 PT
OT: Thanks!
Dear You,Good news! The House of Representatives voted 246-182 today in favor of the Skelton-Lantos resolution (H Con Res 63) condemning President Bush’s escalation of the war in Iraq! Thank you to all of you whose calls made this success possible!
“Despite the incredible efforts of our brave soldiers, it is clear to me that an increase in American forces alone cannot resolve this conflict. Therefore, I will support this resolution [H Con Res 63] because I believe that surges will continue to be unsuccessful without a comprehensive diplomatic strategy to engage the international community and turn responsibility over to the Iraqi government.”
-- Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE)
“Knowing what we know today, after almost four years of attempted nation-building on the shifting sands of Iraq, the plan to put 21,000 more Americans in harm's way there has to be viewed with a cold-eyed skepticism born of that hard experience. Putting American troops between feuding Sunni and Shia in the middle of Baghdad, in my judgment, is a mistake. This is the appropriate place for Iraqis, not Americans.”
-- Rep. Thomas Davis (R-VA)Now on to the Senate! The Senate will be holding a special Saturday session tomorrow to debate the House resolution. Republicans used procedural maneuvers to block a debate last week, and they are expected to try to filibuster again tomorrow.Please call your Senators toll-free at 866-340-9281 and tell them to vote for a debate in the Senate.A special thank you is also in order for each of the 17 courageous Republicans who broke ranks to join Democrats in sending a signal to the President that the American people oppose the escalation in Iraq. You can see a list of these brave Representatives here. If one of them represents you, please call them to thank them for making a stand.Today’s bipartisan repudiation of the President’s failed policies in Iraq is an important first step necessary to bring our troops home. The political momentum of this victory will help build pressure to end the war. More opportunities to bring our troops home will come in the next few weeks as Congress votes on the Defense Appropriations bill and other spending bills.Thanks again to all of you whose calls made this success possible!Sincerely,John Isaacs and Guy StevensP.S. Help spread the word! Please forward this email on to five friends.Toke. 
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Comment #1 posted by Toker00 on February 17, 2007 at 08:12:57 PT
ASA/Sat. Sun.
Sat & Sun: Spread the News About Safe Access And Expand the Choir
Reach Out and Educate Your Community About Medical CannabisThanks to all of our supporters who have participated in Medical Marijuana Week! Thousands of you have joined ASA, written Letters to the Editor, called on Congress to hold hearings on medical cannabis, and/or written to medical cannabis prisoners. This weekend, we're calling on you to reach out and educate your community about medical cannabis. Please read on for ways to take action.  1. Saturday: Spread the News About Safe Access: We need more people educated and activated on this issue. Find a local community board in a coffee shop, laundromat, or on a college campus to post information about medical cannabis and Americans for Safe Access. Please print out our one-page outreach sheet to spread the word about safe access.  2. Sunday: Expand the Choir: On Sunday, think about your connections outside of the medical cannabis community. Are you a member of a condition-based organization? Political group? Social club? If not, find one to join. Educate your community about the efficacy of medical cannabis and the need for change in federal law. Please explore community outreach options this Sunday. Once you find a group to reach out to, email Rebecca Saltzman, Field Coordinator at Rebecca for assistance compiling appropriate outreach materials.  3. Become a Member of ASA: Take a moment right now to make a sustaining monthly pledge to defending safe access. Your monthly pledge of $10, $25, $50, or even $100 will let us know we have the resources to keep fighting for you!  4. Spread the Word: Forward this message widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!Sincerely,Steph Sherer
Executive Director
Americans for Safe AccessToke.
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