What Are You Smoking? 

What Are You Smoking? 
Posted by FoM on April 28, 2000 at 21:26:57 PT
Press Democrat Editorial 
Source: Press Democrat
Marijuana and tobacco have a lot in common. You can smoke them. You can screw up your health with them. Some can't imagine living without them.So, if tobacco were illegal, would the Green Party sponsor an initiative to legalize nicotine in Mendocino County? Just kidding. Tobacco will not be the drug of choice for the Green Party any time soon. 
Cigarettes are marketed by corporations, and pot may be a cash crop, but at least it's our cash crop.Sponsors characterize the initiative as a symbolic repudiation of anti-pot laws and the manner in which they are enforced. Fair enough. Even for people who don't want to legalize grass, the uneven enforcement of drug laws is offensive. In some places, people go to jail for years for possession of a few plants. In other places, they receive citations. This is what happens when an illegal substance is in common use.Still, it's unfortunate that this initiative blurs the lines between two issues that ought to remain separate -- medical marijuana and legalized marijuana.Cancer and AIDS sufferers should have easy access to the relief available from marijuana now, but if they have to wait until the drug is legalized, they're going to wait a long time.Published: April 28, 2000 2000 The Press DemocratPlus:Sheriff Signs Pot Petition By Ucilia WangPress Democrat Staff Writer UKIAH -- Mendocino County Sheriff Tony Craver said Monday he sees no conflict between signing a petition to legalize the personal use of marijuana and upholding laws prohibiting the use.The petition signed by the sheriff, which has enough signatures to qualify as an initiative on the November ballot, would legalize limited personal cultivation and use of marijuana in Mendocino County.Craver said he signed the petition, which is up for consideration by the county Board of Supervisors today, to help create an opportunity for the public to voice their opinion on the issue. But he said he intends to continue enforcing state laws on marijuana even if the initiative passes."I certainly don't endorse the use of marijuana," Craver said. "I am endorsing the right of the people to be heard."Supervisors could either adopt the initiative as a county ordinance or put it to a public vote. Some supervisors said they prefer to let the public decide.The Green Party-sponsored initiative is the first in the county that aims at making recreational use of marijuana legal.The initiative has garnered more than twice the number of signatures required to place it on the ballot, not surprising in a county that has one of the few remaining medical marijuana clubs in the state.Craver said despite decades of efforts by law enforcement agencies to suppress marijuana growth and use, the number of marijuana users and plants seized has continued to increase each year.The initiative would offer a chance to gauge what the public thinks about marijuana use and whether laws should be changed, Craver said."I endorse the people's ability to express their desires, even if it's an exercise in futility," said Craver. "It will send a message to people (policy makers) in Sacramento and Washington."Craver said he doesn't use marijuana, but he refused to divulge how he will vote if the initiative is on the November ballot.Under the initiative, the district attorney and the sheriff would not be able to arrest and prosecute people who grow "25 or fewer adult flowering female marijuana plants or the equivalent in dried marijuana." It would also direct the county to lobby the state and federal governments to legalize the personal use of marijuana.Dan Hamburg, a spokesman for the Green Party, said the initiative is about opening up access."It's analogous to people brewing a little beer in their basements or growing grapes for wine," Hamburg said. He added that there is no difference between unwinding with a double martini and relaxing with a puff of marijuana.The sale and commercial cultivation of marijuana would still be illegal under the initiative.County Counsel Peter Klein, in a written opinion, said because state laws supersede local ordinances, the initiative isn't likely to be held up in court if it passes.District Attorney Norman Vroman said Monday he agrees with Klein's opinion.Published: April 25, 2000 2000 The Press DemocratPlus:Initiative To Legalize Pot Put on Ballot Apr. 26, 2000By Ucilia WangPress Democrat Staff WriterAn initiative to legalize recreational marijuana use in Mendocino County will be placed on the November ballot, despite the likelihood of it being unenforceable.The county Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to put the initiative to a public vote. The supervisors could have adopted it as a county ordinance but opted to let voters decide."We want the voters to have the ability to send whatever message they want to send," said Supervisor Richard Shoemaker.The Green Party-sponsored initiative is seen more as a public statement about marijuana use than as a way to skirt current state and federal laws that prohibit the sale, cultivation and use of marijuana."It is nothing more than a policy statement. It's clearly illegal," said Michael Delbar, board chairman.Past efforts to legalize marijuana in California haven't been successful. And county law enforcement officials said that if this initiative passes, it cannot be enforced."We realize that this is a political statement," said Dan Hamburg, a spokesman for the Green Party. "But once the vote occurs, it will be a step forward in de-escalating the war on marijuana."The initiative would prevent county law enforcement and the district attorney from arresting and prosecuting people who have 25 or fewer "adult flowering female marijuana plants or the equivalent in dried marijuana."The initiative also would direct the county to lobby the state and federal governments to legalize the personal use of marijuana.The language of the initiative has been deemed unenforceable by county Counsel Peter Klein, who said the county cannot have rules that supersede state and federal laws. But the legality of the initiative will have to be decided in court.Sheriff Tony Craver and District Attorney Norm Vroman said they agreed with Klein's opinion.The county now has one of the few remaining medical marijuana clubs in the state -- though the club is embroiled in a legal battle with the federal government and by court order cannot distribute marijuana.California voters in 1996 passed Prop. 215 legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. But many medical marijuana clubs in the state have been shut down after the federal government challenged the initiative's legality in court.Mendocino County supervisors in 1998 passed a resolution, calling for Prop. 215 to be implemented.Published: April 26, 2000 2000 The Press DemocratRelated Articles & Web Site:The Green Party NORML Voters To Weigh In On Recreational MJ County Initiative To Decriminalize Marijuana Articles On Mendocino County:
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on April 29, 2000 at 04:07:11 PT
Nice articles FoM......JAH shine on you........dddd
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