The rantings of a Public Defender constantly fighting against society's pervasive Police Industrial Complex. Enjoy the unique perspective of one whose life's work is to fight the system through the system.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Further Reflections on the Marijuana Legalization Initiative in California

I posted in the wee hours (I couldn't sleep) about my beliefs about the coming marijuana legalization initiative on the November 2010 ballot. I haven't found the actual text of the initiative, or even the number just yet, but here is a link to a site called Ballotpedia, a website that seems to have a fair description of the initiative: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Marijuana_Legalization_Initiative_(2010)

My post this morning generated a pretty cool response from a site called Legal Blog Watch. Here is the post: http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/legal_blog_watch/2010/05/public-defender-laments-inevitable-failure-of-pot-legalization-referendum.html I am treated pretty faily by the writer of the piece, an attorney named Eric Lipman. His discussion of what I said is on his blog, at the site listed above. He takes me to task a bit for what I said, but he reminded me of something improtant: Don't make a comment on the web unless you are prepared to support it. And even if you can support it, prepare to take some heat anyway. Read his post - it's pretty good.

Well, then I started looking and I found the Marijuana Policy Project at: http://www.mppcalifornia.org/home/ I must admit that the articles seem pretty well-reasoned on that site. And there is a neat little video by a guy named Mike Meno at http://www.mpp.org/ This young guy is VERY well spoken. In fact, he should be the spokesperson for at least some of the legalization effort.

My opinion on whether the initiative will pass hasn't changed - the recent drop of support for the legalization initiative indicates to me that Californians are still pretty skeptical. A comment to my last post at Public Defender Dude illustrates this. I believe that many people will let fear guide their decision-making. After al, we don't know how bad things will get when we open this box, right? And when the vast overwhelming majority of police agencies say that marijuana legalization is bad, well, who wants to disagree with the police, right?

But if spokespeople like Mike Meno are able to get their voices out there, and if prominent people actually actually start to take note of some of the silly things that those on the prohibition side are saying, then maybe things will change. For example, the U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerklikowske just said within the last few days that, as to marijuana, the Obama administration is "not exploring prohibition." Well, that's just plain stupid. What we currently have, like it or hate it, IS prohibition. The issue is whether the marijuana prohibition should continue. Because I don't believe that the U.S. Drug Czar is an idiot (No one appoints a complete idiot for such a high profile office in this day and age), I have to believe that he is a liar. How could he not know what prohibition means? If more high-profile discussions start about the rhetoric on the other side, maybe, just maybe, legalization will stand a chance.

We can only hope, right?

Dennis R. Wilkins
The Guest PD Blogger

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