Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Orange County Judge For Marijuana Regulation for Adults Over 21

California judge crusades for marijuana legalization

"Anyone under 21 will say it's easier for them to get marijuana
than alcohol … because it is regulated, but to buy drugs from a
dealer you don't need an ID." -- Judge James Gray

by David Crowder
Posted on September 22, 2009

A conservative trial judge from Orange County, Calif., James P. Gray has
become a troubadour for the decriminalization of marijuana as the only
way to put a dent in illegal trafficking and the destruction that rises
from it.

Gray has been on the bench as a governor- appointed municipal court and
superiour court judge since 1983, served as a federal prosecutor on Los
Angeles, run for Congress as a Republican and for the U.S. Senate as a
Libertarian. (See: www.judgejimgray. com)

Addressing the lunch crowd at The Global Public Policy Forum on the U.S.
War on Drugs on the UTEP campus Monday, Gray said the key to the problem
is demand but there is little chance that the appetite for marijuana and
other drugs will lessen in the United States.

If the United States were successful in cutting off the supply of
marijuana from Marijuana, it would come from the Middle East or Asia or
California, where it is already the state's leading cash crop.

By legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana, estimates are the annual
revenues would approach $1.4 billion in California alone. Legislation is
now pending in California to legalize marijuana, Assembly Bill 390, when
and if the federal government allows states to do so.

Gray speculated that legalization would also reduce the availability of
marijuana to minors.

"Anyone under 21 will say it's easier for them to get marijuana
than alcohol … because it is regulated, but to buy drugs from a
dealer you don't need an ID," he said. "And we don't
have Phillip Morris and Jim Beam giving their products away as samples
on high school campuses."

Because of prohibition, he said, drugs are glamorized and the United
States has spent billions of dollars a year prosecuting and keeping
hundreds of thousands of people in prison for succumbing to the
temptation of drugs.

"We have lost more of our civil liberties because of the Way on
Drugs than anything, and if we lose our civil liberties to the
government, we almost never get them back," Gray said.

So, he said, anyone looking for change should not look to the government
because federal agencies, from the DEA to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, are hooked on the money devoted to the War on Drugs.

"The drug war may not be winnable, but it is eminently
fundable," he said.

Gray, who heard no questions or comments challenging his views Monday,
said he thinks public opinion on the issue of drugs is starting to
shift, largely because the cost of the government's 40-year-long War
on Drugs and toll of lives from violence spurred by the drug trade.

"I think we are starting to see change," he said. "And we
only need to change the laws against marijuana. Seventy percent of those
who use drugs only use marijuana."

Gray said he will continue his campaign for changes n the drug laws and
urged people to step out themselves and act, because the government will
not do so on its own.

"It's amazing how much each citizen has," he said, urging
people to call talk radio shows, email their friends and to blog on the
Internet. "It's time to allow ourselves to have an open and
honest discussion."

http://www.newspape rtree.com/ news/4272- california- judge-crusades- for-mar\

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