Re “New rules for medical pot,” Editorial, March 12
Ispent more than 32 years as an officer with a local police department as well as an additional six years as a deputy district attorney with Los Angeles County. During those nearly four decades, a significant percentage of my time and effort was devoted to investigating, arresting and prosecuting countless narcotics and illicit drug offenders.
Within my initial few months as a cop, I made an arrest for possession of one partially smoked marijuana cigarette, a crime that was classified as a felony at that time. Early on as a prosecutor, I sent one individual to prison for 25 years to life (a “third striker”) for possession of a tiny bindle of heroin under the seat of his car.
Looking back on all those years of kicking doors, serving search warrants, removing drug-trade participants from their homes and presenting drug-related cases in court, I am left with one question: Why?
The amount of tax money spent on this (obviously futile) effort could be better used on enhanced education of our youths about the perils of substance abuse (including alcohol) as well as on rehabilitation programs for those who “slip through the cracks.” We’d likely still have money left over for other worthy programs.
Big Bear City
Your editorial notes that state Sen. Lou Correa’s (D-Santa Ana) bill “has problems.” But it ignores my AB 604, which would regulate medical cannabis without the problems your editorial correctly identifies. That includes heavy-handed regulation of legitimate doctors.
My bill provides for discipline of medical bad actors without patronizing guidelines restricting all doctors. The shortcomings of the other bill are not surprising. Its sponsors have historically opposed any regulations and have spent the last 17 years trying to overturn the voter-approved Proposition 215.
Some of those sponsors continue to be quoted as opposing any marijuana use, even though most Californians feel otherwise.
California needs a bill preserving local control over dispensaries while providing for careful oversight of the production, transportation and sale of medical marijuana by an experienced agency equipped to do that. We need oversight to include environmental protection.
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano
Re “Brown, party divided on pot, fracking,” March 10
What would the answer be if we took Gov. Jerry Brown’s “Meet the Press” statement and made a small change? Brown’s question would go like this: “How many people can get drunk and still have a great state or a great nation?”
Prohibition didn’t work out too well for alcohol last century, and it isn’t doing any better on marijuana. We should look to other progressive states for a better way.
Given research suggesting that marijuana use is far less pernicious than alcohol consumption in terms of social tolls — and despite Brown’s off-the-wall comments recently about people who use cannabis somehow dragging society down — I have high hopes that not only will the federal government reclassify medical marijuana out of the complete prohibition of Schedule I, but that California will follow the lead of Colorado and Washington and legalize the recreational use of pot.