Pubdate: Thu, 27 Jul 2000
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2000 Los Angeles Times
Contact:  Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053
Fax: (213) 237-4712
Author: Patrick Mcgreevy, Annette Kondo, Times Staff Writers


LIBERALLY CONSTRUED: As a Republican running in a predominantly
Democratic district, Assembly candidate Jayne Murphy Shapiro has gone
out of her way to appeal to more liberal voters from Malibu to Agoura

Democrats make up 49% of the voters in the 41st Assembly District,
compared with 33% for Republicans.

Shapiro, an Encino resident, has made much of the fact that she is
pro-choice and has been endorsed by prominent Democrats including
Tammy Bruce, the liberal-leaning former head of the Los Angeles branch
of the National Organization for Women.

Now, Shapiro has once again broken with more conservative members of
her party by announcing her support for the legalization of marijuana
use for medical purposes and a ballot measure that would send
nonviolent drug users to rehabilitation programs instead of jail.

State voters approved a ballot measure in 1996 that allows seriously
ill patients to use marijuana under a doctor's care, but the measure
conflicts with federal law, and the issues involved have been
contended in several court cases.

A registered nurse, Shapiro said she felt compelled to speak out on
the issue because of the experience she had when her husband died from
cancer in 1990. "Those five months from first symptoms to death made
it very clear to me that use of marijuana should be available to
people who need it for medical purposes," Shapiro said.

She said marijuana allowed her physician husband to reduce the nausea
and pain he was suffering, which in turn enabled him to eat more, a
critically important matter for cancer patients.

Shapiro said she still supports criminal penalties for use of
marijuana for recreational purposes but backs Proposition 36 on the
November ballot, which would subject nonviolent drug users to
diversion programs rather than jail time.

"By lifting the penalties associated with medical use and altering the
penalties for criminal use to fit the crime more appropriately,
California citizens can find responsible ways to utilize marijuana,"
Shapiro said.

Fran Pavley, the Democratic contender in the 41st District race, said
she has not taken a stand on Proposition 36 but has concerns because
the measure is opposed by some major law enforcement groups, police
chiefs and sheriffs. Pavley, a former mayor of Agoura Hills, said
Shapiro is attempting to distance herself from her own party.

"She is trying to appeal to the middle-of-the-pack voters," Pavley
said. "Why has she stayed a registered Republican all these years if
she has these views?"
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens