Pubdate: Wed, 08 Nov 2000
Source: Press Democrat, The (CA)
Copyright: 2000 The Press Democrat
Contact:  Letters Editor, P. O. Box 569, Santa Rosa CA 95402
Fax: (707) 521-5305
Author: Mike Geniella, The Press Democrat
Bookmark: Link to drug policy reform initiative


Winning Measure G Allows Up To 25 Pot Plants For Personal Use

By a 58-42 margin Tuesday, Mendocino County voters approved a measure
to decriminalize personal use of marijuana, a first in the United States.

The Green Party-sponsored Measure G ran strong in every area of the
county, and especially on the Mendocino Coast where the final vote
count widened the winning margin significantly.

Supporters were jubilant early Wednesday morning.

Former Rep. Dan Hamburg, a former Democrat who joined the Green Party
and helped campaign for Measure G, said the outcome underscores
Mendocino County residents' weariness with state and federal campaigns
against marijuana growers.

"The decisive outcome should send the message we were hoping: People
who are intimately aware of the government's anti-marijuana crusade
are demanding that the focus of lawmakers and law enforcement shift to
hard, dangerous drugs and not an illicit weed that's been around for
centuries," said Hamburg.

Measure G support cut across political boundaries and age

"I'm old enough to remember Prohibition. That didn't work, and neither
are the marijuana laws," said Anne Rogers of Boonville. Rogers said
she voted for Measure G because she believes it's time to change
criminal laws surrounding personal use of marijuana.

Patricia Kubran of Redwood Valley said she, too, voted for the
measure. "I feel the courts are crowded enough. Let's focus on the
real criminals."

Although there was no organized opposition, numerous county political
and education leaders spoke out against Measure G, fearing passage
would send the wrong message to young people. The marijuana measure,
which has attracted national attention, would allow individuals to
grow and harvest up to 25 plants. Sale and transportation of marijuana
still would be illegal under the measure's provisions.

Local law enforcement leaders said the measure is mostly symbolic.
Sheriff Tony Craver and District Attorney Norman Vroman said they will
enforce state and federal marijuana laws, which take precedent over
local laws.

The marijuana vote topped a local ballot that consisted mainly of city
elections in Ukiah, Willits and Fort Bragg, and a $30 million hospital
bond measure on the Mendocino Coast.

In a closely watched race for Ukiah mayor, current City Council member
Philip Ashiku won with 46 percent of the vote. Challenger Kathy Libby
trailed with 41 percent. Challenger David Dickey, who ran
unsuccessfully in June for the county Board of Supervisors, received
12 percent even though he dropped out of the mayor's race a week
before the election.

Among five candidates seeking two seats on the Ukiah City Council,
candidate Eric Larson was the top vote-getter with 26 percent.
Incumbent Roy Smith squeaked by challenger Paul Andersen with 22.8
percent of the vote. Andersen received 22.2 percent. Candidate Jim
Mulheren had 19 percent. Candidate Ed Harnett was running last with 9

On the Mendocino Coast, a count of absentee ballots showed a $5.5
million bond issue to upgrade the Mendocino Coast Hospital captured a
whopping 81 percent of the vote.

In Willits, incumbents Bruce Burton and Karen Oslund won re-election,
but fellow council member Terry Harvey lost to Tami Jorgensen.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake