Pubdate: Mon, 16 May 2005
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2005 The Sacramento Bee
Note: Does not publish letters from outside its circulation area.
Author: Nikos A. Leverenz


Re "Lungren, back in House, finds he's elder statesman," May 2: The image 
of Dan Lungren as an "elder statesman" is a chilling one.Lungren's prior 
record as a congressman and California attorney general make clear that 
neither limited government nor respect for the will of voters are among his 
cardinal political values. When it comes to the drug war, which annually 
wastes billions of taxpayer dollars and ruins hundreds of thousands of 
lives, Lungren always places sloganeering and "get tough" posturing above 
all other policy considerations. Nowhere is this more evident than on the 
subject of medical marijuana. As attorney general, Lungren ordered raids on 
medical cannabis clubs. After Californians passed Proposition 215, 
expressly authorizing the use of medical marijuana, he refused to enforce 
that landmark law in wanton disregard of his state constitutional duties.

Perhaps his stint as a radio talk show host taught him a degree of 
intellectual humility. If not, his trademark intractability will serve him 
every bit as well as it did 20 years ago. Given the vogue of big-government 
conservatism, where spendthrift political indulgences in the evisceration 
of liberties are not vices, he should feel right at home.

- - Nikos A. Leverenz, Sacramento, Analyst, Drug Policy Alliance
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