Pubdate: Tue, 10 Feb 2009
Source: Daily Bruin (UCLA, CA Edu)
Copyright: 2009, ASUCLA Student Media
Author: Daniel Schonhaut
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)


Trial Judge And Author Jim Gray Advocates Cleaning Up The Federal Effort
To Fight The Drug Problem

Judge Jim Gray, a leading authority on drug policy and author of "Why Our
Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It," will speak at UCLA

Gray will be discussing his opinions on the flaws of the national drug
policy and what should be done to combat a growing illegal narcotics

Students for Sensible Drug Policy at UCLA is hosting the event, which will
take place in Bunche Hall at 6 p.m.

Gray will discuss his support for the discontinuation of the war on drugs
in favor of a program that would legalize and regulate some drugs.

"People must be held accountable for their actions, instead of for what
they put into their bodies," Gray said in a statement on his Web site.

Gray believes the federal drug war has aggravated the drug problem by
forcing it underground.

"The War on Drugs has directly created an enormously large and lucrative
black market that has corrupted institutions, people in all walks of life,
and, most especially, children, here and all around the world," he said.

Gray, who completed his undergraduate education at UCLA in 1966, has
presided over the Superior Court of Orange County since 1989. He was a
candidate for U.S. Congress in 1998 and for U.S. Senate in 2004.

Lori Singer, vice president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at UCLA
and a fourth-year mathematics student, said she invited Gray to speak on
behalf of the group.

Singer said she contacted Gray through Law Enforcement Against
Prohibition, an organization of law enforcement officials who speak out
against the prohibition of narcotics.

"I was hoping to get someone from law enforcement to speak about drug
reform, and I thought I might be able schedule a police officer. I was
really excited when I heard Judge Gray was available," Singer said.

Gray is scheduled to speak for about an hour, after which there will be a
brief question and answer session. Students will be encouraged to learn
about the ways they can get involved with drug reform, Singer said.

This will be the first event Students for Sensible Drug Policy has
organized this year. Singer said she believes at least 40 people will

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a nationwide organization of college
students who advocate taking a new approach to drug education and

"If we don't reform our drug laws, we're going to be facing unnecessary
prison growth, increased taxes, increased drug-related crimes and the loss
of civil liberties," said Alyssa Linn, president of Students for Sensible
Drug Policy and a third-year American literature and culture student.

"One of the things we're focusing on is getting rid of the DARE program,
which is not only ineffective, but has been shown by some studies to be
adversely effective," Singer said.

The group also advocates the adoption of a "good samaritan" policy that
would exempt students who call for help in a case of alcohol poisoning or
drug overdose from facing criminal charges.

"You don't want people to be afraid to call 911 because they don't want to
get busted," Singer said.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is busy planning its next activity after
today's speaker event.

Linn said she hopes to encourage students to attend a protest on Feb. 23
at the Los Angeles Courthouse on the behalf of Charles C. Lynch, who was
convicted in August 2008 of distributing marijuana despite having acquired
a permit from the city of Morro Bay to sell medical marijuana.

The UCLA chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy was founded in 2006.
The group has grown steadily since then, and currently has 112 members on
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