Pubdate: Sat, 30 Jul 2011
Source: Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA)
Copyright: 2011 Daily Pilot
Author: James P. Gray
Note: JAMES P. GRAY is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, the author of "Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed And What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs" (Temple University Press, 2011), and can be contacted at  .


On Sept. 1 you will have a chance to help us make history. On this
date there will be an event to support the Regulate Marijuana Like
Wine Initiative that will be on the November 2012 ballot. Please join

The event will be hosted by Richard Moriarty at his Newport Beach
Vineyards and Winery, 2128 Mesa Drive, Newport Beach, which overlooks
the Back Bay from behind the Newport Beach Golf Course. This truly
interesting winery isn't open to the public, and doesn't give public
tastings, but Richard is opening his doors for us because he believes
in this cause.

The honorary host for the reception will be Assemblyman Chris Norby,
and Steve Downing, the former deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police
Department, will be joining me as a co-host. The reception will be in
the Wine Cave from 6 to 8 p.m. But it will be preceded by a VIP tour
led by Richard. This will consist of not only the grounds of the
winery, but he will also show us the Lamborghini that he has hanging
from the wall of his living room. In addition, he will be "firing up"
the Lamborghini's engine, which he has turned into a coffee table in
his garage.

So this experience will be fun and obviously something to share with
your friends. But the main reason to attend is to help turn our great
country away from its failed and hopeless policy of Marijuana
Prohibition. As you know, even though it is fully illegal under
federal law, marijuana is still California's largest cash crop (grapes
are No. 2!).

And marijuana is also the largest source of revenue for juvenile
street gangs, Mexican drug cartels and lots of other thugs. By passing
Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, we can take much of that money away from
these violent groups. Of course, the additional benefit of being able
to tax the sale of marijuana is not the reason to vote for this
initiative, but the extra tax revenue won't hurt either.

Of course regulating marijuana like wine will not eliminate these
criminal organizations, but today Mexican drug cartels are not
planting illegal vineyards in our national forests in competition with
Robert Mondavi. In addition, teenagers are not selling Jim Beam to
each other on their high school campuses, but they are selling
marijuana to each other all the time.

Why? Because it is illegal!

But this new initiative actually will make marijuana less for children
than it is now. How is that? Because today under Marijuana Prohibition
it is easier for young people to obtain marijuana, if they want to,
than it is alcohol, because illegal marijuana sellers today don't ask
for I.D.

For the exact language of the initiative, visit
You will see that the initiative expressly addresses what were
perceived to be the defects of Proposition 19, which was on the ballot
in November 2010. Thus, it expressly does not change any laws or
regulations about driving a motor vehicle under the influence of
marijuana, people using or being impaired by marijuana in public or in
the workplace, furnishing marijuana to anyone younger than 21, or
allowing anyone younger than 21 to buy, possess, sell or use marijuana.

In addition, the initiative expressly prohibits any advertising of
recreational marijuana. And instead of allowing each of California's
cities to establish a regulatory system, it mandates the California
Department of Alcohol Beverage Control establish a workable system,
with the wine industry being used as a model.

Yes, even under this new initiative marijuana will still be illegal
under federal law for anyone to buy, use or possess. But does anyone
honestly believe that the federal government has all of the answers?
To the contrary, don't you agree with me that we in California are
adult enough to decide how best to control our health, safety and
welfare regarding marijuana and hemp?

Recently the Drug Enforcement Administration released a statement that
marijuana has absolutely no accepted medical uses. Note that this
pronouncement did not come from the U.S. surgeon general or any other
medical professionals. Instead it came from police officers, who are
literally attempting to practice medicine without a license, and who
are purporting to be more of an authority than either the voters of
California who passed Proposition 215, or the hundreds of medical
doctors in our state who recommend the use of marijuana to their patients.

As you are probably aware, last June the Global Commission on Drug
Policy, which includes a former United Nations secretary general and
United States secretary of state under President Reagan, as well as
former presidents of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, labeled the world's
War on Drugs a complete failure, and called for its repeal. This
action has already been called for by the United States Conference of
Mayors, and just last week the NAACP made the same

You and I now have a large opportunity to put those recommendations
into practice. Personally I believe that the most effective and
patriotic thing I can do for the country I love is to help us repeal
the failed policy of Drug Prohibition. But you do not have to go
nearly that far to believe that there must be a better way,
particularly regarding marijuana.

If you want to help us find that better way, I invite you to support
the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Initiative on Sept. 1. Tickets are
$150 and $1,500 for the VIP tour. For tickets, contact my friend Jason
Pitkin at (949) 232-8882. If you attend, introduce yourself to me as a
supporter because I will want personally to shake your hand.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.