Pubdate: Tue, 24 Apr 2012
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2012 Lee Enterprises
Author: Steve Lathrop


The route is familiar. The message the same. Only the mode of 
transportation has been changed.

In 2003, Howard Wooldridge rode horseback from Savannah, Ga., across 
the country to Newport on the Oregon Coast to promote his belief that 
marijuana should be treated like alcohol. Now 60, Wooldridge is 
retracing the trip in reverse, this time on a bicycle.

"I was in your paper nine years ago when I came through on a horse," 
said Wooldridge, who stopped at the Democrat-Herald on Monday. "It 
was a Paul Revere-like ride to inform America."

He and his brother Frosty, 65, and friend Wayne Oberding, 70, set out 
Sunday from Newport expecting to reach their Georgia destination in 
about two months. He still sees himself in the Paul Revere role 
alerting people to his cause.

"There is a need to put an end to marijuana prohibition," he said. "I 
don't use the word legalize. I just want to get police back to the 
business of protecting the public."

Wooldridge says marijuana is an individual choice and not something 
that the government can control. He said law enforcement efforts 
should be focused on public safety and protecting the innocent, 
especially children.

"The government can't fix stupid," said Wooldridge, a retired 
detective from Michigan. "Marijuana should be treated like alcohol."

The trio, decked out in T-shirts promoting their trek, will be 
peddling up to 60 miles a day, camping most of the time. They will 
visit parts of 10 states.

"The hospitality on my last trip was amazing, but part of that may 
have been because of Misty," Wooldridge said, referring to his horse. 
"I'm not expecting the same thing this time."

Motels will likely be used every few days in order to shower and 
clean up. Wooldridge has no public appearances planned. He is 
counting on the ride alone to draw attention to the cause.

Wooldridge has been touting his cause for 15 years and is currently a 
lobbyist against what he calls drug prohibition in Washington, D.C.

"I'm trying to make something happen on the federal level," he said. 
"I want people in each state to make their own determination about 
it. Let Oregon run Oregon."
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D