Pubdate: Sat, 12 May 2012
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Orange County Register
Author: Barbara Venezia


In honor of Mother's Day on Sunday, Diane Goldstein of North Tustin 
was busy all week with media interviews to support the Moms United to 
End the War on Drugs movement.

Goldstein, a retired Redondo Beach police lieutenant with almost 22 
years of service, has also been a member of the group Law Enforcement 
Against Prohibition, or LEAP, since 2010. She lectures across the 
country and throughout Orange County on behalf of the group, 
advocating for legislative change in drug laws and the legalization 
of cannabis. Article Tab: Diane Goldstein of North Tustin, a retired 
Redondo Beach police lieutenant who is working to support the Moms 
United to Stop the War on Drugs movement. Diane Goldstein of North 
Tustin, a retired Redondo Beach police lieutenant who is working to 
support the Moms United to Stop the War on Drugs movement.

LEAP was just one of several organizations to support the Moms United 
movement as it kicked off a press conference rally Wednesday on the 
steps of the Los Angeles Superior Courthouse.

Moms United members hoped the press conference would create a 
Mother's Day media blitz centered on their message about ending drug 

"Moms were the driving force in repealing alcohol prohibition and now 
moms will play a similar role in ending the war on drugs," said 
Gretchen Burns Bergman, one of the leaders of Moms United and founder 
of A New Path (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing).

Moms United leaders include Bergman, of San Diego, the mother of two 
sons who have struggled with heroin addiction and repeated 
incarceration; Denise Cullen of Palm Desert, a social worker 
specializing in grief counseling whose son died from an overdose two 
years ago; and Julia Negron of Los Angeles, director of A New PATH LA 
whose son who has experienced repeated incarceration for non-violent 
drug offenses.

Goldstein was a keynote speaker at Wednesday's rally and strongly 
supports decriminalizing not only cannabis but all drugs.

She says it was her years on the police force that convinced her that 
the war on drugs was failing. She says instead of incarcerating drug 
addicts, treating addiction is where our focus should be.

"Right now we are using a one-size-fits-all solution and one size 
doesn't fit all in this problem," she told me. "Funding for 
incarceration continues and not harm reduction, which is a long-term solution."

Goldstein believes that as a state and a nation, we need to start 
funding drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, not more jails.

She says the government is already treating heroin addicts with 
methadone clinics rather than incarceration. But no one wants to talk 
about the fact that these programs are working, she says.

I first met Goldstein back in September when retired Orange County 
Superior Court Judge Jim Gray kicked off fundraising for his Regulate 
Marijuana like Wine Act of 2012. She was there advocating for Gray on 
behalf of LEAP.

When we talked last week, I asked Goldstein how the Regulate 
Marijuana Act was coming now that Gray is the Vice Presidential 
candidate on the Libertarian Presidential ticket.

She told me the act did not gather enough signatures to make it onto 
the ballot in 2012; neither did any of the other six or seven pro- 
marijuana initiatives.

Goldstein attributes the initiatives' failures to in-fighting among 
the groups promoting them.

"A big part of it was people trying to protect their own 
self-interest," she said.

Here's how Goldstein explained it: Certain groups believe that since 
cannabis is a plant, it should be treated like a tomato - with no limitations.

And then there were those who felt that age was an issue. Some felt 
19 was an adequate legal age to use marijuana - and that was their 
death knell, she said.

"The difference between all of these and Regulate Marijuana Like Wine 
was California voters are willing to accept an alcohol regulatory 
model on adult use of marijuana," Goldstein says.

But even with a survey she says showed 62 percent of people polled 
were in favor of this alcohol type of regulation for cannabis, Gray 
still couldn't raise enough funds to support this campaign.

When I spoke with Goldstein on Friday, I asked if this Moms United 
movement wasn't contributing to confusion on the marijuana 
legalization issue. After all, cannabis decriminalization is quite 
different from asking folks to vote for the legalization of drugs like heroin.

She didn't agree. "Marijuana is the first place this is going to 
start, and it will be the first step in opening up the discussion for 
other models," she said.

And that might be, but as someone who supports the decriminalization 
of cannabis, who strongly believes in the medical benefits of the 
drug, and has seen it help people, I see this Moms United movement as 
only muddying the waters here once again.

I'm not on board for this broader picture, and my guess is it would 
be a tough sell - if not impossible - to get voter approval.

I do agree treatment is key for addicts, but I'm not ready to say 
let's decriminalize heroin or other hard drugs.

What's frustrating for me as an observer is unless there's a 
one-pointed focus in the effort to end cannabis prohibition soon, 
we'll be discussing this issue for years to come with no resolution.

Maybe in this case, moms don't know best.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom