Pubdate: Sat, 17 May 1997
Source: Oregonian (OR)
Author: Arthur R. Sobey

Try alternatives to jailing pot smokers

Your story about Phil Smith "Marijuana advocate makes deal" (May 7), is
indicative of the schizophrenic nature of the debate that is ongoing in
Oregon about marijuana.

On one hand, many, including your newspaper, cry out for stronger criminal
laws regarding marijuana, and the additional prisons that will be required
to incarcerate people like Smith.  Such laws, it is believed, will somehow
reduce drug experimentation and use by curious teens.

On the other hand, the judge has allowed Smith to serve his three-year
sentence of probation and work release in California, where the medicine
needed by Smith, marijuana, is legally available.

This compassionate judge was not bound by mandatory sentencing
requirements.  We need more people interested in workable solutions for
controlling drugs, and fewer of the reefer maniacs whose sole interest
seems to be filling up jails with non-violent drug users.

Arthur R. Sobey

Corpus Christi, Texas