Pubdate: Wed, 07 Apr 1999
Date: 04/07/1999
Source: Willamette Week (OR)
Author: M. Casey Condon, Northeast Glisan Street, Portland

Sheriff Dan Noelle's job is to enforce laws, which are drafted by the
Legislature and signed into law by the executive branch, or decreed by
direct vote of the citizenry.

He is therefore overstepping the boundaries of his position by using
his official title and resources to amend the medical-marijuana law
["Dope Meddlers," WW, March 17, 1999]

His efforts offend basic U.S. political philosophy in three ways.
First, his intent is to alter the legal will of the people.

Because of past citizen activism, the Oregon political system provides
for direct citizen input into the creation of laws. This is a unique
franchise, and we must aggressively protect it. Dan Noelle should be
rebuked for attempting to undermine this democratic ideal.

Second, the motivation behind his efforts is tainted with conflict of
interest. His organization benefits financially from drug prohibition
through federal, state and local funding and seizure laws.

Third, his organization benefits also by extending its police powers
since increases in police authority provide tautological justification
for increases in police authority and, therefore, police budgets.

Police departments securely entrench themselves within the fear they
help to manufacture. How many cops did Clinton put on the streets this

And didn't Portland add over 80 just this year?

Take a look at his proposal to have three annual searches of legal
growers. This is Draconian. It violates the due-process rights of the
Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as extended to
the states by the 14th Amendment, Section 1. Also, it necessitates a
greater police presence (even where there is no threat) and increased
police budget.

What next, random searches of book dealers to make absolutely sure
they don't have a stolen copy of the first edition of The Great
Gatsby? We can never be too certain.... Right, Dan. After all,
liberties and the Constitution just get in the way of your efforts to
subjugate us naughty citizens.

Whether Sheriff Noelle is motivated by philosophical opposition to
democracy, a desire to increase police funding, a desire to suppress
Constitutional liberties and create a police state, or even personal
moral attitudes, we should not allow him to play out his intentions,
especially when his strategy is to curb the freedoms of innocent citizens.

M. Casey Condon,
Northeast Glisan Street, Portland