CA Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom "Steps Up" for Marijuana Legalization

Originally posted by the ACLU of California.

If you missed the rousing speech delivered by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom over the weekend at the state’s Democratic Party convention in Los Angeles, do yourself a favor and take 10 minutes to give it a watch.

In the strongest language yet used by any elected official in California, Newsom boldly offered a blistering critique of the criminal justice system and the willingness of too many in California to simply abide by the status quo, arguing that needlessly harsh sentences for low level, non-violent crimes have ravaged entire communities – particularly communities of color – and cost state taxpayers billions of dollars. And, he said, the time has come to have a “serious debate among serious people” about legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana.

“How many lives have to be derailed before we realize the learning curve (on the war on drugs) is too slow and too costly,” Newsom said. “How long before we realize drug addiction isn’t a crime, it’s a disease. There never was and dare I say never will be a society free of drugs, as much as we’d like there to be. So it’s time for all of us to step up and step in and lead once again in California.”

Newsom highlighted the astronomical jump in California’s prison population from about 20,000 in 1977 when the state did away with indeterminate sentencing to over 170,000 by 2007, a reality that mirrors the addiction to incarceration that has plagued the nation as a whole and resulted in the U.S. laying claim to 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

“It was in 1971 when Richard Nixon, a Californian, declared a war on drugs as a backlash to massive shifts in cultural values,” Newsom said. “And since the 1970’s, our learning curve on the war on drugs has cost the taxpayers more than $1 trillion and counting. And that’s not even the most significant cost to our failed policies. Over that same period of time, the United States of America has spent over $120 billion to arrest some 37 million people for non-violent drug offenses. Think about that. That’s the equivalent of nearly the entire population of our great state.”

Last year, Newsom agreed to chair a blue ribbon commission convened by the ACLU of California to study the complex legal and policy issues that must be resolved as California considers legalizing marijuana for adults. As Newsom said Saturday, it is imperative that “if and when marijuana is legalized in California it can be done safely and effectively and implemented in a way that maintains our health, our well-being and our safety in our diverse communities.”

“Once and for all, it’s time we realize that the war on drugs is nothing more than a war on communities of color and on the poor,” Newsom said. “It is fundamentally time for drug policies that recognize and respect the full dignity of human beings. We can’t wait. We’ve been walking into the future backwards for too long.”

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Anonymous

Why would I do that? I'm a Republican for Obama and that's NOT the same thing as a Democrat.
All this stuff is too off the deep end for ME, and I don't even go off the deep end as a Republican, which is why I'm a Republican for Obama.
I'm NOT OTOH a Republican for legalizing marijuana.

I wouldn't mind other people wanting to legalize it if it it made more LOGICAL sense to do so. But it sounds like a boatload of people who just want to smoke a joint, or Mr. Bud, or whatEVER they're calling it and this is their way of justifying their lifestyle choices.
Marijuana in its MEDICAL form is nothing like the rolled cigarette kind. For one thing, you get ONLY THC in the medical form. In the doobie roll-a-joint form, you get all the same chemicals you find in straight tobacco plus the THC. There are over 400 chemicals in cigarette and rolled doobie smokes after you light it and inhale the contents.
So how is it okay to legalize smoking something ELSE that can give you cancer? Not the THC but the other carcinogenic chemicals you find in most smoke. And carbon monoxide that displaces oxygen which is one of the other things that gives you the high. If you displace ENOUGH oxygen you're going to end up dead. I can't believe that's what people REALLY want, I think they have no CLUE that it CAN happen.

I lived with a doctor who MADE medications for people, and he stood firm in his beliefs about the dangers of smoking marijuana, which to him was more of a professional statement than an opinion.
They've had medical marijuana for over 20 years. Therefore, I fail to see what legalizing it all around is doing for anybody except enabling them to get high with no immediate consequences. But they'll pay sooner or later. If not now then certainly later.

My biggest fear is that people are going to smoke it around me like they do cigarettes and I'll have one more thing to wonder if it's going to set off an asthma attack.
I've had an asthma attack from being around normal smoke so it's a valid concern.

Anonymous

Not valid concerns.

Anonymous

"But it sounds like a boatload of people who just want to smoke a joint, or Mr. Bud, or whatEVER they're calling it and this is their way of justifying their lifestyle choices" Not True

"For one thing, you get ONLY THC in the medical form." Not True

"In the doobie roll-a-joint form, you get all the same chemicals you find in straight tobacco plus the THC" Not True

"So how is it okay to legalize smoking something ELSE that can give you cancer?" Not True

Anonymous

.1 none of your concerns are valid or legitimate, sorry.

Anonymous

I agree with number 2^^^

You have no valid concerns number 1^^^, you very much sound like a person who doesn't give a damn about anyone but yourself. I breathe your air too and have asthma, but not the time you have to complain about it. I would rather take that energy and enjoy life with it. Most people with valid concerns do.

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