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Friday, September 25, 2009

Libertarian Judge Crusades For Marijuana Legalization

On Sep. 22, "El Paso's Online Newspaper" published an article by David Crowder about Judge Jim Gray, who was the 2004 California Libertarian Party nominee for Senate.  Excerpts:

A conservative trial judge from Orange County, Calif., James P. Gray has become a troubadour for the decriminalization of marijuana as the only way to put a dent in illegal trafficking and the destruction that rises from it.

Gray has been on the bench as a governor-appointed municipal court and superior court judge since 1983, served as a federal prosecutor on Los Angeles, run for Congress as a Republican and for the U.S. Senate as a Libertarian. (See: www.judgejimgray.com)

Addressing the lunch crowd at The Global Public Policy Forum on the U.S. War on Drugs on the UTEP campus Monday, Gray said the key to the problem is demand but there is little chance that the appetite for marijuana and other drugs will lessen in the United States.

By legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana, estimates are the annual revenues would approach $1.4 billion in California alone. Legislation is now pending in California to legalize marijuana, Assembly Bill 390, when and if the federal government allows states to do so.

Gray speculated that legalization would also reduce the availability of marijuana to minors.  “Anyone under 21 will say it’s easier for them to get marijuana than alcohol … because it is regulated, but to buy drugs from a dealer you don’t need an ID,” he said. “And we don’t have Phillip Morris and Jim Beam giving their products away as samples on high school campuses.”

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