James Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and was the 2004 California Libertarian Party nominee for Senate. On Wednesday he testified at a legislative hearing in Sacramento on marijuana legalization. At right is a five-minute video of his testimony. Also, Gray is speaking on the drug war at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach on Nov. 5. From an article by Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury News:
Marijuana legalization advocates and law enforcement officials duked it out in a three-hour legislative hearing Wednesday on whether making the drug legal under state law would be good public policy.
Advocates said legalization and regulation could bring as much as $1.4 billion in state and local excise and sales tax revenue per year; control the drug's potency; do more to keep it out of children's hands; and end a centurylong double standard in which alcohol and tobacco — which they say are more harmful — are legal while marijuana isn't, leading to a war on drugs particularly destructive to people of color.
The hearing was convened by Assembly Public Safety Committee Chairman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, who earlier this year introduced a bill to legalize and tax marijuana under a system not unlike that used for alcohol. Even as several proposed ballot measures for legalization seek to qualify for next year's ballot, Ammiano is rewriting his bill to bring it forward again in January, and Wednesday's hearing was supposed to help him gather input for that revamp.
Rosalie Pacula, co-director of the Drug Policy Research Center at renowned think-tank RAND Corp., said prohibition has kept marijuana prices high, and legalization with heavy taxation that elevates marijuana's price far above the cost of its production will lead to a thriving black market.
Retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray said the state can allow and regulate marijuana without condoning its use just like alcohol and tobacco, but any legalization legislation must ban advertising lest marijuana use become glamorized. [Gray also said: "Today it is easier for young people to get marijuana than it is to get alcohol. Illegal dealers do not ask for I.D."]