Letters To The Editor

Dear Editor,
The alleged “study” by the Drug Policy Alliance appears untrue in at least two respects (“Citing high black arrests, NAACP endorses pot legalization,” Capitol Weekly, June 1).

Defendants accused of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana are charged with a misdemeanor, and are thus entitled to appointment of a public defender if financially unable to afford a private attorney. Secondly, the maximum fine for conviction of such a charge amounts to $100, not “hundreds of dollars.” For four years as a Superior Court judge, I tried to save taxpayers and estimated $5 million annually by a passage of a bill rendering possession of one ounce or less an infraction, which would mean no entitlement to a taxpayer supported lawyer or a jury trial. An infraction is not considered a prior conviction for purposes of higher sentence, but rather resembled a speeding ticket or other traffic infraction. The Assembly, however, refused on four different votes over four years to approve such legislation.

Judge Quentin L. Kopp (retired)
San Francisco

Dear Editor,
Re: “Governor seeks delay in renewable energy rule,” John Howard has once again reported incomplete and flat-out wrong information without bothering to check with the Administration to get the facts.

Howard wrongly says there is confusion regarding the state’s renewable energy policy. It should not be confusing to anyone, especially Howard, as the Governor’s priority has always been to enact an achievable 33 percent renewable energy standard by 2020.

Howard also says out-of-state renewable power cannot be verified, yet an independent, renewable energy tracking system is already in place: the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System, which tracks renewable energy generation and creates renewable certificates. The correct mix of in-state and out-of-state resources will ensure a healthy and competitive regional energy market and will keep costs down for California ratepayers.

Finally, Howard makes another entirely false statement, saying Mojave desert projects may be threatened unless a state RPS policy is in place by the end of the year. In the first place, we will enact the 33 percent standard this year either through legislation or the board’s adoption of regulations. And more importantly, these companies chose California because of our forward-thinking energy goals and environmental policies, and are not dependent on the legislature’s action.

The Governor will continue to take action to grow California’s renewable energy market, which is now driving private-sector investment, creating jobs and helping to secure our energy supply. And we will continue to be vigilant in ensuring the people get the true facts.

John Moffatt,
Chief Deputy Legislative Secretary for Governor Schwarzenegger

Dear Editor,
As a fourth generation Californian, I feel compelled to speak out in favor of the legalization of marijuana.

Perhaps the most compelling reason that I can see is that the law fails to deter anyone from using the substance. It’s money wasted. The other reason is that the punishment for marijuana use does nothing to help anyone. Certainly jail is far worse for anyone than marijuana could ever be.

No one can deny that even after years of exhaustive study, there has never been a cause and effect relationship established between marijuana and any disease. Marijuana is obviously much less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco and does not contain any poisons or any physically addictive component. It simply is not harmful enough to warrant the negative attention that it has been given and its legalization would take money out of the hands of the drug cartels making California a safer place to live.

Ronald William Lemley

Dear Editor,
Regarding “Leading democrats opposed to Prop 19” (Capitol Weekly, July 22), Capitol Weekly needs to correct and retract very incorrect information in the story. The story states that “It’s old news for The Netherlands….On November 2, Californians will vote on it,” implying that cannabis is legal in The Netherlands.

Unfortunately, due to the constant misinformation put forward by the legalization lobby and popular culture, the public and legislators may think cannabis is legal in The Netherlands.  In fact, quite the contrary: The Netherlands has a policy of harm reduction, not legalization.

Let me quote from the 2009 document, “Drug Policies in the Netherlands,” by the Trimbos Institute: “The policies are designed to be pragmatic, humane, realistic and based on scientifically supported fact… Legalization of drugs is not a sensible option…but an entirely drug-free society is not considered realistic or feasible.  The core messages of Dutch drug policy are: Drugs are illegal in The Netherlands. The use of drugs is not a criminal offense. Dutch law makes a distinction between soft and hard drugs because of the different health risks. (Cannibis) coffee shops are tolerated out of concerns with health protection.  Information and prevention is an essential part of public health policies in The Netherlands and is aimed primarily at young people.”

The Dutch government still has a policy of harm reduction but it has greatly changed its policy.  Many cannabis coffee shops have been closed.  

Membership is often required. Many large scale drug dealers have been convicted and sent to jail. Drug tourists seeking cannabis in order towns can no longer obtain cannabis, according to a recent decision by European Union Court.

Proposition 19 would be outlawed in The Netherlands.  Harm reduction is not legalization. Let’s have “harm-reduction.”  Proposition 19 is dangerous to youth and the most vulnerable  of our society.

Fiona McGregor, MSW
San Francisco

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