Conservative Judge: the most harmful thing about marijuana is jail.

April 5, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

Judge James P. Gray is a trial Judge in Orange County, California, a former attorney in the Navy JAG corps, a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles; he has also been a civil litigation attorney for a private law firm.  In these two videos, he talks about marijuana and our “failed and hopeless drug policy” in America.

According to Gray, it’s easier for kids to get marijuana than alcohol because alcohol is regulated by the government and marijuana is regulated by drug dealers on the street.

Image by warrentedarrest at Flickr (creative commons)

Image by warrentedarrest at Flickr (creative commons)

These are excellent videos, caused by a thoughtful judge who is in a position to know.

If we started treating marijuana as we do alcohol, we would see five immediate benefits:

California would save $1 Billion in state expenses currently used to prosecute marijuana offenses.

California would generate $1.3B in take revenue per year in California (marijuana is currently the number one cash crop in California, with grapes being #2).

We’d make marijuana less available than it is now, and the quality of marijuana would be better regulated than it is now.

The entire medical marijuana controversy would go away–the Federal government is currently acting like a “bully” harassing sick people.

The hemp industry is a viable industrial crop, more valuable than cotton.   You can get more paper from an acre of hemp than an acre of trees, and it’s much more environmentally friendly.    The diesel engine was originally designed to run on hemp.  The sails of the ship “Old Ironsides,” The U.S. Constitution were made of hemp fibers.  The original copy of the founding document, the U.S. Constitution was made of hemp.  It is an extremely valuable crop that we fail to exploit.

Why don’t we treat marijuana like alcohol, even though the majority of people are willing to do this?   Why does the federal government care?   Here’s Judge Gray’s belief:  At least 75% of everyone in the U.S. who uses any illicit substance uses only marijuana.   By legalizing and regulating marijuana, the federal government would no longer justify our “colossal prison-industrial complex.”  Many government jobs depend on the “war on drugs.” Two Congressmen have admitted to Judge Gray that “the war on drugs is not winnable, but it’s imminently fund-able.”  He concludes that the federal government is “addicted to the drug war funding.”

For more on the harmlessness of marijuana, see this earlier DI post.

These videos were produced by Lee Stranahan, a writer, photographer and independent filmmaker.  He also blogs for The Huffington Post .


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Category: Addictions, law and order, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. William says:

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    The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) is a grass roots organization driven by a single objective. We want the United States government to reclaim sole authority for state and federal prisons on US soil.

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    Please Help Us. We Need Your Support. Help Us Spread The Word About This Monumental And Courageous Challenge To Create Positive Change. Place The Link To The Petition On Your Website! Pass It On!

    The SINGLE VOICE PETITION and the effort to abolish private “for profit” prisons is the sole intent of NPSCTAPP. Our project does not contain any additional agendas. We have no solutions or suggestions regarding prison reform. However, we are unyielding in our belief that the answers to the many problems which currently plague this nation’s criminal justice system and its penal system in particular, cannot and will not be found within or assisted by the private “for profit” prison business. The private “for profit” prison business has a stranglehold on our criminal justice system. Its vice-like grip continues to choke the possibility of justice, fairness, and responsibility from both state and federal systems.

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    William Thomas

    National Community Outreach Facilitator

    The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons

    P.O. Box 156423

    San Francisco, California 94115

  2. TonyC says:

    it's a long time since I indulged in marijuana – not since I lived in Europe. I've always been extremely bemused by the vehement opposition to it among 'establishment' types, including those who seem addicted to spirits.

    Why it is not treated simply as another cash crop, with appropriate licences, production, and sales outlets I don;t know (actually I suspect – entrenched interests and lobbying might have something to do with it — especially tobacco and alcohol. why risk cancer when you can get mellow? why get angry when you can chill?)

    And the secondary markets would be extremely valuable (Washington owned rather a large hemp plantation, I understand – a significant source of his wealth)

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