Conservative judge once again advocates decriminalization

October 1, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More

Retired Judge James Gray has impeccable conservative credentials.  I’ve posted about him previously.  In a recent article in the Daily Pilot, he most reasonably suggests that most Americans would share most of the following goals:

1. Reduce the exposure of drugs to and usage of drugs by children;

2. Stop or materially reduce the violence that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs, especially to police officers and innocent by-standers;

3. Stop or materially reduce the corruption of public officials, individual people and companies, and especially children that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs;

4. Stop or materially reduce crime both by people trying to get money to purchase drugs and by those under the influence of drugs;

5. Stop or materially reduce the flow of drugs into our country;

6. Reduce health risks to people who use drugs;

7. Maintain and reaffirm our civil liberties;

8. Reduce the number of people we must put into our jails and prisons;

9. Stop or materially reduce the flow of guns out of our country and into countries south of our border;

10. Increase respect for our laws and institutions.

What is a good way to simultaneously further all of these goals?  All we need to do is to treat the manufacture and sale of drugs “just like we treat alcohol.”    Consider #2 in more detail–attempting to curtail violence on the streets.  Judge Gray offers a hypothetical:

Today if Budweiser has distribution problems with Coors, they don’t take guns to the streets to resolve them. Instead they file a complaint in court, and have it peacefully adjudicated by judges like me.

Consider also, common sense economics:  if drugs were not punished with criminal sanctions, the price of drugs would fall and “drug addicted people would only need to steal half as much to get their drugs.”

The case for decriminialization is utterly compelling to anyone who takes the time to consider the sceop of the current problem.  For instance, it’s time to stop throwing 700,000 people into jail every year just because they use marijuana.   Many of these people are (other than the marijuana offenses) peace-loving tax-paying citizens with families.  It’s time to stop the insanity.


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Category: law and order

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.

Comments (5)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Seattle's new city attorney is dismissing all marijuana-possession cases, starting with those that were already under way under the old city attorney.

    City Attorney Pete Holmes, who beat incumbent Tom Carr in November, said he dismissed two marijuana-related cases in his first day on the job, and several others are about to be dismissed.

    In addition, his new criminal division chief, Craig Sims, said he is reviewing about 50 more cases. Unless there are "out of the ordinary circumstances," Sims said, the office doesn't intend to file charges for marijuana possession.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Jimmie Carter: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

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