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Feinstein Joins Brown Against Making Recreational Pot Legal

| March 19, 2014
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Marijuana bud. (Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor)

Marijuana bud. (Tony Avelar / The Christian Science Monitor)

By Kevin Freking (AP)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday joined Gov. Jerry Brown in expressing skepticism about legalizing marijuana in California for recreational purposes.

The state’s senior senator told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that one of her concerns is the potential for pot-impaired drivers to take to the road. Feinstein said she hopes California declines to join Colorado and Washington in approving the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

“The risk of people using marijuana and driving is very substantial,” she said.

As a possible example, the California Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal weekend collision in Santa Rosa as being related to marijuana use. A woman and her daughter-in-law were killed when a Toyota Camry in which they were riding was rear-ended by a pickup truck. A preliminary CHP investigation determined that the 30-year-old man driving the pickup was impaired by marijuana and reading a text message on his cellphone at the time of the collision.

California became the first state to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1996, but voters rejected a ballot initiative seeking to legalize it for recreational purposes in 2010. The margin of defeat was relatively narrow, 54 percent to 46 percent, and public opinion appears to have softened since then.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll taken last September found a majority of Californians supporting full legalization for the first time, with 52 percent of all adults and 60 percent of likely voters in favor.

Gateway drug concern
Feinstein said in the interview that she believes California has gone as far as is responsible in allowing marijuana to be sold for medical purposes.

‘I saw a lot of where people began with marijuana and went on to hard drugs.’


She said serving on the California Women’s Board of Terms and Parole during the 1960s allowed her to see how marijuana, in her view, led to bigger problems for many female inmates.

“I saw a lot of where people began with marijuana and went on to hard drugs,” Feinstein said.

She also said she did not understand how culture is improved through legalizing marijuana. Feinstein’s comments came after Brown voiced concerns about legalization on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“If there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together,” Brown said.

Despite such criticism, the movement to expand full legalization beyond Colorado and Washington is continuing. A Gallup poll taken last year found that 58 percent of Americans say the drug should be legalized. Several legalization petitions are circulating this year in California, although none has yet qualified for a ballot.

Meanwhile, California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom supports legalization of marijuana and is leading a panel of medical and law enforcement officials who are studying how the state could tax and regulate marijuana sales effectively.

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  • Brian Kelly B Bizzle

    In the prohibitionist’s world, anybody who consumes the slightest amount of marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes are “stoners” and “dopers” that need to be incarcerated to protect society.

    In their world, any marijuana use equates to marijuana abuse, and it is their God given duty to worry about “saving us all” from the evils of marijuana use.

    Who are they to tell us we can’t choose marijuana, the safer choice instead alcohol for relaxation, after a long, hard day, in the privacy of our own homes?

    People who use marijuana are smart, honest, hard working, educated, and successful people too, who “follow the law” also.(except for their marijuana consumption under it’s current prohibition of course) .

    Not the stereotypical live at home losers prohibitionists make us out to be. We are doctors, lawyers, professors, movie stars, and politicians too.

    Several Presidents of The United States themselves and Justin Trudeau, and Bill Gates, and Carl Sagan have all confessed to their marijuana use , as have a long and extensive list of successful people throughout history at one point or other in their lives.

    Although, that doesn’t mean a damned thing to people who will make comments like “dopers” and “stoners” about anybody who uses the slightest amount of Marijuana although it is way safer than alcohol.

    To these people any use equals abuse, and that is really ignorant and full of hypocrisy. While our society promotes, glorifies, and advertises alcohol consumption like it’s an All American pastime.

    There is nothing worse about relaxing with a little marijuana after a long, hard day, than having a drink or two of alcohol.

    So come off those high horses of yours. Who are you to dictate to the rest of society that we can’t enjoy Marijuana, the safer choice over alcohol, in the privacy of our own homes?

    We’ve worked real hard our whole lives to provide for our loved ones. We don’t appreciate prohibitionists trying to impose their will and morals upon us all.

    Has a marijuana user ever tried to force you to use it? Probably not. So nobody has the right to force us not to either.

    Don’t try to impose your morality and “clean living” upon all of us with Draconian Marijuana Laws, and we won’t think you’re such prohibitionist hypocrites.

    Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!