Judge Jim Gray, a retired California Superior Court judge, was recently in Texas to speak on the topic of drug prohibition at the Texas Regional NORML Conference. Bringing to bear his vast experience on the subject, he delved into the topic and hit on many points which concern people.
Asked the question of why he focuses on ending drug prohibition when there are so many other important issues out there, he responded “I think the most patriotic and effective thing I can do for the country that I love is to help repeal drug prohibition.”
He continued “When I go speak with rotary clubs and other groups and say look, you name any area of society you want to and I will show you to your satisfaction how it is made worse because of drug prohibition. Healthcare, education, crime, all made worse. Everything that is going wrong in our society is one way or another adversely affected because of our policy of drug prohibition.
Judge Gray stated that one of the primary problems with prohibition is money, saying “ask yourself who is winning. Who thinks we’re better off with drug issues under prohibition?” He cites those winners as being the cartels, juvenile street gangs, law enforcement, prisons and terrorists.
Touching on the gateway theory he simply says “The whole idea of cannabis being a gateway drug has been exploded. It just flat out is not true and all of the studies show it. But there is some exceptions, one exception is it is truly a gateway to the hell of our prison system. It is recruiting people, bringing them in and ruining their lives, putting them through all sorts of misery unnecessarily.”
This doesn’t even touch on the fact that once convicted of possession, the economic prospects for people are drastically reduced, causing an even further drag on society aside from all of the judicial costs.
Getting deeper into the gateway theory he states “The second thing, you have lots of people, young people mostly, its a gateway drug because they deal with people who sell other illegal drugs. They have every vested interest in getting them to start using harder drugs. So it’s a gateway because of drug prohibition, which is stupid, but that’s what’s happened.”
When presented with the remark that a lot of people are afraid to come out and support ending prohibition, even though they do support it, he responds “The biggest issue we’re facing is legitimizing the discussion. When I sign my books, Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed, I tell people it’s OK to discuss drug policy. As soon as we allow ourselves to discuss it, then we’ll see the facts and then we’ll see that just because we discuss drug policy, it doesn’t mean that we condone drug use.”
Judge Gray concurs with that, stating “Understand that the drugs are here, so moralizing about them doesn’t work. You’re failing my drug morality test so I put you in a cage doesn’t work either. It just increases the amount of illegal drugs out there and the money of money that is made selling them. let’s recognize this and start managing and controlling these issues instead of moralizing about them. That’s where we’ll go, that’s what we’ve done with alcohol and cigarettes.
Cigarettes are the biggest killer of any mind altering addictive substance out there, 400,000 people die each year them. Consumption is being reduced, not by making it illegal but by putting honest information out there, education, and using mores. You can’t smoke in this room, thankfully, but if you have no regulations, you leave it all to the bad guys. The term controlled substance is the biggest oxymoron in our lives today. As soon as we prohibit something we give up all controls to the bad guys. Quantity, place of sale, quality, age restrictions, all of those are gone because we prohibited them. Prohibition never works as well as regulation, it’s where we should go, it’s where we will go. One day we’ll look back and be aghast that we could have put up with and supported drug prohibition for so long.”
Judge Gray states that we must educate ourselves on the topic and not be afraid to talk about it if we are to end what he terms is a “travesty” and “self-inflicted” wound on society.
Hear the entire interview on the CannaTruths podcast.
By: Stephen Carter