Recently California State Senator Pat Bates, R – Laguna Niguel, introduced a bill to the Senate to study the fentanyl disasters and have government coordinate how to combat them. As a result I sent the Senator a letter on December 26, 2020 that I hope she will take seriously, because many lives are at stake. The text of the letter is set forth below for your consideration:

Dear Senator Bates:

An article in the December 23, 2020 edition of the Orange County Register said that you have introduced Senate Bill 75, which would require the State Attorney General to establish and chair a Fentanyl Task Force “to enhance law enforcement agency coordination, recommend changes to the law and bring a statewide caliber of expertise to the issue.” Candidly, there is simply no need to study this issue any further because the only approach that will be successful in seriously reducing the tragedies of fentanyl is the straightforward and obvious decision to Repeal Drug Prohibition!

Many years ago when I was a judge on the Santa Ana Municipal Court I had two separate occasions taking pleas of guilty from two young male defendants to being under the influence of methamphetamines in violation of section 11550 of the Health and Safety Code, which carried with it a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail. Of course, when defendants plead guilty in our courts they are required to provide what we call a “factual basis,” which means they must state in their own words why they are guilty of the offense. Each of these young men told me that for years he had purchased his illegal marijuana from the same supplier but once, unbeknownst to him, he was sold some marijuana laced with methamphetamines. So when he smoked it a few times he got “hooked.” Since neither defendant had a reason to lie to me, I believed them.

At those times I remember thinking that we all know that smoking cigarettes is harmful to our health. But at least if we go to our local mini-mart and buy a pack of Marlboros we know they will not be laced with methamphetamines – or fentanyl! So the answer any factually honest task force will come to is obvious: Since fentanyl is so much stronger and also cheaper than other illicit drugs, there will always be an incentive for illicit dealers to sell it. (By the way, illicit marijuana has been the largest cash crop in California for decades for the same reason: money! Our number two crop is grapes.)

Obviously no one will knowingly ingest fentanyl, but this underscores the biggest oxymoron in our society today, which is the term “controlled substances.” Why is that? Because as soon as substances are made illegal, we give up all of their control, including the hugely important issue of quality control, to the bad guys! An easy illustration of that result is when we finally repealed Alcohol Prohibition by passing the 21st Amendment in 1933. A simple check of the national emergency room records about deaths from the impurities in illegal alcohol when that happened: They almost immediately dropped to zero. The same thing will happen when we repeal Drug Prohibition!

I have been speaking out against this largest failed policy in our country (second only to slavery) since April of 1992, and have even published a book on the subject entitled Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs (Temple University Press, 2d edition, 2012). In fact, I am proud to say, my book received a star rating from Publisher’s Clearinghouse, as well as endorsements from great patriots like Dr. Milton Friedman, Secretary of State George Shultz, CBS News Anchor Walter Cronkite and Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke. If you would be interested in looking it over, I would be happy to send you a copy.

But in the meantime, please consider this information and suggestion. Our country has played politics with these critically important issues for decades, with many results that are as disastrous as they are unnecessary. So it is time for public servants like you to provide us with the needed leadership to put these often fatal substances out of our world – particularly for the sake of our children! And if I may be of reasonable assistance to you in so doing, please do not hesitate to contact me either at 714 328-8829 or at JimPGray@sbcglobal.net.

Very truly yours,
Judge James P. Gray (Ret.)

Copy to:
Mr. Sal Rodriguez
Orange County Register

Lament for the week from an English grammar teacher: “Oh, Woe is I.”

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

As stated above, feel free to listen to our radio show entitled All Rise! The Libertarian Way with Judge Jim Gray as we discuss timely issues and show how they will be addressed more beneficially by employing Libertarian values and approaches. The series has concluded, but you can still hear any edition On Demand by going to https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3883. And, by the way, these 2 Paragraphs columns are now on my website at www.JudgeJImGray.com, Facebook and LinkedIn at judgejimgray, Twitter at judgejamesgray, and wordpress at judgejimgray.wordpress.com. Please visit these sites for past editions, and do your part to spread the word about the importance of Liberty. In addition, my new book with the same title as my radio show is now available at Amazon.com. Please read and discuss it with your friends, and send in a review.