Actually this could really be a long column because hypocrisy in the so-called War on Drugs has been rampant, for decades. But this time we will focus upon double standards. Remember when Bill Clinton acknowledged his prior marijuana use, but said he “didn’t inhale”? That became a national joke that continues to this day. And then George W. Bush never denied that he had used cocaine when he was younger and a partied frequently, even though he was given many opportunities. Then there was Barack Obama acknowledging in one of his books that he smoked marijuana regularly and eve n used harder drugs when he was in college. But did that acknowledgement do anything during his term of office to let similar marijuana users off the criminal hook? Yes, he did install a policy of not federally prosecuting marijuana offenses when they were not in violation of state law. But lots of people were incarcerated and their lives virtually ruined for doing exactly what Obama had written he had done. Then Donald Trump campaigned for the presidency saying that the War on Drugs was a failure. But were there any appreciable changes in the federal government’s drug policy during his administration? Of course not. So now, Joe Biden’s own vice president often has joked about her own marijuana usage in the past. But when she was the district attorney in San Francisco she oversaw 1900 convictions for marijuana offenses. And recently the Biden Administration has fired some of its staffers who had acknowledged prior marijuana use in the past. But, of course, Harris was not included.

So if you are looking for consistency, or even integrity, do not look at our government’s history of Drug Prohibition. It is commonly understood that marijuana and other use and possession laws are unequally applied to people in the lower economic areas of our society, and mostly to people of color. But they are not applied virtually at all to the upper echelons like would-be presidents, and they probably never would be. So to have more equality in the administration of justice, we should repeal the War on Drugs. Hold adults accountable for their actions, but not for what they put into their bodies. In fact, in that regard, it makes as much sense to put the gifted actor Robert Downey Jr. in jail for his heroin use as it would have Betty Ford in jail for her alcohol use. It’s the same thing: it’s a medical issue. So bring those people closer to medical professionals who can help them instead of leaving the issue to the criminal justice system. But if Robert Downey, Jr., Betty Ford, you or I drive a motor vehicle under the influence of any of these mind-altering and sometimes addicting substances, that is – and should be – a crime. What’s the difference? Because now, by their actions, they are putting our safety at risk – and there is no hypocrisy in that! But otherwise let’s reduce government hypocrisy and repeal all laws of marijuana prohibition! Please join us in that effort!

A friend of mine said she saw this, and thought of me: “LANCE ISN’T A COMMON NAME NOW. BUT IN MEDIEVAL TIMES, PEOPLE WERE NAMED LANCE A LOT.” I was flattered.

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

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