Danny Glover, Melissa Etheridge: Legalize marijuana

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(Source)  Well, the word “bud” is in Buddha. Today, organizers of Saturday’s first-ever Buddhafest held a press conference in which celebrities and other big names spoke in favor of Proposition 19, the November 2nd ballot measure to legalize marijuana.

“I don’t want to look like a criminal to my children anymore,” said singer Melissa Etheridge, who has used medical marijuana while recovering from breast cancer, according to the LA Times. “I want them to know this is a choice that you make as a responsible adult.”

Etheridge was joined by numerous well-known names at Ivan Kane’s Cafe Was in Hollywood, including actor Danny Glover, actor/comedian Hal Sparks, former Governor of New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, former LAPD Deputy Chief Steve Downing and Buddhafest organizer and longtime activist Brian Roberts and marijuana legalization advocate, Sarah Lovering from the Marijuana Policy Project. The press

The festival itself does not take a position on Prop 19, but instead “endeavors to be a neutral space where people can hear all sides of the debate in order to make their own decision.”

The first annual event takes place Saturday from noon to 2 a.m. at L.A. Center Studios and is billed as a music and peace gathering that “aims to raise awareness for cannabis and its many uses through ten staging areas featuring live music, DJs, art installations, guest speakers, comedians, poets, roaming performers, trade show exhibits, and a gourmet food court featuring 20 of L.A.’s finest food trucks.”

Further Commentary:

Proposition 19 is better than failing “drug war” – via My Desert

The “drug war” has not reduced drug use, but violent crime has increased attendant to illegal drug trafficking, as it did with Prohibition.

To our south, 20,000 people have been killed as a result of our “prohibition,” four times more deaths than our soldiers have suffered in nine years of war in the Middle East.

But we keep doing the same thing and expect different results.

Prosecutors and police always believe more money will win the war while, having not learned the lesson of Prohibition, they are bewildered by their impotence.

The financial logic of Prohibition is perverse. The billions we spend a year on drug-related law enforcement represents money not spent on improving schools, education about drug and alcohol abuse, and therapy for addicts.

But those addicted to the illogical policy of Prohibition can’t kick their habit.

The problem has been that our policy is divorced from reality.

We live in a schizophrenic society that advertises and glamorizes some drugs — alcohol and nicotine — while others are criminalized. We make it a crime to use a drug that can help glaucoma and cure nausea, while we celebrate and ritualize the consumption of the very addictive drug, alcohol.

Paradoxically, alcohol is associated with much more violent crime than any illegal drug — 21 percent of violent felons in state prisons committed their crime while under the influence of alcohol alone.

The goal is not to encourage drug use, but to see that less money is wasted on solutions that don’t work. We can relieve the overburdened judicial system, while removing profit from the cartels.

Drug abuse and addiction are health issues. What is needed is cultural transformation like we saw with cigarettes. Proposition 19 will be part of that progressive evolution to our benefit.

It is time to stop making “war” and start making progress.

Just say “know” to drugs and give Proposition 19 a chance.

Walter Clark is an attorney with the Walter Clark Legal Group. He is a former Riverside County deputy district attorney and a member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). He serves as a board member and activist for numerous Coachella Valley charity and community organizations. He can be reached at (760) 568-5661 or wclark@walterclark.com.

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