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News (Media Awareness Project) - US CA: County Supervisors Support Lifting Of Fed Marijuana
Title:US CA: County Supervisors Support Lifting Of Fed Marijuana
Published On:2011-12-13
Source:Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Fetched On:2011-12-15 06:00:32
COUNTY SUPERVISORS SUPPORT LIFTING OF FED MARIJUANA PROHIBITION

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday
to support the idea of lifting federal marijuana prohibition for
states that have marijuana laws in place, among other stances on its
2012 legislative platform.

County staff and an ad-hoc committee consisting of 1st District
Supervisor Carre Brown and 5th District Supervisor Dan Hamburg will
change the document's wording based on the Tuesday discussion, at the
urging of 2nd District Supervisor John McCowen.

The original document, while it didn't refer to any specific
initiatives headed to the ballot concerning marijuana, included a
paragraph explaining the board's position on legalization.

Titled "support the legalization of marijuana," the paragraph read:
"Inconsistencies in local, state and federal law create challenges
within our public safety system network and criminal justice system.
There are a record number of ballot initiatives in the coming
election cycle calling for the legalization of marijuana. Mendocino
County supports the regulation, legalization, and taxation of
marijuana...." McCowen said the paragraph's title should instead read
"support the repeal or modification of federal prohibition of
marijuana," and noted some of the state ballot initiatives couldn't
accomplish legalization without repeal.

"To phrase it the way it is ... potentially could indicate that we
support one or more of the ballot initiatives that are on the ballot
in California which purport to legalize Advertisement

marijuana, but actually can't do so in the face of federal
prohibition," McCowen said. "I think one thing we've found out in
struggling with this issue is we really need a federal solution."

McCowen went on to say he knew of a federal bill that would let
states with current medical marijuana laws decide whether to repeal
prohibition statewide, and asked that the paragraph refer to the
bill. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, H.R.
2306, if it passes, would repeal federal penalties for production,
distribution and possession, leaving it to states to establish their
own marijuana laws. "It puts the focus on federal prohibition, which
is where the problem is," McCowen said.

Asked by Hamburg to explain the difference between repealing federal
prohibition and legalizing marijuana, McCowen said, "I think it goes
to decriminalization, which is a lot more palatable to far many more
people and less threatening than legalization, and I think it states
it in a way that is more likely to gain acceptance."

Third District Supervisor John Pinches reiterated his
pro-legalization stance. "The whole problem is, here we have 435
people in Congress and not one of them (is) willing to step forward
with our position," he said, noting that Mendocino County is soon to
be in a new congressional district. "There are going to be new people
running for Congress right now between the Golden Gate Bridge and the
Oregon border," Pinches said, noting counties north of Mendocino
County "have a similar goal" and should band together. "We've got to
get the conversation going back in Washington, and we've never been
able to do that," Pinches said. "I think we need to start out by
putting a representative in place that will support the wishes of the
North Coast counties."

The board struck the paragraph's second sentence, leaving staff to
change the title and add language as discussed, subject to approval
by Brown and Hamburg.

Tiffany Revelle can be reached at udjtr@pacific.net
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