A conservative trial judge from Orange County, Calif., James P. Gray has become a troubadour for the decriminalization of marijuana as the only way to put a dent in illegal trafficking and the destruction that rises from it.Judge Gray sees it as a civil liberty issue.
Gray has been on the bench as a governor-appointed municipal court and superior court judge since 1983, served as a federal prosecutor on Los Angeles, run for Congress as a Republican and for the U.S. Senate as a Libertarian. (See: www.judgejimgray.com)
Addressing the lunch crowd at The Global Public Policy Forum on the U.S. War on Drugs on the UTEP [University of Texas, El Paso - ed.] campus Monday, Gray said the key to the problem is demand but there is little chance that the appetite for marijuana and other drugs will lessen in the United States.
“We have lost more of our civil liberties because of the War on Drugs than anything, and if we lose our civil liberties to the government, we almost never get them back,” Gray said.And yet there is a faction among the conservatives who are among the Drug War's most staunch proponents. Despite the monetary waste and loss of liberties. Go figure.
So, he said, anyone looking for change should not look to the government because federal agencies, from the DEA to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are hooked on the money devoted to the War on Drugs.
“The drug war may not be winnable, but it is eminently fundable,” he said.
Gray, who heard no questions or comments challenging his views Monday, said he thinks public opinion on the issue of drugs is starting to shift, largely because the cost of the government’s 40-year-long War on Drugs and toll of lives from violence spurred by the drug trade.
H/T Drug Policy Forum of Texas