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Last month, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would campaign to legalize marijuana in California. The American Civil Liberties Union said Newsom would lead a “blue ribbon panel” to study how Colorado and Washington went about legalizing pot for recreational use, with an eye toward putting a measure on the ballot in 2014 or 2016. Last Sunday’s Conversation asked the question: What do you think of Newsom’s plans to lead the effort to legalize marijuana in California?


Pot use takes its toll

Re “Newsom wades into the weed” (Forum, Dan Morain, Oct. 27): Recreational pot use has destroyed a part of my family and the small town where I live. We need to instill a more noble purpose in life – and employment to match – not another excuse to sit around and do nothing but get high.

Tim Johnson, San Andreas

‘Narrow-minded approach’

Your constant rehashing of the well-known ills associating with growing and using cannabis saddens me.

The problem with your narrow-minded approach is that, of course, you never mention the benefits associated with the weed. There are many medical conditions for which there are no remedies at the present time. As just about everyone knows by now, marijuana helps with loss of appetite, insomnia, glaucoma, etc.

Your scare tactics and arguments are silly. Legalizing pot won’t make your child an instant addict, since there is so much of the stuff around already that legalizing it won’t make a difference.

Maybe we should teach our children tolerance of other people’s needs instead of trying to oppress the sick and needy. Remember, children learn by example.

Caroline Bigard, Sacramento

On-the-job issues

Dan Morain makes interesting and important points. From the employer’s viewpoint, this issue raises critically important issues associated with worker safety, public safety and employer liability.

How is a trucking firm to address this issue? Construction? Bus drivers? Pharmacy workers? Doctors and nurses? What will become acceptable limits for residuals in the blood? How will insurance companies address potential liability claims? How will these guidelines affect worker’s compensation claims?

While Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom may be very familiar with an office, courtroom or legislative environment, for those operating where the rubber meets the road, operator error, errors in judgment and delayed reaction times are issues that must be addressed prior to any further movement toward legalization of marijuana.

William Fleeman, Davis

Revenue would aid state

I wholeheartedly support Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s marijuana legalization plan.

Illegal growing operations by Mexican drug cartels are poisoning our environment. Simple possession and sales arrests are clogging court schedules and diverting law enforcement efforts from more serious crimes. California is a financially strapped state that would greatly benefit from extra tax revenue. Marijuana has been legitimized in other states, setting a precedent for legalization.

I have seen alcohol ruin and terminate the lives of close friends and family. On the other hand, no one I know has overdosed from smoking grass. It’s time common sense replaced outdated superstition and the knee-jerk attitudes of law enforcement toward marijuana use.

Candy Tutt, Woodland

War on drugs has failed

Dan Morain’s column about Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to legalize marijuana touches on points worth of contention.

It is fact that the war on drugs has been a dismal failure. Concurrently, there is complete hypocrisy at hand. Alcohol, a clearly mind-altering substance, has been legal for many decades and the health care costs associated with it are enormous.

And yet no one proposes making it illegal again. Simply put, alcohol makes billions of dollars and people enjoy its effects. So, let’s be honest. Make all drugs illegal, alcohol included, and then we can have a more meaningful discussion.

Meanwhile, as mentioned, our nation somehow hasn’t crumbled even though marijuana has been available for decades.

Lloyd Benjamin, Sacramento

A quest for headlines?

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is looking for ways to get headlines. He has no moral compass, no ethics. He is willing to compromise anything for more government control and revenue. He represents everything bad about government. More societal decay is fine with him.

Charles Benson, Sacramento

Schemer, not a leader

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is a self-serving politician of the worst kind. He is not a leader, but rather a schemer, positioning himself to become governor and or elected to Congress.

He relies on organizations like the ACLU and college professors to bolster his claims of marijuana legalization being the only way to fly. He ignores criminal justice leaders, medical researchers and common sense that introducing legal pot into the already hectic California environs of driving, mischievous young people and the world of schizophrenia will add to social tragedies that we already endure with marijuana being illegal.

Bill Sanders, Gold River

Pot isn’t medicine

Dan Morain correctly describes the downfalls of legalizing pot, including serious public health issues, including increased symptoms for severely mentally ill, and social consequences.

Environmental degradation and use of herbicides, insecticides and other harmful chemicals are not the way to produce a useful medicine. Legal status would send the message that it is safe and OK to use.

Government’s role is not to use money and power created by marijuana sales. Government’s role is to do what is best for its people.

Calling marijuana a medicine is a scam. Comparing it to alcohol and tobacco should be enough to point out all the dangers.

Madeleine Melo, Fort Bragg

Time for study has passed

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to look into the possibility of legalizing marijuana is well-intentioned but way too late and slow. We have had medical marijuana in this state since 1996 – more than 17 years. Why take two more years to study? California is looking for a leader, not a blue ribbon panel. We can and should get this done in 2014. The votes are there.

Andy Higgins, Fountain Valley

From Facebook

Melody Elliott Koontz – Will solve budget issues and many others! Legalize. All the people who want it already have it and are using it.

Jimmy Short – Growing up in Mendocino County where pot is the largest export, I am in favor of it. Watched my mom’s neighbors go from nothing to designer homes, driving Escalades, taking dream vacations, etc. It was hard to watch from a working individual’s perspective. And all tax free. Totally in favor of it, tax the individuals, and end the multiple deaths caused by hikers and hunters accidentally walking onto a pot farm.

Debby Young-Pieplow – I don’t have a problem with it. Probably one of the few times I agree with Gavin.

Jacqueline Naud – I do not smoke or otherwise use marijuana, but I totally support legalizing, regulating and taxing it.

Peter Robinson – Agreed, legalize it, regulate it and tax it. Doesn’t make sense that whiskey is legal and pot isn’t.

Barry Kane – Makes good sense. Get the criminals out of the business, regulate it and tax it for our benefit, not the gangs’ benefit.

Valerie Reynoso Piotrowski – Another ultra-lib contributing to the dumbing down of Californians. Pathetic.

Joe Marek – Sure, just keep ’em doped up and stupid, and tell them to vote for the Dems, and they can stay that way!

Shanna Kinser – I have a medical marijuana card, sanctioned by my primary care doctor, for treatment of symptoms of multiple sclerosis. I use a vaporizer in my own home. The cannabis is under lock and key. It’s as inaccessible to minors as any of my other medications. It is medicine, so I don’t share it any more than I would share any of my other prescriptions. …

Brandon Baker – Gavin Newsom is an activist and wants to get attention and advance his political career … Ted Cruz of Democrats.

Howard Williams – On any given day there are a number people driving their cars while under the influence of marijuana. If marijuana were legalized then the number people driving high would increase. The result is there will be more people on the road whose reaction times will be decreased. Solve that problem and then I am OK with legalizing marijuana.

Rose Dilley – I support legalization of marijuana. This war on drugs has done nothing but cost exorbitant amounts of money and has fed the prison complex. The ban was based on false evidence, and I am glad there is a candidate in the open with this issue, and that it’s a Democratic candidate.

Curtis Asby – It makes sense to legalize it. Regulate it. Tax it. Just like tobacco, alcohol, coffee, et al.

Robert Chaides – Figures! What a society we live in where they can change laws to fit the needs of the few who are in the wrong!

Rosa Jimenez – As long as it's well regulated and natural resources are not compromised, then I totally agree with him, the state needs the funds!

Martha Goff – I am against it.

Tanya Carroll – I’m totally for legalization. I don’t use it, but I think we waste way too much money, time and resources fighting it. I think alcohol is a much worse drug and it’s legal. Legalize it, control it and tax it like alcohol. The state could make a fortune on sales.