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COPs on the Hill -Stories from the week of January 29, 2010

COPs on the Hill

Stories from the week of January 29, 2010

 Hey, that guy is pretty good:   I was sitting in the crime subcommittee chamber of the Virginia House listening to my mentor Eric Sterling speak to the Members, when the Army veteran who would soon address the Members on the issue of medical marijuana whispered about how good Eric was.  I smiled.  Read this analysis by the event’s organizer Michael Kravitz.

 “Eric Sterling www.cjpf.org/, www.LEAP.cc was the star witness in favor of Decriminalization HB1134. Eric rebuffed the straw men* that Delegate Bell threw in his way of 43 year olds selling to 3rd graders etc.  with righteous indignation and roundly scolded the Delegates for their grade school pranks* of putting a tray of brownies* in the Delegates lounge or disrupting Delegate Morgan’s House floor speech with Cheech and Chong jokes showing that he was paying close attention to local politics which hit pay dirt as Delegate Bell’s posse* had pulled those pranks. Eric said that such jokes and pranks showed they believed that marijuana use wasn’t a real problem and referred to real problems such as swine flu.”

 Eric was able to make the SubCommittee accept that there would have to at least be some savings from this measure and he effectively destroyed the straw men arguments* set up one and again by Delegate Bell.

 Where is a cop when you need one?:  Highly significant at the hearing, no police officer spoke against the bill. 

 Do we ever thank our spouses enough for their support?:   I left the house at 0720 to ride to Richmond, VA with Eric to testify.  Given the usual delays, we did not testify until 6PM.  Between my prepared remarks and answering questions, I ‘worked’ about 6 minutes today.   Karen greeted me at the door at 11:00PM.  I felt great! (see below why)  There is also a URL for a TV program where I am seen testifying.  (Do I need to buy a rug?)*…they made me take my hat off!!!

 Hey buddy, can you spare me a dime* or a speaker?  A month ago I asked my DEA Senate buddy, if he or another agent could take the prohibition side of a one hour marijuana debate.   He replied that the DEA no longer provides speakers but was nice enough to give me the contact info of the Drug Czar’s office (ONDC).   I made contact there but for a noon to 1PM debate, they had no one anywhere in the country who could make that time.   Right!!!

 Some reform collleagues gave me the names of several civilian organizations that might find someone.  Finally David Evans of the Drug Free America Foundation stepped up.   He put up about 30 straw dogs points (outright lies, half-truths, unpublished science, etc) which I spent my time knocking down.   It was almost fun.

 *COPs on tv: http://www.wtkr.com/news/wtkr-pot-bills-die,0,7060451.story

 *pranks = Streich

*straw men  = Scheingegner

*brownies = kleiner Schokoladenkuchen (zum Streich & Witz mann fragt oft, ob darin Kannabis gäbe)

*posse = wie im Wildwesternfilm..Gehilfer des Sheriffs

*rug = Toupet = Haar

* Hey buddy, can you spare me a dime = was ein Bettler bittet um Geld (ganz früher..jetzt ein Dollar statt 10 Pfennig)

 Full analysis by Michael Krawitz, event organizer

 There were three main reasons why the day was historic, first because medical marijuana and decriminalization haven’t been subject to debate at the Virginia Legislature since the 1970’s when they looked into the marijuana laws and recommended decriminalization, see the commissions report just below.    And near that same time in the late nineteen seventies the current Virginia medical marijuana law was passed.

 Second, yesterday was historic because it was the first time that I have ever seen where Bills that would change marijuana penalties were debated and not one person stood up to oppose!! The union of prosecuting attorneys represented by a Commonwealth’s attorney from Abington, Virginia spoke to the decriminalization Bill only to recommend changes so that they would stand un-opposed. Of course the changes were dramatic but that is the first time I have ever had the Commonwealth’s Attorneys work with us on anything.

 The third thing that is worth mentioning is historic by it’s not happening, neither the Virginia State Police or any other police spoke against the Bills.    No one at all spoke against the medical marijuana Bill!!

 Activists and supporters numbering into the thousands have expressed their support and thanks to the great speakers who travelled, some a great distance, to testify. Some highlights below.  I think all the speakers will agree that it was one of the most difficult forums that they have ever spoke in.

 Jon Gettman, a Virginia researcher and assistant professor with a PH.D. spoke to the decrim Bill on the cost savings estimations and other facts of note to the committee. Delegate Bell led the group of Delegates Bell, Gilbert and Cline in assailing the numbers. Some of which were later supported by testimony from the Commonwealth’s Attorney who said that the savings in not issuing public defenders to the [to be] non criminal cases would be a significant savings alone.

 Retired police detective Howard Wooldridge www.citizensopposingprohibition.org/ spoke in favor of decriminalization from his years of experience as a cop. He was torn apart pretty hard by Delegate Bell’s posse but again his words were backed up by the CommonWealth’s Attorney who also said that there would be significant instant savings that wouldn’t need to go back through appropriations in that cops that had time freed up from marijuana work could instantly apply that time to other activities.

 Howard really shone on TV where the major local affiliate spotlighted his testimony about how decrim would enhance public safety and his testimony that marijuana was not a problem and that in all the thousands of calls he answered over the years, some even involving a death, where alcohol was the culprit marijuana had never been the cause for his dispatch. See link below:


 Consider being a member of COPs at $30.00 or more per year.  It is tax-deductible.  Add your voice to those who agree that Modern Prohibition/War on Drugs is the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery & Jim Crow.

 Thank you, 


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