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New Mexico Lawmakers Divided on Benefits of Marijuana, Drug laws

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SANTA FE -- Democrats who want to end the war on drugs are in for a battle.

State Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, told a legislative committee Friday that a sweeping policy change was in order.

"We have prisoners sitting in prison who don't need to be there," said McSorley, who for 36 years has been a member of the Legislature's Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee. "We need to rethink the war on drugs."

McSorley was especially critical of marijuana laws, questioning why the substance is designated as a Section 1 narcotic that commands the attention of police and prosecutors.

State Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas agreed. He is a Democrat and a former prosecutor in Albuquerque.

Of America's drug policy, Maestas said, "it flat-out does not work."

In many ways, the Democrats were carrying on the spirit of former Gov. Gary Johnson, who advocated legalization of marijuana. Johnson now is a Republican candidate for president.

But state Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, said the Democrats were guilty of spreading myths, especially about excessive punishment for drug users

Kintigh, a retired FBI agent and former Roswell police chief, said the claim that casual users are languishing in New Mexico prisons is untrue.

He said drug dealers and drug users with criminal histories who violate terms of their probation are the ones who land in prison.

"It's a falsehood that people are sitting in prison for simple drug possession," Kintigh said.

He challenged Democrats on the committee to document even five cases in which somebody drew a prison term "simply and solely for drug possession."

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, who spent her career as a prosecutor before winning the state's top political job, opposes drug legalization.

Martinez, through her spokes man, also backed up Kintigh's assessment of how punishment is administered.

"Drug legalization proponents ignore the fact that the vast majority of people convicted for possessing small amounts of marijuana are diverted to treatment programs," said her press secretary, Scott Darnell. "Those who are sentenced to prison are individuals with long criminal records with convictions for things like assault, burglary and other crimes."

The session was the committee's first of the year. Its members said the war on drugs would be one topic during the next six months.

Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Espanola, said he would press for a review of the parole system and whether inmates receive adequate medical treatment in state prisons.


News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: elpasotimes.com
Author: Milan Simonich
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: El Paso Times
Website: New Mexico lawmakers divided on benefits of marijuana, drug laws
 

buckethead

New Member
Ok so if just the people that committed large scale trafficking and distribution with long criminal history's are in prison. Why don't they make it legal to possess a small number of plants or a small amount of Marijuana or any drug for that matter.If you don't have law's that differentiate between law abiding citizen and criminals there will continue to be a problem.It is very apparent drug laws need to change
 

4N20Blackbird

New Member
Ok so if just the people that committed large scale trafficking and distribution with long criminal history's are in prison. Why don't they make it legal to possess a small number of plants or a small amount of Marijuana or any drug for that matter.If you don't have law's that differentiate between law abiding citizen and criminals there will continue to be a problem.It is very apparent drug laws need to change

Very good.

He said drug dealers and drug users with criminal histories who violate terms of their probation are the ones who land in prison.

Yeah right. So I get caught with some cannabis, they prosecute me and put me on probation. I get caught again using cannabis, violating my probation and get sent to prison. All that over a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol.
Sheeeit...you know something, dealing with life seems a whole lot better when I am medicated. You'd think our Government would legalize cannabis, to help us better deal with putting up with the lousy job they are doing.
 

bob zimway

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The anti-weed side says that only felons go to back to prison from pot arrests. Wait, were there felony counts on the weed arrest itself? I doubt it. It's just an excuse to load up the prison industry with 'bad guys' even though they may be rehabilitated, older, more mature, quit drinking, etc, and just want to peddle some pot in peace without a bunch of goons busting down the door.

Do the drug war fanatics ever stop to ask why someone witnessing the drug war's absence of common sense should respect marijuanas laws?
 
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