Gatewood Galbraith first ran for public office in 1983 on a platform of
legalizing marijuana.

He has since tackled other issues and changed his position on pot, but
marijuana is still what many voters think of when they think of the colorful
Lexington lawyer.

Galbraith now supports legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses and allowing
individuals to grow their own for personal use, but he says pot should not
be legal to sell unless the government licenses and regulates it.

Galbraith, an independent, acknowledges that he smokes pot, saying it
relieves his emphysema. He argues it is legal to do so in his home because
of Constitutional protection of the right to privacy, and says he would
continue to smoke as attorney general.

But Galbraith's interpretation of the law puts him at odds with prosecutors,
over whom the attorney general has some oversight.

Kenton Smith, president of the Kentucky Commonwealth's Attorneys
Association, said it is illegal to possess any amount of marijuana, even if
it is only one joint in a private home. Under Galbraith's theory, people
could commit other supposed "victimless" crimes in their homes, such as
gambling and shooting up heroin, Smith said.

"His argument is ludicrous," Smith said.

Galbraith, who decries government infringement on personal freedom, said he
has never grown marijuana.

People give him most of what he smokes, though he has had to buy it on the
black market at times, he said.

Galbraith has worked as a defense and personal-injury lawyer much of his
career, and has been dogged by financial difficulties.

Court and county records in Fayette County show more than two dozen lawsuits
or liens filed against Galbraith -- some before his 1993 bankruptcy and some
since -- by vendors, local government and the school board, and state and
federal taxing authorities claiming he failed to pay bills and taxes.

The records indicate Galbraith paid some of the claims and had the liens
released.

But the Internal Revenue Service filed a new lien against Galbraith in
December saying he owes $110,734 in federal income taxes for the five tax
years of 1997 through 2001.

Galbraith said a divorce set him back financially, and that campaigning has
meant missing potential clients at times.

He said he is negotiating with the government over his tax bill.

"They'll get paid like they always do," he said.

Galbraith said he is a political conservative.

He opposes abortion, was once charged with disrupting a Fourth of July
parade in Lexington to protest U.S. involvement in the United Nations, and
is a strong advocate of gun rights who keeps a photo of himself with a
machine gun on the wall of his office.

Galbraith said his priorities as attorney general would be to operate the
office as efficiently as possible and use it to root out corruption.

"I'm in this race because I've had an interest, a longtime interest, in
attacking corruption in this state," he said.

Galbraith said he would bring a new mindset of independence to the office
and to state government because he is not allied with partisan interests.

He said he would direct as much money as possible from civil judgments the
office wins to helping elderly people.

With regard to illegal drug use, Galbraith said the state must focus its
spending on going after people who deal hard drugs such as crack and
methamphetamine, but stop making criminals of people who get caught up in
drug addiction.

Galbraith said pharmaceutical companies have placed profit over public
safety, deliberately failing to make their pain pills less susceptible to
abuse.

If elected, he would ask the drug companies to pay the state $2 billion to
finance expanded drug treatment, education and pain management, Galbraith
said

If the companies refuse, he said, he would explore suing them. He would also
negotiate or sue to drive down the cost of medicine because drug companies
are "gouging" consumers, Galbraith said.


Pubdate: Sun, 19 Oct 2003
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Copyright: 2003 Lexington Herald-Leader
Contact: hleditorial@herald-leader.com
Website: http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/