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In Theory: A proposition on marijuana

July 14, 2010

Despite criticism from some religious leaders who have called on her to resign her post, Alice Huffman, president of the NAACP's California chapter, said last week that she will not retract her support of an initiative to legalize marijuana in the state, according to an article in the San Jose Mercury News. She believes that Proposition 19 would "be a good first step in reforming marijuana laws," especially for African Americans who she feels are targeted, creating a "permanent underclass." What do you, as a religious leader, think about Proposition 19? Do you think it will reform marijuana laws, or do you side with Sacramento preacher Ron Allen, who says the NAACP's support of Proposition 19 "disregards the harm illicit drugs cause to the black community," and to a greater extent, other communities?

One of the things I've learned as a minister is that one must pick one's battles, and maybe picking one's battles is what we all do, anyway.

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The point is that nobody can give 100% effort to every single cause, and perhaps each of us has his/her own favorite causes to support. In any case, I am not prepared to go to the mat for or against Proposition. 19. Personally, I believe reforming the marijuana laws is a good idea, and so I am mildly in favor of Proposition 19's passage.

However, I can sympathize with Pastor Allen and his concern for what illicit drugs do to the black community. Also, certain members of my family are very much against Proposition 19, who fear any sort of legalization of marijuana.

So I can see both sides of this issue, and I'm not about to carry the torch for either side.

Rev. Clifford L. "Skip" Lindeman

La Cañada Congregational Church

I am not in favor of Proposition 19. Although, I have to admit that I am not an expert on marijuana, have not used it and have not spent much time researching the implications of its use. Does that mean I shouldn't comment on Proposition 19 or take a position on it? No. So, let me give you a few of my reasons for not supporting Proposition 19.

First, as a general rule, I am not a fan of the California ballot proposition process. It does not lead to well-thought-out legislation. Rather, it is a populist/special interest means to enact legislation with a mere majority vote.

Second, my reading of Proposition 19 leads me to believe that it will be hard to enforce its provisions. Thus, I have to assume that this proposition will, in effect, open the doors on marijuana use.

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