Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Surprise from Firestone: Decriminalize Marijuana?

It's amazing how politicians change their tune when they do not have the pressure of the next election ahead of them...see this Valentine's Day surprise from County Supervisor Brooks Firestone at KEYT News:
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Brooks Firestone is suggesting marijuana be decriminalized to reduce the number of inmates in the county's overcrowded jail. "I'd like to examine that," Firestone said at Tuesday's meeting.

Although Firestone's suggestion may be a good one for several reasons, including giving government the ability to tax joints as much as cigarettes, it isn't the reason for jail overcrowding. Sheriff Bill Brown makes some good points saying that it is less about weed than it is about a slow judicial system and deporting illegal aliens who commit crimes to their country of origin.

To be fair, I've never heard that Firestone is against or for marijuana decriminalization prior to this statement -- but it would seem without the specter of the next election, he is a bit more able to speak freely.

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Blogger QY said...

I'm happy to hear him tell the truth regarding this issue. I wish these thoughts would come to rest in the minds of those in a position to change things.

2/14/2008 9:18 AM  
Anonymous SBer said...

He should have said this earlier then he would have had no problems getting elected, that is hugely popular everywhere including Santa Barbara.

2/14/2008 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get a marijuana shop in your neighborhood and see how you like it. Total disaster.

Make it legal, tax the darn stuff and hold dealers to IRS for income, if you do anything at all.

And watch Amerika decline even more than it has already. Maybe we can at least make as much money as the Indian Tribes have done fleecing the stupid at their grotesque casinos.

Global warming will eliminate all the North County vineyards in 10 years at the rate it is going. Firestone is the canary in the mine shaft ...... or is that mind shaft.

2/14/2008 6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Page 29 of the Independent, "Snapshot of people in jail"
85% substance abusers
42% adult gang members
29% mentally ill
18% homeless
12% illegal immigrants

85% men; 59% North Countyl 70% awaiting trial; 30% serving sentences (70% sentenced for felony offenses.)

2/14/2008 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its nice to see a political leader take that type of step, unfortunately it shows the position we are in with our jail overcrowding in this state. Bravo to Mr. Firestone for his willingness to at least explore issues...just wish the rest of our local leaders had the courage to tackle real issues in a meaningful way.

In a time when budgets are shrinking and real problems are obvious why is a Republican bringing up a valid issue like drugs/prison overcrowding while the progressives would rather hit us with fluff like blue lines and votes against the war which while they sound good have no real effect on our lives.

2/14/2008 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posts like 10:58 "Anonymous" are one good reason I hate to see anonymous posting going. The most insightful and revealing substance posts have come from those posting as such ........ at least the ones good enough to print. Thank you for sharing your insights and analysis on the issues, 10:58.

2/15/2008 7:24 AM  
Anonymous lower Westie said...

Last summer I sent the following email to Sgt. Raney, PIO of the Santa Barbara Sheriff Department. I guess I should have sent it to Mr. Firestone.

To Sgt. Raney,

Re: The Twitchell bust.

I know the officers of the SBSD are following their sworn duty in the persecution of marijuana growers, but in light of yesterdays court
ruling in favor of Santa Barbara's Measure P, is it really worth sending 30 officers up there to eradicate this grow? I didn't vote for Measure P because I believe "the voters", shouldn't be able to tell the police or sheriff what to respond to.
In my opinion, if I were a deputy sheriff, I would much rather respond to someone doing bong hits, rather than someone doing tequila shots.
But that's just from personal experience.

And having had a smoke or two of this weed, let me offer you a solution to disposing of the evidence. Take all of it over to the Lompoc Penitentiary, and build a furnace-like device to pump THC laden air into all of the prisoners cells. I think we need to mellow these criminals out. No more weight lifting, but plenty of baked goods.
This way, when they finish their term, they come out fat and in search of blueberry muffins.

2/15/2008 12:23 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

7:24 AM -- with a simple, made up name -- you won't see any difference at all as the Name/URL area can be anonymous. The best writers will understand this and participate as such -- please don't put inactivity in the space! It doesn't need to be that way.

2/15/2008 6:18 PM  
Anonymous SBer said...

"And watch Amerika decline even more than it has already."

I lived in Holland for a year, trust me, the world won't end. Holland does heavily regulate where pot can be sold. It can only be sold in 'coffee shops' and special night clubs, and the places allowed to dispense it are kept far away from schools.

And it works nicely. What we are talking about now in SB is what the Dutch have already solved decades ago. Just ask a Dutch person!

2/17/2008 12:55 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"I'd like to examine that,"

Right, because you won't just stand up and say it's a ridiculous anti-social law that fosters and feeds the criminal organizations just like prohibition did.

One casual look at the gang problem fed by drug profits should make up any clear thinking mind.

No, lets "examine" it to see if it can save the county money, not because it the right thing to do.

Not because it may save some unfortunate kid a life long criminal record that will follow them for life.

Not because it's a simple plant that can be grown for free instead of having to pay some dealer hard earned "after taxed" money priced near the same as gold per ounce.

No. Let's examine it because maybe we won't have to cut the overbloated county payroll and charge the taxpayers even more sales tax to build the jail.

Thank goodness we live in such a forward thinking, progressive county like Santa Barbara. I think they're still lynching pot smokers in Texas.

2/17/2008 5:00 AM  

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