Chris Norby Gaining Prominence in Marijuana Decriminalization Debate
Chris Norby, the Republican state assembly member from Fullerton, is giving James P. Gray, the former Orange County Superior Court Judge, a run for his money when it comes to providing the conservative voice of marijuana reform. As an LA Times story points out today, there's a wave of legislation coming out of Sacramento that seeks to stem the tide of medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state and many of the bills are backed by Democrats like Lou Correa, who wants to ban pot clubs from operating within 600 feet of a home.
In Norby's view, the various bills represent a "disconnect" between politicians and the public, which voted to legalize marijuana for medical use 15 years ago and continues to support a more lenient approach to enforcing pot laws. In that sense, Norby is allied with the most progressive liberal legislators on this issue in the entire state, Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) who has unsuccessfully pushed for legislation to allow prosecutors to charge small-scale marijuana cultivators with misdemeanors rather than felonies. Ammiano argues that prosecutors in California currently have more flexibility in dealing with meth lab operators than they do pot growers.
Norby says he couldn't agree more that California's schizoid approach to drug law has gone too far.
"The public is way ahead of us on this," Norby told the Times. "It should be our issue as freedom-loving conservatives. What bigger nanny state can there be than one that sends a person to prison for three years for growing a plant?"
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