I support the American Civil Liberties Union “They Report to you” campaign. I am sorry our district attorney is opposed to the accountability it represents (“ACLU puts heat on elected prosecutors,” The Daily Astorian, Aug. 29). For a long time Josh Marquis has been on the wrong side of the drug enforcement issue. He opposed legalization of marijuana, and has opposed modernization of drug laws, including quantity possession.
I had the pleasure to serve on the grand jury and was very dismayed to be reviewing mostly drug possession cases. The quantities were minuscule and yet people were charged with felonies. These cases seem to be the majority, thus taking up valuable resources that could be better spent on other criminal cases.
Marquis will say that most of these cases are resolved in drug court, but when defendants are mandated to attend drug rehab, there are no viable residential programs in Clatsop County to address the very real need. These cases are best charged as misdemeanors, and mandated to an in-county residential rehab program that would truly help those with drug addiction problems.
Drug addiction is a medical problem not a criminal one. Many other states, including California, don’t go after the user, but rather the distributor or dealer. That is worth enforcement and resources. I support Oregon legislation to make possession of small drug quantiles misdemeanors and not felonies, thus freeing our district attorney to go after the criminals, not users.
I also think the ACLU of Oregon is right to hold our elected officials accountable to the people they serve.