Pubdate: Wed, 19 Jan 2000
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2000 Lee Enterprises
Contact:  600 Lyon St., SW, Albany, OR 97321
Author: Allan Erickson
Note: Headline by the editor


Thank you for the article on Bill Conde closing out his lumber inventory.

It was interesting to hear Sheriff Burright say that the lumberyard was
never a part of this investigation. Interesting because it leads to the
question of why the sheriff took the computers and records from the
lumberyard and why the county was filing papers to seize Conde's property
after the raid in September of 1998.

I have no problem with police protecting the citizenry from thugs and
thieves. Several members of the Sheriff's Office I am proud to call friends.
The problem I have arises when police extend their authority beyond the
boundaries of common sense.

The prohibition commonly labeled the Drug War is an assault of massive
proportion against our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and its
enforcers are our country's police. Innocent people are dying as a result of
these prohibition policies run amok. Fifty percent of this nation's police
corruption cases involve illicit drugs.

Our prohibition policies have made us the world's leader in prison
population - we have 5 percent of the globe's population and 25 percent of
the global prison population. Prohibition has never worked as means to
control a community's "vices."

Hemp's place in our nation's history is common knowledge. Our founding
fathers were farmers of the cannabis plant. It is unfortunate that names
like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington carry no weight with our current
crop of anti-drug warriors.

To the king of England, Tom Jefferson and his cronies were rebels. The same
can be said of Conde - he is a rebel. To others his is a fight for freedom.
Many besides Conde have suffered because of Linn County's heavy-handedness.
It is a shame the sheriff does not realize the harm his wrong-headed
policies have caused.

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