Pubdate: Wed, Apr 07 1999
Source: Willamette Week (OR)
Contact:  822 SW 10th Ave., Portland, OR 97205
Fax: (503) 243-1115
Author: M. Casey Condon, Northeast Glisan Street, Portland


Sheriff Dan Noelle's job is to enforce laws, which are drafted by the
Legislature and signed into law by the executive branch, or decreed by
direct vote of the citizenry.

He is therefore overstepping the boundaries of his position by using his
official title and resources to amend the medical-marijuana law ["Dope
Meddlers," WW, March 17, 1999]

His efforts offend basic U.S. political philosophy in three ways. First, his
intent is to alter the legal will of the people.

Because of past citizen activism, the Oregon political system provides for
direct citizen input into the creation of laws. This is a unique franchise,
and we must aggressively protect it. Dan Noelle should be rebuked for
attempting to undermine this democratic ideal.

Second, the motivation behind his efforts is tainted with conflict of
interest. His organization benefits financially from drug prohibition
through federal, state and local funding and seizure laws.

Third, his organization benefits also by extending its police powers since
increases in police authority provide tautological justification for
increases in police authority and, therefore, police budgets.

Police departments securely entrench themselves within the fear they help to
manufacture. How many cops did Clinton put on the streets this decade?

And didn't Portland add over 80 just this year?

Take a look at his proposal to have three annual searches of legal growers.
This is Draconian. It violates the due-process rights of the Fourth and
Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, as extended to the states by the
14th Amendment, Section 1. Also, it necessitates a greater police presence
(even where there is no threat) and increased police budget.

What next, random searches of book dealers to make absolutely sure they
don't have a stolen copy of the first edition of The Great Gatsby? We can
never be too certain.... Right, Dan. After all, liberties and the
Constitution just get in the way of your efforts to subjugate us naughty

Whether Sheriff Noelle is motivated by philosophical opposition to
democracy, a desire to increase police funding, a desire to suppress
Constitutional liberties and create a police state, or even personal moral
attitudes, we should not allow him to play out his intentions, especially
when his strategy is to curb the freedoms of innocent citizens.

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