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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP / Countywide | Ventura

Libertarians Rally for Drug Initiative

September 30, 2000|JOSH GOLDSTEIN

Members of the Libertarian Party took their message of decriminalizing illegal drugs to the Ventura County Government Center on Friday.

As lawyers, jurors and government workers made their way to the busy courthouse and Hall of Justice, party member Donna Nowland passed out fliers in support of Proposition 36, an initiative on the November ballot.

The initiative would give people convicted on a first or second minor drug charge the option of seeking drug treatment instead of a jail sentence.

"It should be a personal choice," said Nowland, a former member of the Republican and Democratic parties. "We ask for responsibility and tolerance."

With the election more than five weeks away, Nowland joined about half a dozen Ventura County Libertarian Party members and the November Coalition to rally support for the initiative.

"Let's look to treatment as a health issue, instead of a law enforcement issue," Nowland said.

The initiative would not pertain to individuals convicted of manufacturing or selling drugs.

Initiative supporters at the rally also supplied voter registration forms to jurors, lawyers, law enforcement officers, county workers and other passersby.

Dressed in a traditional zebra-striped jail outfit, Hal Chiprin, a Libertarian and November Coalition member, said several simultaneous rallies were taking place statewide in support of Proposition 36.

"I haven't had any skeptics here today," Chiprin said about an hour after the rally began. "Maybe they are all still inside [the government center] prosecuting people."

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