Let's Stop Posturing

Let's Stop Posturing
Posted by CN Staff on August 27, 2007 at 07:20:07 PT
Source: Times-Standard 
California -- No doubt some residents of Humboldt County were shocked last week when the Board of Supervisors, on a 4-0 vote with one abstention, approved a letter to state and federal officials asking them to legalize and tax marijuana. We weren't shocked -- merely amused at the posturing of our politicians. But isn't that in a politician's DNA?
It's posturing because the board knows very well that their letter (along with that from Mendocino County, which gave Humboldt's board the idea by sending their own missive earlier) will quickly find its way into circular files in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. It's posturing because even if legalization were to miraculously occur, the “billion-dollar crop” claimed by 2nd District Supervisor Roger Rodoni will be grown in the agricultural flatlands of the state, not in Humboldt's forests. (In Mendocino, they're dreaming about $50 million in annual revenues from a $5 billion crop. No doubt they've been sampling some of the product.) And it's posturing because the pro-pot proponents already have cast their lot with the medical marijuana argument, and are too far down the road to shift gears now. If anything about this issue is even close to being realistic, it's that efforts would be better spent convincing the federal government to accept the decision by 12 states -- including California -- to allow use of pot for patients with various illnesses. Since the U.S. Supreme Court nodded its approval two years ago, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has raided more than 20 state-legal dispensaries of medical cannabis. Efforts to block that interference have met with failure in Congress -- in particular, the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, which was defeated in the House again this year, 262-165. There is no doubt that the war on drugs (started in California in 1907, seven years before national prohibition) has been as miserable a failure as the prohibition on booze. Before 1907, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, our state's drug crime consisted of a few hundred opium den misdemeanors. Today, California records 400,000 drug arrests per year, 250,000 of them felonies. In 1906, drug felons did not exist; today, they account for 20 percent of the state's prison population -- 36,000 prisoners. Against those numbers, it's obvious that the U.S. needs to rethink its drug laws. But let's stop posturing, be realistic, and put our efforts behind federal approval of medical marijuana.Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)Published: August 27, 2007 Copyright: 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc. Contact: editor times-standard.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives
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