It's another one of those rare days when the Obama Administration launches an initiative that I wholly support. Today it was the four US attorneys in California launching a major crack down on the state's marijuana dispensaries:
The four United States attorneys in the Golden State announced an initiative cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries on Friday in Sacramento, according to this Associated Press story.
In recent weeks, landlords of some pot shops have received letters from federal prosecutors warning them to stop sales within 45 days or risk seizure of their property and criminal charges
In addition, the IRS has slapped an Oakland dispensary with a $2.5 million tax bill, saying that they improperly deducted business expenses.
I can't think of a sleazier enterprise than that of your typical "medical marijuana" dispensary. They hide behind sick and terminally ill people, all the while selling drugs to able bodied adults with notes from their doctors. The feds are explicit in saying they will not go after backyard growers tending plants for seriously ill people, but legalization advocates immediately began laying the guilt trip:
“I assume the story you’re calling about is: Obama takes resources away from fighting terrorists and goes after old ladies with glaucoma,” Greg Anton, a lawyer for the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax, Calif., told the LAT.
I used to live a mile away from a dispensary in San Francisco. I never saw any little old ladies walking out of there. Instead, it was the same bunch of stoners you could see coming out of any Haight Street head shop. Why America has to turn its drug laws upside down to benefit these low-lifes is beyond me.
There's a lot of talk in the linked article about how all of this is a reflection of the tension between states that want to legalize medical marijuana and the feds who classify marijuana as an illegal drug. While I'm always eager to have a discussion about federalism, I have to say that federal law should control, and appropriately so. We've spent the last 50 years convincing people to stop smoking, and 30 years convincing people that drinking to excess - especially when combined with driving a car - is bad news. Yet, pot advocates claim that a powerful intoxicant that combines the lung damage of cigarettes with the mental impairment similar to that caused by drink is somehow harmless. I don't buy it.
Should be people who smoke marijuana be hassled by the man (at least when they're smoking at home)? No. Should people go to jail for possession? Doubt it. But, that doesn't mean we should just legalize something that's never really been legal in the first place. And there's something very wrong in a state where the biggest cash crop is also illegal. Criminals have free reign to make money any way they wish, while law abiding farmers and merchants struggle with the many demands government and the tax man place on them. This is a small step towards rebalancing what is legal and what is illegal in California.