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geo
October 9th 09, 06:28 AM
"traveler" > wrote in message
...
Pot legalization gains momentum in California
By MARCUS WOHLSEN (AP) 10 hours ago

SAN FRANCISCO Marijuana advocates are gathering signatures to get at
least three pot-legalization measures on the ballot in 2010 in
California, setting up what could be a groundbreaking clash with the
federal government over U.S. drug policy.

At least one poll shows voters would support lifting the pot
prohibition, which would make the state of 40 million the first in the
nation to legalize marijuana.

Such action would also send the state into a headlong conflict with
the U.S. government while raising questions about how federal law
enforcement could enforce its drug laws in the face of a massive
government-sanctioned pot industry.

The state already has a thriving marijuana trade, thanks to a first-of-
its-kind 1996 ballot measure that allowed people to smoke pot for
medical purposes. But full legalization could turn medical marijuana
dispensaries into all-purpose pot stores, and the open sale of joints
could become commonplace on mom-and-pop liquor store counters in
liberal locales like Oakland and Santa Cruz.

Under federal law, marijuana is illegal, period. After overseeing a
series of raids that destroyed more than 300,000 marijuana plants in
California's Sierra Nevada foothills this summer, federal drug czar
Gil Kerlikowske proclaimed, "Legalization is not in the president's
vocabulary, and it's not in mine."

The U.S. Supreme Court also has ruled that federal law enforcement
agents have the right to crack down even on marijuana users and
distributors who are in compliance with California's medical marijuana
law.

But some legal scholars and policy analysts say the government will
not be able to require California to help in enforcing the federal
marijuana ban if the state legalizes the drug.

Without assistance from the state's legions of narcotics officers,
they say, federal agents could do little to curb marijuana in
California.

"Even though that federal ban is still in place and the federal
government can enforce it, it doesn't mean the states have to follow
suit," said Robert Mikos, a Vanderbilt University law professor who
recently published a paper about the issue.

Nothing can stop federal anti-drug agents from making marijuana
arrests, even if Californians legalize pot, he said. However, the U.S.
government cannot pass a law requiring local and state police,
sheriff's departments or state narcotics enforcers to help.

That is significant, because nearly all arrests for marijuana crimes
are made at the state level. Of more than 847,000 marijuana-related
arrests in 2008, for example, just over 6,300 suspects were booked by
federal law enforcement, or fewer than 1 percent.

State marijuana bans have allowed the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration to focus on big cases, said Rosalie Pacula, director of
drug policy research at the Rand Corp.

"It's only something the feds are going to be concerned about if
you're growing tons of pot," Pacula said. For anything less, she said,
"they don't have the resources to waste on it."

In a typical recent prosecution, 29-year-old Luke Scarmazzo was
sentenced to nearly 22 years and co-defendant Ricardo Ruiz Montes to
20 years in federal prison for drug trafficking through a medical
marijuana dispensary in Modesto.

At his bond hearing, prosecutors showed a rap video in which Scarmazzo
boasts about his successful marijuana business, taunts federal
authorities and carries cardboard boxes filled with cash. The DEA said
the pair made more than $4.5 million in marijuana sales in less than
two years.

The DEA would not speculate on the effects of any decision by
California to legalize pot. "Marijuana is illegal under federal law
and DEA will continue to attack large-scale drug trafficking
organizations at every level," spokeswoman Dawn Dearden said.

The most conservative of the three ballot measures would only legalize
possession of up to one ounce of pot for personal use by adults 21 and
older an amount that already under state law can only result at most
in a $100 fine.

The proposal would also allow anyone to grow a plot of marijuana up to
5 feet-by-5 feet on their private property. The size, Pacula said,
seems specifically designed to keep the total number of plants grown
below 100, the threshold for DEA attention.

The greatest potential for conflict with the U.S. government would
likely come from the provision that would give local governments the
power to decide city-by-city whether to allow pot sales.

Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state already
operate openly with only modest federal interference. If recreational
marijuana became legal, these businesses could operate without
requiring their customers to qualify as patients.

Any business that grew bigger than the already typical storefront
shops, however, would probably be too tempting a target for federal
prosecution, experts said.

Even if Washington could no longer count on California to keep pot off
its own streets, Congress or the Obama administration could try to
coerce cooperation by withholding federal funds.

But with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement earlier this
year that the Justice Department would defer to state laws on
marijuana, the federal response to possible legalization remains
unclear.

Doug Richardson, a spokesman for the White House's Office of National
Drug Control Policy, said the office is in the process of re-
evaluating its policies on marijuana and other drugs.

Richardson said the office under Obama was pursuing a "more
comprehensive" approach than the previous administration, with
emphasis on prevention and treatment as well as law enforcement.

"We're trying to base stuff on the facts, the evidence and the
science," he said, "not some particular prejudice somebody brings to
the table."
=====

The broke Counties need to go into the pot farming business.

and Hemp. Great rotation crop for the farmers.
and a fine fiber.
--
money; what a concept!

geo
October 9th 09, 04:02 PM
In article >,
Balvenieman > wrote:

> geo > wrote:
>
> >But some legal scholars and policy analysts say the government will
> >not be able to require California to help in enforcing the federal
> >marijuana ban if the state legalizes the drug.
> Sure it can: By simply making the public money teat contingent on
> "helping".

but will they;
States Rights !

and for prices to come down, the Gummint will have to curtail it's
price support system. "Law" enforcement.
--
money; what a concept!

Tony Sivori
October 9th 09, 06:07 PM
geo wrote:

> "traveler" > wrote:
>> dispensaries into all-purpose pot stores, and the open sale of joints
>> could become commonplace on mom-and-pop liquor store counters
>

Wouldn't it be a lot more frugal to quit smoking dope? Not judging. Just
sayin'.

--
Tony Sivori
Due to spam, I'm filtering all Google Groups posters.

Coffee's For Closers[_2_]
October 10th 09, 02:01 AM
In article >,
says...
> In article >,
> Balvenieman > wrote:

> > geo > wrote:


> > >But some legal scholars and policy analysts say the government will
> > >not be able to require California to help in enforcing the federal
> > >marijuana ban if the state legalizes the drug.


> > Sure it can: By simply making the public money teat contingent on
> > "helping".


> but will they;
> States Rights !


If I recall correctly, the feds already strong-armed the states
on the 55-mph speed limit, and also on the age 21 drinking limit.
And the particular method was threatening to withhold federal
highway maintenance/construction funds.


> and for prices to come down, the Gummint will have to curtail it's
> price support system. "Law" enforcement.


One of the forces making illegal drugs expensive, is the
illegality itself. People will require more money to take the
risk of prison, especially at the grower/wholesale level. Also,
it reduces the number of people willing to take that risk at all,
thus reducing the number of suppliers, who can then raise the
price.

If any random person could get away with openly growing and
selling pot, then there would be many more people doing so,
driving down the price. Especially if more of the habitual
end-users start growing their own.

The general social cost of cannabis might also come down with
legalisation. Because, being illegal means that the suppliers
are likely to be people generally inclined to doing crime.
Illegal drug sales are a primary source of revenue for organised
gangs who engage in violence. It is direct evolution from the
American mafia's initial growth based on selling booze during
prohibition.

If recreational drugs were legalised, then there would be fewer
shootouts on big-city streets, between rival gangs fighting over
who gets to sell on which corner. And, those gangs would also
become much less appealing to teenagers thinking of joining,
since there wouldn't be such a promise of glamour and money.

Personally, I think that cannabis is lame, and I don't
(knowingly) associate with people who use it. But I also don't
appreciate my tax dollars being used to tell other people what
they can/not put into their own bodies.


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