Monday, January 01, 2007

DEA crack down on CA medical marijuana providers

Via the rather conservative Dr. Steven Taylor, the
LAT has an interesting piece on the DEA busting medical marjiunana providers. The article is sympathetic to the raids on the large providers who are clearly making a profit and living lavish life styles just like any illegal dealer might. Frankly, I'm a little pissed off at these guys myself, even though I don't think they should be busted or that the feds should be trumping state law in prosecuting these raids.

But I do think it does harm to the medmar movement when these guys not only get into for the money but flaunt their wealth. It pisses me off because the prohibs will use these sort of entrepreneurs to paint all medmar dispensaries as drug rings in disguise, when in fact the large majority of the providers are genuinely concerned about getting medicine to sick people and do so on a non-profit basis. Still, as Dr. Taylor points out, at least these operations do offer some context to the effects of legal marijuana.
Third, something that this situation provides, but is largely ignored, is the question of whether there is any empirical evidence to suggest that the obvious proliferation of easy marijuana availability in these areas has, in fact, led to substantial social, criminal or other problems for the communities in question. If marijuana availability and usage does, in fact, result in societal effects that are worth the billions and billions of dollars spent on combating it, then surely there would be some excellent evidence in these areas. If, however, it does not, then perhaps it should suggest revisions to our approach to marijuana.
And isn't that the point? These guys weren't arrested on citizens complaints about safety issues. They were arrested merely because they were making money. I think besides proving the secondary effects of legal marijuana are not harmful, it also proves that such businesses can be operated at a profit, create jobs and generate tax income for the community.


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