Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jan 2003
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2003 Los Angeles Times
Author: Rick L. Root


Re "Marijuana Found in Home; Two Arrested," Jan. 12:

As I read the story of the two fellows in Tustin busted for growing 149
marijuana plants in an apartment, I realized the TV commercial playing in
the background was a government message telling of how the black market for
drugs supports a line of distribution that has terrorists and such at the
upper tiers.

We do realize, don't we, that the quantity represents no more than a
mom-and-pop operation in terms of distribution capability? Potential
customers of the two Tustin fellows -- whose money would have been returned
to our own local economy -- are now more likely to buy marijuana with a
significant portion of that money leaving our community.

We also realize, don't we, that the vast majority of those who choose to
consume marijuana do so responsibly and because they find the effect much
more agreeable than having a martini or a beer. And that they come from all
walks of life and all socio-economic backgrounds. In this time of extreme
shortfalls to budgets statewide, does it really make sense to commit
precious resources to the investigation, arrest, prosecution and
incarceration of people like the two Tustin fellows?

Quick fact: California state prison population is 22% non-violent drug
offenders -- 36,000 inmates. Annual cost of incarceration: $25,000 each.
Total annual cost: $900 million.

Rick L. Root

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