Pubdate: Thu, 16 Oct 2003
Source: Santa Maria Sun, The (CA)
Copyright: 2003 Santa Maria Sun
Author: Bruce Mirken
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)


The problem of violence and environmental damage associated with 
clandestine marijuana cultivation is real ("Illegal agriculture," Oct. 9). 
The solution is simple, but one that law enforcement agencies and elected 
officials refuse to even consider.

When was the last time you saw a clandestine vineyard guarded by criminals 
with guns? Or fields of hops hidden inside a national park and surrounded 
by booby traps? Never, because wine and beer are produced within a 
regulated system. Regulation gives society control. Prohibition surrenders 
control and increases crime and violence. That's what happened with alcohol 
prohibition in the 1920s, and that ugly history is repeating with marijuana 

Marijuana "eradication" efforts only worsen the problem. A new study by 
David W. Rasmussen and Bruce L. Benson, published in the "Florida State 
University Law Review," cites numerous examples of such efforts leading to 
new, better-concealed, and more widely dispersed production activities. "A 
long history of drug enforcement efforts suggests that elimination of 
supplies coming from one area will soon lead to increased cultivation 
els3ewhere," Rasmussen and Benson write.

One thing marijuana eradication efforts have not done is reduce the 
marijuana supply on the street. The National Research Council, in a 2001 
report commissioned by the drug czar's office, found evidence of success in 
supply reduction programs "largely nonexistent."

The problem is prohibition. The solution is a thoughtful policy of legal 

Bruce Mirken, director of communications, Marijuana Policy Project, San 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D