Pubdate: Wed, 25 Mar 2009
Source: New Times (San Luis Obispo, CA)
Copyright: 2009 New Times
Author: Bill Denneen


The time has come to decriminalize marijuana and stop wasting money
trying to control it. Nationally, our overcrowded jails and prisons
get hundreds of thousands of marijuana violators each year.
Incarceration in California costs $43,000 per year per prisoner. That
adds up to a lot of money but the expense has not reduced marijuana

The street value of a single mature marijuana plant is about $4,000.
Marijuana is the largest cash crop in the United States: The market
value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion, far more than
the value of corn, soybeans, and hay, which are the top three legal cash

Authorities have not controlled this plant, just raised  its value and
made prison crowding worse. Its production has increased from 1,000
metric tons to 10,000 metric tons in only 25 years.

What disturbs me is I could legally return to my cigarette addiction
of 40 years ago, while at the same time I could be arrested for
growing my one marijuana plant for glaucoma.

California law, adopted as Proposition 215 and known as the Medical
Marijuana Initiative, makes it possible for physicians to prescribe
marijuana for patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, anorexia, migraine
headaches, arthritis, and other illnesses, even though it is against
federal law. The current "test case" is that of Charles Lynch, who
needed medical marijuana and decided to open a dispensary in Morro Bay
rather than drive to Los Angeles to get his medication.

It is nonsensical that California's most lucrative crop remains
untaxed. AB 390 would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and
tobacco. Tell Sen. Maldonado and Assemblyman Blakeslee to vote for
marijuana decriminalization.

Bill Denneen

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