Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jul 2011
Source: Aspen Times, The  (CO)
Column: Hit and Run
Copyright: 2011 Aspen Times
Author: John Colson
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal -  Colorado)


The politics of pot in Colorado sure seem to be heating up to climax 
of some sort, don't you think?

As the state government continues in its determined effort to 
overrule the voter-approved legalization of medical marijuana, with 
prohibition-style tactics, the entrepreneurs who tried to make a 
legal business out of catering to the new market are running scared.

Why else would someone dump three tons of equipment and material, 
used in the cultivation of medical marijuana, in a gulch north of Rifle?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the illicit dump 
held potting soil, fertilizer containers and "associated trash" that 
was placed there over the past two months, although there apparently 
were indications the dump site had been used for perhaps a couple of years.

First and foremost, let me say that I abhor the dumping of garbage on 
public lands. Whether it's old cars, household appliances, or the 
results of a spring cleaning of someone's house, it is reprehensible.

Unfortunately, the practice of dumping unwanted detritus is all too 
common, and for time uncounted has been the method of choice for 
people too simple-minded to see the damage they are doing, or too 
self-centered to care.

The fact that a frightened pot farmer has chosen to burden the public 
with his (or her) gear is depressing, but not that surprising. 
Couldn't exactly take it to the landfill, now, could they?

Imagine the scene: A truck pulling up to the landfill gate, where the 
inevitable examination of the truck's load would result in a quick 
call to the cops and a quick trip to the local jail. Even if the 
cultivation operation was legitimate, under Colorado's medical 
marijuana laws, the situation would prove uncomfortable at best.

In all likelihood, the cops would do their damnedest to get the 
farmer behind bars, and once the cell door slammed shut, they would 
do all they could to keep it shut and to crank up the machinery of prosecution.

It all seems to me to be just one more example of how we have allowed 
a police-state mentality to overshadow the will of the voters. In the 
year 2000, it should be noted, the voters of Colorado passed an 
amendment to the state constitution legalizing the use of marijuana 
for medical purposes.

Unfortunately for advocates of that law, the state has done what it 
could to reverse the voters' will, throwing up statutory roadblocks 
and laying legalistic land mines along the legislative road to 
regulation of the burgeoning industry, making it as difficult as 
possible to fulfill the intent of the amendment.

And now, we learn, a subsidiary group of the Cannabis Therapy 
Institute has filed suit to overturn portions of the state 
legislature's medical marijuana laws, on the grounds that the laws 
are designed "to restrict patient access to medicine and violate 
patient privacy rights guaranteed by the Colorado Constitution," as 
stated in a news release issued on June 30 by the Institute.

The group behind the suit is named the Patient and Caregiver Rights 
Litigation Project, and it is arguing that the medical marijuana laws 
improperly limit a patient's right to choose his or her caregiver, 
which is the term used to describe people who grow and sell medical marijuana.

Lest we forget, the laws are a reflection of a knee-jerk belief that 
marijuana is evil, a belief that has its roots in early 20th century 
racism and corruption. A prevailing bigotry of the era held that pot 
was the drug of choice for minorities and jazz musicians, and that 
those groups were horny for white women. The fear and intolerance 
created by those lies is still in force today among a certain noisy 
subset of our population, and timid politicians are easily swayed by 
the shouts and threats emanating from this subset.

Another point that should not be ignored is that the state is 
thrashing around trying to wipe out what is, in light of the 
constitutional amendment, a legitimate industry. The mere fact of 
that industry's growth, not to mention the majority vote that created 
the industry, is proof that our legislature, the cops and, in fact, 
the political power structure of the state, are on the wrong side of 
this fight.

It is all a waste of public money and resources, for no good reason.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom