Pubdate: Tue, 18 Oct 2011
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2011 Lee Enterprises

Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)

The U.S. Department of Justice has been cracking down on medical 
marijuana in a way that threatens the liberties of people in states 
where medical pot has been legalized. That includes Oregon.

You would think Justice has more important things to do. Clean house, 
for instance. This is the agency that concocted "Fast and Furious," a 
scheme to allow guns to get into the hands of suspected traffickers 
for Mexican drug cartels in the hopes of catching somebody. Two of 
the weapons showed up at the murder of a Border Patrol agent last December.

On medical marijuana, we have a clear conflict between states and the 
federal government. Congress continues to classify marijuana as 
illegal. But states such as Oregon and California have said it's OK 
for medical uses.

Instead of confronting the states, the government picks on little 
people. In California, federal prosecutors have threatened to 
confiscate the property of people who rent to marijuana outlets. And 
in Oregon's Jackson County, federal agents have mounted three recent 
raids against growers of medical pot.

The conflict could be solved by Congress. It should exempt medical 
marijuana from the federal prohibition.

Or, if it felt courageous and unusually sensible some day, Congress 
could go all the way and end the federal prohibition against this 
common weed. That would leave the states free to make their own laws, 
and if the voters have anything to say about it, as in Oregon, 
marijuana's appeal as the forbidden fruit would be a thing of the past.

It is incomprehensible how the U.S. Supreme Court could have upheld 
- -- as it did in 2005 -- the federal prosecution of home-grown 
marijuana even in states that have legalized it. The court has said 
privacy rights protect the decision of a citizen to have her unborn 
baby killed, but there is no privacy protection for growing a plant? 
Talk about a system that is upside down.

The Oregon legislature may tackle this issue in 2013. Sound arguments 
can be made for decriminalizing pot all the way. Let us see if our 
lawmakers are willing to challenge the government by taking such a 
decisive step.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom