Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jan 2012
Source: Collegiate Times (VA Tech,  Edu)
Copyright: 2012 Collegiate Times
Author: Ethan Gaebel


Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not 
perish from the earth" - Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address.

We live in a democracy, one which many people say is the greatest on 
earth, including myself. In a democracy, the will of the people is 
paramount, and the majority rules, provided that it does not oppress 
the minority. But today the minority is oppressing the majority, 
spearheaded by the federal government.

In the beginning of October, four United States prosecutors announced 
they would be increasing their "enforcement" of federal law in 
California. This increased enforcement was outlined as the use of new 
tactics, which include threatening property owners with civil 
forfeiture of their properties and any assets derived from them, such 
as rent payments.

Apparently, there is now an accepted level of collateral damage in 
the drug war. These property owners are not even those who the 
federal government has made its enemies. They're just local 
businesses operating well within the law's capacity; they aren't the 
ones selling marijuana. Why should the federal government resort to 
such ends to score a hit on the marijuana industry?

The close loss of Proposition 19 in 2010, which would have legalized 
marijuana for adults 21 and older, showed just how far support for 
marijuana legalization has progressed in California. The words spoken 
on the day of defeat were not sad, but happy, and there was a 
resolute commitment to do it again in two years when the next round 
of elections came - in 2012.

It seems that the federal government wants to "take out" some of the 
funds that will be backing this year's marijuana legalization 
initiative, as well as smear the drug's use in a national forum. 
These raids that have begun in California are merely a sign that the 
drug war is reaching its arrest-laden climax; the great push for 
marijuana legalization is almost over the hill and into the cities.

This isn't just a one-state issue; there have been more than a dozen 
raids carried out in Washington state as well. Washington had its own 
marijuana legalization referendum in 2010, which did not receive 
enough signatures to get on the ballot. Since then, there has been 
talk of another 2012 bid. The federal government seems to be 
concerned about the possibility of the passage of such a referendum.

Colorado has just come under fire as well. All medicinal marijuana 
dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools have been ordered to shut 
down. This is the best possible excuse the federal government could 
have found. Colorado has one of the strictest medicinal marijuana 
programs in the country. They actually have a licensing committee set 
up specifically for medicinal marijuana, and the law has a 
requirement that patients must have a sustained doctor-patient 
relationship with whichever physician prescribes them marijuana. As 
of 2010, their larger facilities are not allowed within 1,000 feet of a school.

That being said, the reasoning behind the shut-down mandate is what 
makes it an excuse. The 1,000-foot rule is part of federal law, and 
it is used to consider the illegal possession and sale of marijuana. 
For example, if you're illegally selling marijuana near a school, 
there is a harsher criminal penalty because we don't want people 
selling drugs to school children. But children aren't even allowed 
into these dispensaries -- that's the beauty of these facilities.

So the state with the most-regulated medicinal marijuana program in 
the country is in a storm. Perhaps this is because of the effort that 
has already begun to have marijuana legalization added as a 
constitutional amendment. It's evident that the threats being made in 
Colorado are part of some larger anti-marijuana-legalization policy 
designed by the federal government.

The will of the people in these states is being trampled on by the 
Obama Administration, but that isn't even the worst part. Rather, 
this is being done by a president who said at the beginning of his 
term that he would not prosecute medicinal marijuana patients and 
dispensaries. He lied.

The hypocrisy among politicians is not limited to any party. The 
federal government has been providing medicinal marijuana to a select 
few since 1976. The program is still operating today, but it was 
closed to new members under the first President George Bush in 1992 
and now has only four remaining members. So how does the federal 
government justify this contradiction? They don't. They just pretend 
it doesn't exist and that the FDA didn't approve marijuana for the 
program as a safe drug approved for human use. They're just waiting 
for the remaining members to die of old age because the marijuana has 
certainly kept their diseases from killing them.

The math says that marijuana will be legalized sooner or later. A 
2011 Gallup poll found that for the first time since 1969, when 
Gallup began asking Americans if marijuana should be legalized, more 
Americans think it should -- 50 percent for legalization and 46 
percent against. Medicinal marijuana has been getting high numbers 
from Gallup for some time. In 1999, 73 percent of Americans showed 
support for medicinal marijuana.

We are the people of this democracy; we are the decision makers. The 
people have spoken nationwide and in states across the country. When 
will they wake up and hear us?
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom