Pubdate: Thu, 16 Feb 2012
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Times-Standard
Author: John Lewallen


It is time for citizens to unite to end federal marijuana prohibition.
The marijuana industry is in communities throughout the United States.
Federal marijuana prohibition is generating violence, corruption,
ignorance and waste on many levels. To deal with the problems of
marijuana abuse, and to develop the many new therapeutic uses of
cannabis being discovered, we should bring cannabis into the light by
repealing federal marijuana prohibition laws.

The California Medical Association, the Mendocino County Board of
Supervisors, and 21 members of the U.S. House of Representatives
recently have called for an end to federal marijuana

James T. Hay, president of the California Medical Association, said in
an Oct. 16, 2011, news release, "This was a carefully considered,
deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific
grounds. As physicians, we need to have a better understanding about
the benefits and risks of medical cannabis so that we can provide the
best possible care for our patients."

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on Dec.
13, 2011, to ask for an end to federal marijuana prohibition.
"Inconsistencies in local, state and federal law create challenges
within our public safety system network and criminal justice system,"
the supervisors stated. "Mendocino County supports the regulation,
legalization, and taxation of marijuana...."

Here in Northern California, marijuana growing is a major source of
livelihood. Medical marijuana is legal under California law. Mendocino
County and other local governments are struggling to make regulations
to permit medical marijuana growing and to protect citizens from the
negative impacts of marijuana growing and sales.

Now there is a federal enforcement attack on growers and dispensaries
operating legally under California state law. Some local officials
have received letters from federal drug enforcement officials,
threatening criminal prosecution if they act to permit or regulate
medical marijuana.

The outlaw marijuana society we are creating by allowing federal
marijuana prohibition is not good for us, our children or
grandchildren. There are the vested interests of outlaw growers making
profits, enforcement agencies building their budgets and seizing
assets from outlaws, criminal gangs spreading corruption and violence
in many nations and a prison-industrial complex overcrowded with
inmates convicted of marijuana offenses.

Youth with few employment opportunities are being drawn into the
shadowy world of marijuana growing and sales. Houses which could
shelter people without homes are used to grow marijuana secretly,
using much electrical energy in a world crying for energy

Most tragically, proponents and opponents of marijuana are played
against each other, preventing us from openly discussing the real
problems of marijuana abuse by youth and others and inhibiting
research into the many healing uses of cannabis.

Please consider joining me in demanding that 2012 be the year that we
end the nightmare of marijuana prohibition by enacting HR 2306, the
Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, introduced in the U.S. House
of Representatives by Rep. Barney Frank and 20 co-sponsors on June 23,
2011. This law, when approved, will repeal all federal penalties for
production, distribution and possession of marijuana. The only federal
marijuana penalties will be for transporting marijuana to states in
violation of state laws.

I hope our current California Northcoast congressional
representatives, Mike Thompson and Lynn Woolsey, will hear from
concerned citizens in a united outcry to enact HR 2306; and that
California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein will introduce
a companion bill in the U.S. Senate. The citizens of the United States
ended alcohol prohibition, and I know we can work together to end
marijuana prohibition.

John Lewallen is an independent candidate for U.S. Congress in
California's Northcoast 2nd Congressional District. Contact him at Lewallen lives with his wife Barbara
in Philo, where the couple owns and operates the Mendocino Sea
Vegetable Company.
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