Pubdate: Thu, 27 Sep 2012
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2012 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Note: Seldom prints LTEs from outside it's circulation area.
Author: Logan Jenkins


In Del Mar, Proposition H stands for Headache.

In Solana Beach, Proposition W stands for Weary.

Taken together, they're an exhausting migraine.

The identical measures ask voters in November to give their blessing 
to medical marijuana dispensaries, a fugitive group seeking sanctuary 
in culturally tolerant cities.

As a sweetener, 2.5 percent sales tax would be exhaled into the 
cities' general funds, a form of bribery that begs for legal challenge.

No question, a healthy percentage, maybe a majority, of the 
liberal-leaning citizens of Del Mar and Solana Beach initially will 
look kindly on the pair of propositions, qualified for the ballot by 
Citizens for Patient Rights, a statewide pro-dispensary advocacy 
group that has its champions.

In San Diego, for example, Democratic mayoral candidate Bob Filner 
has expressed conceptual support for the revival of the retail outlets.

But in the end, I believe, the two coastal cities will reject the 
twin cans of worms.

Here's the power-point reasoning for that conclusion:

* Californians approved Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act of 
1996, with the understanding that people who were suffering from 
painful symptoms could cultivate and possess marijuana for their own relief.

Without the word "compassion" in the proposition's title, the measure 
likely would have gone down to defeat.

* The last 16 years have demonstrated that, if there were truth in 
advertising, the word "opportunistic" would have subbed for "compassionate."

In the reality show of history, legions of recreational marijuana 
users shuffled out from the shadows to buy weed from discreet 
storefronts that popped up like magic mushrooms.

For every sick person who obtained his/her "medicine," a line of 
stoners with faked ailments, validated by dubious doctors, scored 
high-quality stuff. California's compassion turned into a goofy punch line.

* Honestly, one can be a libertarian on the marijuana issue -- you 
can be an opponent of the prohibition of a widely embraced drug that 
demonstrably wreaks less havoc than alcohol -- but a contrarian when 
it comes to de facto head shops posing as medicinal clinics.

Yes, a compelling moral and financial argument can be made for 
outright legalization. In California, Proposition 19 made its case in 
2010 but failed to win a majority. Washington's going to take its 
turn on Nov. 6.

But there's no good justification for a con game that scoffs at the 
law. At that, most citizens of sober conscience draw the line.

* Granted, the 100-year-old war on drugs in general, and the crusade 
against marijuana in particular, has been a complete and utter 
failure. The economic and social costs of prohibition defy 
calculation. The United States has failed to find a sensible 
compromise with mankind's persistent desire to transcend quotidian 
life through altered chemistry.

* And yet, in my opinion, Del Mar and Solana Beach will not pray at 
the altar of "compassion."

Not only would the cities be complicit in a form of fraud, they'd be 
vulnerable to legal challenges on any number of fronts, from the 
problematic tax payoff to the constant chafing against federal 
anti-drug laws that technically supersede state law.

What city in its right mind would go out on a limb to weave this rat's nest?

* There are only three reasons for coastal residents to vote for the 

First, you have a painful ailment and you want access to high-grade 
marijuana. (Fair enough. You deserve compassion.)

Second, you want to get high and the medical stuff is mind-blowing. 
(You know who you are.)

Third, you believe anti-marijuana laws are brain-dead, and 
dispensaries, no matter how corruptly managed, will help pave the way 
for all-out legalization.

* Regarding that last reason - and this is my last power point - the 
opposite may be true.

Dispensaries, as they've evolved since 1996, don't push legalization 
forward in the court of opinion. If anything, the systematic con game 
breeds contempt for marijuana activists.

The anti-prohibition movement will never get any higher, even in 
compassionate cities like Del Mar and Solana Beach, if it's defined by fraud.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom