Pubdate: Wed, 18 Dec 2013
Source: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)
Copyright: 2013 Red Bluff Daily News
Author: Richard Mazzucchi
Column: Positive Point


A new poll by the Field Research Corporation shows that a majority of
California voters now support the legalization of marijuana.

This is a notable change from 1969, when they first started measuring
sentiments on marijuana, when only 13% favored its legalization. The
dramatic failure of punitive drug policy to reduce use, potency and
crime no doubt contributes to the turnaround, as did recent successful
legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington passed last year.
Today only 31% of voters want strict enforcement of existing laws or
tougher laws to be enacted.

A different poll about a proposed 2014 initiative to legalize
recreational marijuana in California received even higher support, at

"Marijuana laws ensure a dangerous illegal marketplace and destroy the
lives of those convicted under them. And because police are allowed to
keep assets seized in raids and federal grants reward drug arrests,
they skew law enforcement priorities. We're not solving as many
violent crimes now as we did before we started vigorously enforcing
these laws. Californians are starting to recognize that and realize
how much safer the trade would be if we were able to control and
regulate it," said Lieutenant Commander Diane Goldstein (Ret.) of the
Redondo Beach Police Department and a board member of Law Enforcement
Against Prohibition, a group of police, DEA officials, customs agents,
prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement officials who, after
fighting on the front lines of the war on drugs, now advocate for its

While I can understand the grave concerns of parents and neighbors of
marijuana growers and users it is important to realize that making a
recreational drug illegal is an ineffective means of controlling
access and environmental impacts.

Instead substance prohibitions make production and distribution highly
profitable crime opportunities that breed contempt for authority and
regulation. We will be far better served when the resources wasted
fighting and losing the "war on drugs" are allocated to education,
rehabilitation, and regulation to ensure that potential drug users are
well informed, that those wishing to curb addictive behaviors are
provided with rehabilitation services, and effective regulation is in
place to ensure that use in limited to informed adults.

Provision of medical marijuana in California to patients that benefit
from therapeutic effects was a step in the right direction, but fails
to control rampant recreational use by those who simply pay for a
medical recommendation with questionable or non-existent maladies.
Indeed clinics that specialize in providing such recommendation for a
fee openly advertise in the Chico News and Review and other regional
publications. Anyone that does a bit of research who is willing to lie
about phantom symptoms is certain to obtain such a recommendation,
thereby fraudulently circumventing laws that prohibit recreational

Regulation of medicinal marijuana production is problematic because of
the tremendous profit margins and size of recreation use of the
illicit weed. By growing indoors with high wattage lamps or
cultivating out of doors in remote locations to avoid detection great
harm is done to our environment by unnecessary power plant pollution,
uncontrolled water and chemical run-off, and personal injury to those
that enforce or break the law. All of these adverse consequences can
be effectively mitigated by decriminalizing marijuana as more
objective and reasoned public policy initiatives are instituted.

The public policies might include the collection of taxes and fees
that regulate legal marijuana growth, and the oversight of
dispensaries to ensure honest quality grading, weights and measures,
and distribution only to qualified adults.

Stiff penalties and enforcement of laws to help prevent distribution
to minors, adulteration, and irresponsible production can thereby
benefit society as we come to grips with the realities of marijuana
use and abuse.

It is high time (no pun intended) for those driven by fear and
contempt of the "peace and love" movement of the sixties to realize
more enlightened efforts to better regulate marijuana production,
distribution, and use must be implemented now to protect our children,
our environment, and respect for the rule of law before matters get

The toll of our ineffective existing drug prohibitions as measured by
the millions that serve or have served time in prison only to be
released and profitably continue down that path cannot be overstated
as we consider our problematic pot prohibitions.
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