Pubdate: Sun, 03 Aug 2014
Source: Quad-City Times (IA)
Copyright: 2014 Quad-City Times


Throw away almost every preconceived notion about marijuana.

In the past month...

* Rock Island aldermen unanimously welcomed a $135,000 investment 
from a Chicago-based firm eager to win our region's medical marijuana 
growing rights.

* A former chief of the Illinois State Police under Republican former 
Gov. Jim Edgar signed on as chief of security for this marijuana 
cultivation company.

* The White House declared marijuana a state's rights issue, an 
endorsement that portends a dramatic shift in federal enforcement.

* The U.S. Department of Treasury issued official guidelines to allow 
banks to finance grow operations permitted under state laws.

* Quad-Citian Benton Mackenzie received a hero's welcome in Portland, 
Ore., where marijuana advocates showered him with medicinal and 
recreational marijuana for standing up to Iowa's draconian enforcement.

* Epileptic Iowans are experiencing relief from cannabis extracts by 
a new law supported by Iowa's Republican-dominated House.

* Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is reviewing records in 
Illinois State Police seizure of $107,000 in cash from a 
Massachusetts couple detained on Interstate 80, but never charged 
with a crime. The review follows the Moline Dispatch/Argus 
investigation of systemic cash seizures through state police targeted 
marijuana enforcement. That investigation revealed police sometimes 
targeted traffic enforcement to search vehicles identified by secret 

* The Dispatch/Argus last week reports that a Henry County judge who 
has rubber-stamped approval of countless interstate vehicle searches, 
paused to question a police search in a 2011 case. Judge Richard 
Zimmer said he needed more time to study the kind of enforcement he'd 
routinely supported.

* The New York Times on July 27 launched an editorial series, "Repeal 
Prohibition again," supporting legal marijuana.

Our July 14 editorial against the ineffective marijuana drug war was 
among our most widely read editorials ever. The editorial was 
disseminated over social media and prompted affirmations that crossed 
partisan lines. Few can stomach the hypocrisy of a drug war that has 
zero discernible impact on drug use, and can harm marijuana users far 
more than abuse of the drug itself.

For many Americans, this sweeping change might be regarded as a 
cultural phenomenon, interesting to some, but inconsequential to 
most. But city, state and federal lawmakers can't be so reticent. 
Targeted enforcement continues to imprison Americans for breaking a 
law most Americans no longer support. Multiple polls, including 
Gallup, show growing majorities that favor marijuana legalization.

Even a web poll on arch-conservative Bill O'Reilly's site found 89 
percent approval for legalization among 69,000 viewers.

Lawmakers no longer have to fear backlash from voters who know little 
about the hypocrisy, expense and ineffectiveness of the marijuana 
drug war. Americans are getting a comprehensive look at legal 
recreational and medicinal marijuana. And the outcomes are far better 
than perpetuating the futile, expensive drug war.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom