Pubdate: Sun, 25 Sep 2016
Source: Journal Standard, The (Freeport, IL)
Copyright: 2016 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Author: Chuck Sweeny


I've been thinking a lot lately about marijuana.

No, it's not what you suspect, I don't smoke the stuff.

Nor do I need it to alleviate pain. Rather, it's our country's
schizophrenic way of dealing with "weed." Here in Stephenson County is
In Grown Farms, which is perfectly legal and is growing marijuana
plants to be harvested, packaged and sold at marijuana dispensaries as

You need a doctor's prescription to get it. There hasn't been much
controversy about it. Indeed, folks are happy that a new business
decided to locate in the Freeport area. There's even talk -- perhaps
far-out talk, but still -- of mixing marijuana, legally, with snack
foods like pretzels or potato chips. Meanwhile, next door in Winnebago
County, the county sheriff's police raided two fields, one near
Durand, the other between Rockford and Winnebago, and found what they
said was $1 million worth of marijuana plants. These plants were
growing illegally.

Police said the property owners had not known the plants were growing
in their fields. According to Governing magazine, 25 states and
Washington, D.C., "currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some
form." Four states a€" Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska a€"
have legalized pot for any use. And on Nov. 8, various legalization
measures will be on nine state ballots. Some are medical marijuana
referendums. But in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine and
Arizona, the question on the ballot is outright legalization.
California is our most populous state, now with 39.5 million people,
according to It has the world's
sixth-largest economy, having just passed Spain. As California goes,
so goes the nation. If voters legalize pot, the state would earn $1.08
billion in tax revenue a year. Uncle Sam, however, is not amused.

The federal behemoth declined to take marijuana off its "List of Stuff
You Can't Have Because We Are Fighting a War on Drugs." Yes, we've
been fighting that war for more than 40 years. As we know from Iraq
and Afghanistan, fighting wars gets to be a habit, and habits are hard
to break. Here's the paradox: The feds consider marijuana an illegal
drug. But the U.S. is not shutting down pot-growing and sales
operations in states that have decided it is legal in various

What we have here is the doctrine of dual sovereignty run amok. We've 
been here before, and not so long ago. When the U.S. got all 
self-righteous in 1919 and passed the 18th Amendment banning
the sale and production of alcoholic beverages, effective in January
1920, it was hailed as the noble experiment. Cops at the federal,
state and local level were kept busy raiding speakeasies a€" illegal
clubs a€" confiscating stills and arresting proprietors. Canadian
whiskey was spirited across the 4,000-mile unguarded border to the
U.S. The cops often invited the papers and newsreel cameras to record
elaborate, highly choreographed raids where casks were gleefully
chopped open and booze flowed down the streets.
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