Today’s NY Times recounted medical marijuana dispensary owners in Los Angeles greeting this week’s announcement by the new US Attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr., that the Justice Dept. has no plans to prosecute the pot dispensaries if they are running their businesses legally according to state law in CA.
The back-and-forth about CA’s ballot initiative process in the comments section of my previous post notwithstanding, I’m assuming a good deal of our readers are happy about the 1996 passage of Prop 215, which legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Twelve other states have similar laws. In my view, it’s a backdoor way to begin decriminalizing pot, which has been long overdue.
Other countries have made marijuana legal and have not become unhinged as a result– although I will concede the point that, as a nation, the US seems pretty unhinged already, even when it’s stone-cold sober. Maybe a little pot now and then would take the edge off of the likes of hedge fund managers and financial analysts, mellow them out a bit and make them realize there’s more to life than making money. I’m not holding my breath, but I will be inhaling. (Groovy LA pot map after the clickoris.)
During the Bush reich, citing federal law that supercedes state law, the DEA was instructed to make life uncomfortable at best and impossible at worst for the numerous pot dispensaries that popped up like so many weeds in LA over the past dozen years. Numerous raids were conducted, although a spokesman for the US attorney in Los Angeles said yesterday in the LA Times that only four medical pot dispensary cases were prosecuted since Prop 215’s passage. Rejoice over your tax dollars put to effective, good use.
Bush’s “zero tolerance” policy played well with the right’s coalition of Bible-thumpers, hippie-haters and other self-appointed moral scolds, but it served little more than its actual purpose of blowing smoke up the Republican base’s collective ass. Holder’s announcement is just one small step towards eventual decriminalization of pot in this country. I imagine preening, self-righteous anger from what remains of the conservative movement will be evident throughout the process.
Graphic: I’ve had this pot map JPEG for some time now, and I have no idea where it’s from. – CP