Legalization Not The Simple Answer

Legalization Not The Simple Answer
Posted by CN Staff on March 09, 2009 at 16:05:39 PT
In Our Opinion: Ukiah Daily Journal Staff
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal
Ukiah, CA -- A bill to legalize and tax marijuana is getting lots of attention not only here in California but across the nation where people are wondering if it's finally time to put marijuana in the same category as wine, beer and liquor. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, (D-San Francisco) who introduced AB 390 to legalize pot smoking for those over 21 and allow commercial farming of the drug and tax it at $50 per ounce, says it would raise about $1 billion a year for state coffers.
For a lot of people - including a lot of people in Mendocino County - legalizing pot has always seemed like a logical idea. But, as we saw in Mendocino County when pot was all but legal under our former local Measure G combined with legalized medical marijuana, there are a host of problems that come with letting just anyone grow marijuana.Mr. Ammiano's bill talks about "commercial" marijuana growing, but we know where a lot that commercial growing will take place: right here in Mendocino County. The people living in LA and San Francisco might think legalizing marijuana is a great idea and they'd love to be able to stop by the corner store and buy their pack of joints, but what about the people who live in the agricultural areas where all that pot will be raised?While we don't think Mr. Ammiano's bill has a chance of passing, (for one thing, even if passed, it appears to depend on federal legalization for much of it to take effect) we think that while the conversation about legalizing the growing of marijuana in the state is under way, there are several points that need to be addressed: Like having, say, a liquor still in the back yard, would marijuana growing be prohibited at home? No. Under Mr. Ammiano's bill anyone 21 years of age can grow up to 10 plants in the back yard. However, that provision provides 10 plants to anyone in the household who is of age. That means two people, 20 plants, 3 people, 30 plants and so on. Citizens of Ukiah know what having someone next door with 20 plants in the backyard smells like and what an attraction it is to teenagers. This bill would make it all legal. Will local communities be allowed to regulate the growing of marijuana both commercially and individually? Like, say, a pig farm, which can stink up a whole neighborhood, will cities and townships be allowed to prohibit growing any marijuana in residential areas or allow it only within certain zoning areas? No. The bill also states that defying the cultivation laws is an infraction with a fine of $100. How is that a deterrent?How will the safety and quality of the marijuana be regulated? Will there be requirements that all marijuana grown commercially be grown organically? Who will oversee the quality and the safety of the product? We may save money on some law enforcement aspects, but what about all the agricultural inspectors and tax collectors we'll need to make sure we're creating a product safe for the public as well as getting our money's worth, so to speak. The bill does not address the quality of the marijuana or its safety. If marijuana growing becomes legal, there's certainly no reason to continue prohibiting commercial hemp growing. How will the state regulate the inevitable conflicts between hemp and marijuana growers whose crops are not mutually compatible (industrial hemp plants can cross pollinate marijuana and weaken its potency). The bill does not address this. What will the state do about regulating the undisputed health problems associated with smoking - marijuana is bad for your lungs too. Will second hand marijuana smoke be regulated in the same way as second hand cigarette smoke? The bill only states that smoking or ingesting marijuana in "public" is an infraction. The bill also strikes the section of law prohibiting selling or providing marijuana to minors but does not reinstitute it elsewhere except to the extent that disobeying marijuana regulations is an infraction. The bill provides that the $50 per ounce tax be spent solely on drug education programs. How does that help the budget crisis? The bill strikes the current provision in law in which marijuana is treated the same as an open container of alcohol for the purposes of having the substance in your car with you. How will law enforcement be able to tell if you are driving high and police marijuana smoking while driving?The bill provides for mandated security systems at all marijuana growing and processing places as well as at retail outlets, and background checks on employees therein. That certainly implies acknowledgment that this is still a valuable and dangerous commodity. How many growers will pass background checks and how many will instead go the "unregulated" route? Even if the bill is moot without federal marijuana legalization, how does the state deal with the tens of thousands of people who will move to California from the rest of the nation to grow marijuana anyway, simply because it is "legal" in California? Many of them will try to do it without paying the taxes, without obeying any local regulations, without being part of the "system."The price of marijuana may drop in California (although it hasn't dropped much even with legal medical marijuana in place here and several other states already) but it will still be well worth growing for the folks in Chicago, New York, Boston and Miami just to name a few large cities which will depend on "legal" California pot growing. How will the state handle the lawsuits from those states when they claim that California is exporting its drug to their areas? How much law enforcement will be needed to keep the pot within the state's borders? We don't think frankly that the state will save all that much on law enforcement when the rest of the nation's pot growers spark California's 21st Century Gold Rush.For years, people have argued about whether marijuana smoking is on a par with wine drinking and whether our legal and prison systems should be tied up with marijuana cases. Whichever side of those arguments you reside, it is clear that legalization is not a simple solution.Source: Ukiah Daily Journal (CA)Published: March 9, 2009Copyright: 2009 Ukiah Daily JournalContact: udjrb pacific.netURL: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #8 posted by knightsmanx on March 11, 2009 at 04:09:52 PT:
Reverend Bud Green
Would it be better to make a fair amount of progress while having to deal with 1 or 2 problems that can be worked out later then making no progress at all? All of the officials BS pretty much is going to force us to do just that if the goal we are hoping for is to be achieved. What I mentioned was not a long term goal, just a possibly short term solution, especially looking at all the garbage spewed by people who don't know anything being sucked up by the people who believe everything they say (being about 20% of the voter population i would say) appeasing these people while in the works of obtaining our goals should be ideal enough until we don't need these people anymore because the rest of the voter population will understand what is really going on here, due to studies that are not influenced by government money that tried to push for a certain outcome, and scientists that actually want to find cures for multiple diseases using a substance that was previously "frowned upon". It may sound bad, but most ignorant people will remain ignorant people due to stubbornness and their closed mind set.On a side question, if a licensing system was put in place, would you restrict who is allowed to obtain these licenses? Or would you allow everyone to do it? And to be honest, I believe that if a licensing system were put in place, that even home personal use growers should be required as well, but making a license good for 10 years for home growers and 1 year for commercial use, in which they would need to pass an inspection to confirm the quality of their product.
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Comment #7 posted by Storm Crow on March 10, 2009 at 15:04:59 PT
It was paraquat.....
Made the pot yellowish. Made people sick. It drove up the price of "good" pot and made a lot of kids turn to pharmaceuticals and get addicted to hard drugs. (And, way to go, DEA! Got to protect them kids from that evil pot- It's OK to poison them, or get them addicted to hard drugs- but don't let them have their "deadly weed"!)And as for how can cannabis be dangerous? Well, there are common pesticides that are chemical "first cousins" to nerve gas. Nothing I'd care to get in my lungs. A certain fertilizer (frequently used on tobacco) is also slightly radioactive. I garden organically, but many folks don't. 
Then there is moldy pot- which can be VERY bad on the lungs. Certain people are sensitive to molds, and could have a very nasty reaction.Microbiological contaminants of marijuana there are unpleasant people who put making an extra buck, before the health of their souls and the physical health of others. Not so long ago in Germany, there was a bunch of cases where potheads were getting heavy lead poisoning. Turned out some "unpleasant person" was using lead dust to make his pot heavier. (There is a special place in hell for beings like that!) Smoke Pot, Get Lead Poisoning? (Germany/Europe)
 We need LEGAL cannabis with the same level of quality control you would expect when buying any culinary or medicinal herb! 
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Comment #6 posted by ripit on March 10, 2009 at 07:32:02 PT
 wasn't it paraquat or
sumthin like that? and another thing they keep talkin about drivin while impaired,whats wrong with using the same test as they use for drinkin?i'm not talkin about blood tests or pee tests (these just show its in your system not if u r impaired)just the ones they use like walkin on the line and such.its a no brainer, don't ya think? and O.T. yesterday on the dr.s tv show they spouted off a bunch of crap about cannabis causing testes cancer and making guys grow boobs and a lot of other straight out lies! i'm going on there forums and ask them why they did this and to explain! 
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Comment #5 posted by knightshade on March 10, 2009 at 06:38:11 PT:
crop 'safety'
honestly, has anyone ever heard of anybody smoking weed that was UNSAFE? with the exception of that stuff the government sprayed on a lot of it in the 70s or 80s... the name escapes me.but what i mean is, pot growers dont cut their products with other weird chemicals like someone that cooks meth or presses X pills does.aside from accidentally spraying your buds with Raid right before theyre dried, or your girlfriend spilling a bottle of nail polish remover on them, how is it possible to have UNSAFE weed? the prohibitionists talk about it all the time but thats one thing we never really discuss or debunk. 
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Comment #4 posted by BGreen on March 10, 2009 at 05:38:09 PT
Sorry to disagree with you, knightsmanx
The DEA has done enough harm in regards to cannabis. They have demonstrated a barbarism that is inexcusable and to let them have any power and control over cannabis will just leave them free to harass, terrorize and kill innocent people over the cannabis plant.I will not stop until the DEA has nothing to do with the cannabis plant except enjoying it in their own homes.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #3 posted by knightsmanx on March 10, 2009 at 04:59:31 PT:
you know geochemist, i did not know that, personally i stay away from cigarettes as much as possible just because i HATE them, cigarette's and alcohol killed my father, which is why i don't smoke, and only drink on occasion. But as for this article, wouldn't a simpler solution be to start off with having licenses that need to be bought for say $50, to be able to grow, and only allow 5 plants outdoors and up to 10 indoors per household, while keeping on half of the DEA forces to crack down on those breaking these rules, and the marijuana that is confiscated can be sold to outlets, bringing in more money for the government, as well as only issuing those licenses to people who have no violent crimes, theft charges, or other drug charges not applying to marijuana on their record. (i include theft cause i hate thieves too...) As for other states and any migration, their migration should be cut down if the DEA forces are able to kick it into gear and really crack down on those breaking these laws. Keeping in mind that if one state legalizes this, and the federal government follows suit, other states shouldn't have too much of a problem as soon as they see the amount of money that marijuana will bring in, keeping it illegal will just be plain stupid.What I personally am looking forward to is that when it becomes legal, the fact that we won't have to import all of this garbage all the time, and will be able to cut at least half of our imports with items created from hemp.I see it happening soon, be it 2 years or 5-10 years. I just hope that they do it the right way and and get their heads out of their butts to see how many different jobs will be created, and how much money will stay in the U.S.
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Comment #2 posted by GeoChemist on March 10, 2009 at 04:07:09 PT
I am so
sick and tired of this: "Will second hand marijuana smoke be regulated in the same way as second hand cigarette smoke? The bill only states that smoking or ingesting marijuana in "public" is an infraction". The problem with tobacco smoke and why second hand tobacco smoke can be dangerous is because it contains an unstable radioactive isotope part of the uranium 238 decay series. Generally the unstable isotope is in the form of Pb-210 (lead-210) when it is inhaled into the lungs; this is generally why it takes cancer so long to develop in smokers. Pb-210 is meta-stable for ~22 years before it decays again; the final two stages of decay are 5 days and 140 days respectively. Before weighing in with editorials/opinions, people should research what they are going to talk about before they make themselves look like fools....oops too late.
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on March 09, 2009 at 21:23:50 PT
discussion of the end of cannabis prohibition 
The discussion of the end of cannabis prohibition has begun. If we are to have a legal, regulated industry these are valid questions and need some type of answer. It will just have to be made up as we go along subject to change. First the criminal penalties regarding cannabis need to be removed so people can have an honest debate about the cannabis industry and their part, or future part in it, then the details can be worked out. It can work it people want it to work. I think most people want it to work. Once the groundwork is laid the rest of the country and the world will follow and this terrible cannabis prohibition will finally end.
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