California leads

“bullet” Tom Ammiano (who sponsored the bill to legalize marijuana in California) in the SFGate:

What if California could raise hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue to preserve vital state services without any tax increase? And what if at the same time, we could, without any new expense, help protect our endangered wilderness areas while making it harder for our kids to get drugs? […]
There may be disagreements about what direction to take, but it is clear to everyone involved that our current approach is not working. Regulation allows common-sense controls and takes the marijuana industry out of the hands of unregulated criminals.
As a member of the state Assembly, I believe we must acknowledge reality and bring innovative solutions to the issue of marijuana, not simply wait for the federal government. This is how change happens. Californians lead rather than follow, and we can set an example for the nation as we did on medical marijuana by passing AB390.

“bullet” And he’s interviewed in Salon:

Do you think legalizing it endorses its use?
Its use is there anyway. People do it everywhere. It’s better if you have a situation, like with booze, when you regulate it. If you’re smoking the legal product, you’re an adult, and it’s not full of pesticides, additives or other crap. The environment would benefit because a lot of these rogue plantations pollute the water source and deplete the soil. The growers pull up and walk away without any kind of remediation. You have to admit to reality here. I think everyone has been on this big denial trip.

“bullet” Californians inspire others, too. Steve Huntley in today’s Chicago Sun Times writes Legalizing marijuana makes sense, cents

The day may not be far off when Americans conclude, as they did with Prohibition in the 1930s, that violence associated with the marijuana ban is worse than the drug’s social ills. Some will raise the slippery slope argument that legalization opens the way to decriminalizing hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. Maybe we would have that discussion if legal marijuana works out, but saying yeah to one doesn’t mean saying yes to the other.
Marijuana prohibition no longer makes sense, if it ever did. For the record, my recreational chemical of choice is alcohol. After the sun sets, I like to enjoy a glass of wine or scotch. Why shouldn’t my neighbor, if so inclined, be able to relax with a joint?

“bullet” Good news from California’s DMV. While they claim not to be changing policy, there had been indications that they were yanking driver’s licenses of medical marijuana patients simply because of their status. Now they’ve clarified that medical marijuana is treated “exactly the same as any other prescription drug.”
“bullet” The Appeal Democrat (Maysville, CA) editorial suggests that the next step needs to be re-scheduling marijuana.

The criteria for Schedule I are as follows: “A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse, B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.”
Marijuana does not meet any of these criteria. In 1988 the then-chief administrative law judge of the DEA, Francis Young, stated as much in an extensive advisory opinion based on several years of hearings. This view was reaffirmed by an extensive 1999 report in book form by the government’s Institute of Medicine, which summarized all the most recent research documenting marijuana’s medicinal uses and potential.
As the law is written, then, marijuana does not belong on Schedule I. If anything it belongs on Schedule V, the least-restrictive schedule. But even putting it on Schedule II (along with cocaine, morphine, amphetamines, PCP and opium) would allow physicians and their patients to use it appropriately. It would still not allow “recreational” use.
We understand that the Obama administration has a lot on its plate. But correcting this ongoing mistake, thereby alleviating a great deal of pain and suffering nationwide, is worth consideration.

“bullet” Then there are those in California who lead… the wrong way.
San Diego County is nothing if not determined (or perhaps pigheaded). They really don’t like the state’s medical marijuana law and are doing everything they can to avoid implementing it (at great taxpayer expense) despite being shot down by every court so far.

San Diego County attorneys say they are pressing ahead with a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to resolve conflicting state and federal medical marijuana laws. That‰s in spite of comments from U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, suggesting federal enforcement of marijuana laws may change.

I really don’t believe the Supreme Court will take this one. They’ve been pretty clear all along that while federal law supersedes state law, it doesn’t negate it.

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