19 January 2007

CA Medical Marijuana Raids Prompt Protest

According to one of my readers "Over the past month, the DEA conducted raids on three dispensaries and several medical cannabis grow facilities across California, restricting safe access to cannabis for bona-fide patients statewide."

Colorado is one of a number of states whose state law permits the distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. It is not alone: "By 1992, 35 states in the United States had endorsed referenda for medical marijuana." This continues to be against federal law, despite some pretty solid evidence that it is safe and effective for the treatment of certain medical projects (discussed in the link).

An organization in favor of medical marijuana has called for a protest of this DEA action and will convene to do so:

Monday January 22nd @ High Noon
Byron G. Rogers Federal Office Building
1961 Stout Street
Denver, CO 80294-3538

For the record, the DEA clearly has the legal authority to conduct the raids. Going after what is clearly the most harmless instances of drug use in the United States, in a breach of comity between the United States government and state governments may not be a wise allocation of resources.

In contrast, while the United States government can prosecute death penalty cases in any state, only five death penalty convictions have been secured in non-death penalty states, largely out of deference to state law preferences.

Presumably, the raids are conducted mostly because they are open violations of federal law and hence, easy from an enforcement prespective and a symbolically important way of upholding a failed policy. In the same way high profile immigration raids are a symbolic way of upholding a failed immigration policy.

The simple solution would be for the Congress to adopt a medical marijuana exception in states where this is allowed under state law and regulations.

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