Across the nation, medical marijuana clinics are being busted and shut down, their owners arrested. This past week saw coordinated raids at licensed medical marijuana clinics in California, Washington State, Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Nevada. What’s going on ?
After several years of extraordinary gains for medical marijuana, the anti-marijuana forces are striking back. A coalition of hard-line local sheriffs, ambitious prosecutors, and veteran drug warriors is finding a new calling in life – prosecuting medical marijuana clinics and their patients.
Why go after lawfully licensed medical marijuana clinics, and seriously ill cancer and AIDS patients? The answer: it’s easy.
Licensed medical marijuana clinics are in the open. They have offices, warehouses and customer records. They are easy targets for cops looking for a quick bust, and prosecutors looking for political advancement.
Like most things today, crime is moving to the internet – phishing scams, identity theft, Ponzi schemes. But your local sheriff is not likely to make many cyber-busts. Perpetrators are often out-of-state, even out of the country, and old drug warriors lack the skills to tackle cyber-crime.
After 9-11, loads of money was spent beefing up local law enforcement to fight the threat of terrorism, but combating terrorism doesn’t produce arrests for the cop on the street.
Violent crime too, is way down. In D.C. and elsewhere, most violent crime is down over 50% since peaking in the 1980’s. So what does that leave? Well, there’s cancer patients, AIDS sufferers, and the facilities providing them compassionate care.
The justification for these raids is the claim that some people are faking illness in order to get medical marijuana. Some customers are not really sick, the argument goes, but are buying pot for recreational use.
Do some people get medical marijuana by fraud? Of course. Just like some people get prescription pharmaceuticals by fraud. But we don’t close down the local CVS or Walgreens because some customers use phony prescriptions.
Nor do we close down pharmaceutical companies for marketing recreational drugs. Viagra (and its many imitators) is advertised on the SuperBowl. A medication developed to help a small population of those with true erectile dysfunction is now marketed to Joe SixPack as an aid to recreational fornication. The difference: medical marijuana is grown and sold by thousands of mom and pop clinics. E.D. drugs have the backing of Big Pharm.
And so we are left with a sickening parade of licensed clinic operators and terminally ill patients being hauled before courts to explain why they shouldn’t be in jail – often facing more jail time than those who rob, maim and kill.
Will things ever change? There is hope. This year, for the first time, Gallup polling is reporting that more people support decriminalization of marijuana than oppose it. Gallup Poll Results: Marijuana
Slowly, people are beginning to understand that the war on marijuana is a war on their own kids, their neighbors, and if they are unlucky enough to get sick, maybe on themselves.