Pubdate: Sat, 17 Oct 2009
Source: Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA)
Copyright: 2009 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Author: Mike Meno


Your call for the legalization and regulation of marijuana in
California ("Time to get real about marijuana," Editorial, Oct. 11)
was one state officials should seriously consider.

Marijuana is California's largest cash crop, valued at almost $14
billion annually, yet it remains completely untaxed. Instead, the
majority of marijuana profits go exclusively to Mexican drug cartels
waging a vicious criminal war on our country's southern border.

A recent front-page article in the Washington Post explained how
America's growing medical marijuana industry has helped cut into the
cartels' profits (and power) line -- accomplishing something American
law enforcement has not been able to.

That's one of many reasons it was so disheartening last week to see
L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley declare that L.A.'s medical
marijuana dispensing collectives are illegal and should be shut down.

If Cooley were somehow successful in eliminating medical marijuana
facilities, the effect would be disastrous for patients forced to find
their medicine in the underground market, while aiding the ruthless
drug cartels that often supply that market. Cooley's legal reasoning
is also questionable. Last year, California's attorney general stated
that "properly organized and operated" dispensing collectives "may be
lawful under California law," even when operating as

State officials should heed the growing call from citizens for
sensible policies that would allow California to tax and regulate
marijuana like alcohol while guaranteeing safe access to seriously ill

Mike Meno

Assistant Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

Washington, D.C.
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