Pubdate: Sat, 23 May 2015
Source: Reporter, The (Vacaville, CA)
Contact:  2015 The Reporter
Author: Robert Sharpe


In regard to columnist Ernest Kimme's column ("No easy answers for 
marijuana issue,"  The Reporter 5-12-15), it's been almost twenty 
years since California voters approved medical marijuana. Restricting 
access at this point is a gift to Mexican drug cartels. One day 
marijuana will be fully legal nationwide and there will be no 
suburban basement grows with artificial lights and massive carbon 
footprints. Environmentally destructive wilderness grows will become 
a thing of the past.

These are vestiges of marijuana prohibition. When fully legal, 
legitimate farmers will produce marijuana by the ton under natural 
sunlight at a fraction of the current cost. It will be virtually 
worthless. Financial incentives drive destructive cultivation 
practices. Marijuana prohibition distorts supply and demand dynamics 
so that big money grows on little trees.

Mexican drug cartels don't sneak into national forests to cultivate 
cucumbers and tomatoes. They cannot compete with farmers. The time 
for California to regulate medical marijuana has passed. Now is the 
time for California to catch up with Colorado.

For the sake of the environment, the sooner the marijuana plant is 
treated as a fully legal agricultural commodity, the better.

Robert Sharpe, MPA, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, 
Washington D.C.
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