New pot raids call for new national leadership

December 10, 2007

Niki Payne, Daily 49er (Cal State Long Beach)

For all you stoners out there, we all took a hit a couple of weeks ago (and I'm not talking about the kind that makes you all happy and giddy). The hit I'm talking about is when the feds raided a Long Beach medical marijuana dispensary.

Long Beach Compassionate Caregivers (as the joint was officially called), located on 342 E. Fourth St., has now been "closed indefinitely" after the feds served a search warrant "on the basis of probable cause."

"We believe they are in violation of federal law," said a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

There are currently 12 states that acknowledge the medicinal value of marijuana by allowing shops like Compassionate Caregivers to operate. However, federal law still refuses to recognize it because of this so-called "War on Drugs" that's been going on for virtually forever now. It's all politics. They disregard and overlook the health-related benefits for the seriously ill and dying.

Medical cannabis patients cannot be prosecuted in the state of California, but they can be prosecuted under federal law because federal laws supersede state laws.

Recently, in Garden Grove, the court ordered police to return medically prescribed pot confiscated during a traffic stop, after police refused to do so because of federal law. The judge ruled that it's not the responsibility of local police to enforce federal drug laws.

You would think that the state laws would be made in accordance with federal law. Even so, it's sad that we, the people who voted for the Compassionate Use Act in 1996, can't even get the backing of the men in black, who claim they are working for us and not against us.

If you ask me, the federal government is exercising discrimination against the 12 states that recognize medical marijuana in their laws. That was all the "probable cause" they needed. The feds have nothing better to do, so to cause a little raucous, they attack California, a state about as liberal as they come.

How fitting for this to have occurred. It might be a political message to presidential candidate Barack Obama who admitted to inhaling when he was a kid.

"I inhaled frequently. That was the point," said Obama during a televised interview.

That is the most candid thing I've ever heard out of a politician's mouth, especially one running for president. Remember when Bill Clinton said, "I did not inhale?" Who was he kidding? We saw right through you, Bill. So you smoked a little ganja back in the day, big deal.

Speaking of Bill, Hillary Clinton better watch out because Obama might be winning over the votes of stoner America with the issue of legalizing medical marijuana. The War on Drugs would be another twist to the election besides this whole "War against Terrorism."

As a woman, I was all for Clinton becoming the first woman president. But, in light of the fact that Obama may possibly be a supporter of medical marijuana, I am given hope that, one day, marijuana will become a controlled substance just like alcohol and tobacco.

"I would not have the Justice Department prosecute anybody with medical marijuana. It's not a good use of our resources," said Obama just a few months ago. He seriously said that. Look it up on YouTube. It'll make any pothead start chanting his name in song. It's no wonder he seems to appeal to the younger voters.

With Obama in the White House, maybe there is a chance at legalizing marijuana. He's been there, done that. He knows how it goes. People are going to smoke pot regardless of what laws are in place, the same way minors are still consuming alcohol despite the age limit set forth by our laws.

The government should just stop fighting it and capitalize on the black market sales of marijuana by legalizing and regulating it. They can tax the hell out of it and pump that money back into our economy. Plus, instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on federal raids like the one in Long Beach, they would be saving themselves a lot of money.

Like Obama said, it's just not a good use of our resources.

Up with hope! Legalize dope!

Niki Payne is a senior journalism major and a contributing writer for the Daily Forty-Niner.

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