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Medical Marijuana Brings Much Frustration

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California -- Many people blame the government for the war on drugs because the government refuses to legalize the drug. But the war on drugs isn't as shortsighted as proponents of legalization would like to think. Legalizing marijuana will not solve all of our drug war problems and certainly won't make our country a better place to live. There is silence now where once loud huzzahs erupted from medical marijuana advocates in California after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled this spring that federal authorities will no longer raid or interfere with medipot dispensaries in states where it is legal, so long as users abide by state law.

Advocates of legalization propositions say that a federally regulated marijuana market will drive the cost of marijuana down, decrease the crime rate and thus decrease the wasted efforts put forth by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The federal government spends billions of dollars each year in an effort to undermine drug distribution throughout the country. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2006, about 6,000 people a day used marijuana for the first time, a total of 2.2 million Americans. Of these, 63.3 percent were under age 18. So when the government legalizes pot for people over 21, as any of its attempted legislation has stated, it wonТt suddenly eliminate the demand for marijuana of those underage users. The war on drugs will continue.

Federal prosecutions of medipot providers arrested while George W. Bush was president continue. Inconsistencies in what's legal persist from one county to the next. While some officials in big cities and urban counties advocate municipal sales of pot to keep prices down and make sure clinics operate within the law, their counterparts in other places continue banning medipot altogether.

The concept that marijuana is less harmful than cigarettes or alcohol may be a true statement to some degree but isn't a cause for legalization. Standards should not be set on degree of harmfulness, but degree of helpfulness. Also, let's not forget that the tobacco industry won't just step aside to let a brand new business take over the market. Should marijuana become legal, who do you think will first start the mass manufacturing? My guess of Marlboro is a good one. But Camel is a decent choice, too. And if Marlboro wants to keep people smoking pot just like it does with tobacco, it may start putting a couple Уharmless ingredients into the mixture to help a little. After that, itТs anyoneТs guess as to which of the three drugs is the worst for you.

Los Angeles County, for the biggest example, has more than 100 medical cannabis clubs, storefronts and delivery services, but nearby cities like Anaheim and Pasadena ban them. While some medipot supply outlets feature smoking lounges and marijuana brownies, counties like Amador, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Merced, Riverside, Stanislaus and Sutter ban all sales, according to the pro-pot group Americans for Safe Access.

While the revenue stream may be helpful to the economy from a monetary standpoint, at what cost do we seek out this fortune? Juxtapose thinking only with a monetary mindset, why shouldn't California lower the drinking age to 18? Our tourism industry will increase tenfold, with millions of 18 year olds trekking across our border in search of their state's forbidden fruit. Besides the fact that the federal government would revoke several of our subsidiaries, the reason we don't do this is because of the health impact it would have on the general public and state-to-state relations. But there's confusion here, too, since no one can say how much prices might drop if pot became legal.

This all creates a legal maze of almost unprecedented complexity that probably won't be resolved until or unless Congress legalizes marijuana, or at least its use for legitimate medical reasons. No one should expect that to happen anytime soon.

Having a bunch of 18 year olds driving across the border to get drunk and then driving back home isn't a good thing. The cost outweighs the benefits, just like with marijuana. The cost is far worse than the potential monetary benefits. That's why, if you use medical marijuana and live in housing subsidized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, you can be evicted anytime - even if you're in complete compliance with every state and local law. As a result, Americans for Safe Access recommends on its Website that such patients not smoke pot in their apartments, but try to use only edible pot concoctions or vaporizers.

I'm all for medical marijuana. If you're in pain, it's no different to be prescribed marijuana rather than morphine or Vicodin. But I'm not about to push for the full legalization of the latter two drugs either. Legalization is incentivizing, and the costs of incentivizing weed among our nationТs youth are scary, at best. While there may be some four million people smoking weed in our country now, imagine encouraging it among the rest. I can't think of a better way to stimulate our economy than to inject into it a tool that entirely destroys ambition and motivation. Excuse the language, but nothing says fuck it like a big dose of THC in the morning. Instead of mandatory 15 minute smoking breaks for cigarette-smoking workers, employers will have to implement new hours for pot-smoking workers: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Wednesday. Nike may have to change their slogan from Just Do It to Just Don't.I can see the potential now.

Daily Nexus columnist Shaeffer Bannigan can see a red-eyed, stoney version of Joe Camel now.

At the same time, some politicians argue that California should just forget about both federal law and all disputes over the medical merits of pot, and simply legalize the weed in order to tax it, which might help balance the constantly strapped state budget. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, taking a cue from Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco, who last winter proposed full legalization, argued this month that California should consider just that. Some estimates claim marijuana is the largest cash crop along California's North Coast and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with estimates of the total street value of California-grown pot ranging up to $14 billion per year. A 10 percent sales tax on that amount would contribute more than $1.4 billion to the state's coffers. Thomas D. Elias writes on California politics and other issues. His column appears Tuesdays and Sundays.

This information is taken from different resources for informative purposes only.

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