A Police Officer’s Job Can Be Confusing

Other than the gun, the power, and the company car, I have no idea why anyone would become a law enforcement officer.  It’s a hard job, and we learn that in California the job keeps getting more  . . . challenging.  Now, cops in Cali are supposed to distinguish between pot grown legitimately for medical use from pot grown to give you a smile.  Wouldn’t legalization be easier?
California’s San Joaquin Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country. It is also where, among the fresh fruits and vegetables, an estimated half-a-million plants of marijuana are growing openly, some allegedly being sold for non-medicinal purposes. [Shocked, I’m shocked!]

“In the last two years, we’ve seen large-scale commercial farming operations of marijuana and explosions of backyard marijuana grows,” said Lieutenant Rick Ko of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Ko says the spike in cannabis cultivation is a result of California’s booming medical marijuana trade. Law enforcement authorities say traffickers are hiding behind California’s medical marijuana laws and distributing the drug illegally. Although medical marijuana is prohibited under federal law, 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized use and enforcement of federal law is often limited to the worst offenders. [Really?]

In California, Lt. Ko’s team is attempting to limit the abuse of state and local medical marijuana regulations. “We’re looking for the people that are diverting medical marijuana from legitimate uses to either organized crime or profiteering activities,” Ko said.

“There’s kind of uncontrolled, explosive growth of huge cultivation operations here which are resulting in marijuana being sold in huge amounts being shipped all over the country,” says U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, whose region includes the San Joaquin Valley. Last fall, U.S. Attorneys in California vowed to work with local authorities to crack down on medical marijuana, targeting growers and dispensaries alike. Last year, Wagner prosecuted traffickers who moved more than half a million dollars worth of marijuana from a Fresno farm all the way to Massachusetts.

The federal crackdown on medical marijuana has sparked critics like Ethan Nadelmann, the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization based in New York City that advocates for the decriminalization of drugs. Nadelmann says that the raids on medical marijuana farms and dispensaries are a waste of government resources in a time when, according to recent Gallup polls, fifty percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana.

“When the gangsters are making billions of dollars off of providing a commodity that tens of millions of Americans want, you make it legal and you tax it and control it and regulate it,” Nadelmann said.

There’s more to this interesting story at MSNBC News.

[image: Google images California]

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Author: DavidB

a heathen, but hopefully not an unenlightened one

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