The War on Drugs Affects Legal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in California

A group of high-profile war leaders recently joined together to urge the Obama administration to end the war on drugs. The group calls it a costly drug failure as the battle only focuses on “the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but do no harm to others,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

This focus on harmless medical use negatively affects medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California as they’ve fallen victim to raids, shut downs, and endless fines.

New recommendations from the Global Commission on Drug Policy urge governments to try new ways of legalizing and regulating drugs, especially marijuana, as a way to deny profits to drug cartels. This Global Commission on Drug Policy includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.

Our Orange County medical marijuana lawyers are not surprised that this recommendation was quickly dismissed by the Obama administration and Mexico’s government. These governments are allied in a violent four-year crackdown on drug cartels. This crackdown has left more than 38,000 people dead in Mexico.

“The U.S. needs to open a debate,” former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria, a member of the panel, said by telephone from New York, where the report is scheduled to be released Thursday. “When you have 40 years of a policy that is not bringing results, you have to ask if it’s time to change it.”

On the commission’s website, resident can access a copy of the full report and the new recommendations in either English or Spanish.

“We can no longer ignore the extent to which drug-related violence, crime and corruption in Latin America are the results of failed drug war policies,” Gaviria said in a prepared statement. “Now is the time to break the taboo on discussion of all drug policy options, including alternatives to drug prohibition.”

Last week, the new drug-policy report was released in New York, and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy issued a statement arguing against its recommendations.

“The Obama administration’s efforts to reduce drug use are not born out of a culture war or drug war mentality, but out of the recognition that drug use strains our economy, health, and public safety,” the statement read.

The president of Mexico, Felipe Calderon, continues to state that he does not support the legalization of drugs. He does say that he remains open to debate the topic. This position was reiterated early this week by the president’s top national-security spokesman, Alejandro Piore.

Piore stated that the Mexican government “categorically rejects the impression that in Mexico, by definition, a stronger application of the law on the part of the authorities shall result in an increase in violence on the part of the narco-traffickers.”

The 2012 budget has requested $1.7 billion for drug prevention programs. This request is nearly 8 percent more than the previous year.

“Making drugs more available — as this report suggests — will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe,” said Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

It is not until effective reform is set forth and enforced that we will be able to begin to solve the problems and confusion surrounding medical marijuana is our area.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California, including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 949-375-4734 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

Senate to Vote on Medical Marijuana Employment Discrimination Law, California Marijuana Blog, May 31, 2011

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Newport Beach Fall Victim to “Nuisance Abatement”
, California Marijuana Blog, May 28, 2011

Medical Marijuana in California Struck By Yet Another Villain
, California Marijuana Blog, May 24, 2011

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