Restrictions won’t do

It’s no wonder local medical cannabis advocates are filing a lawsuit against Butte County to overturn Measure A. Back when county officials first started hammering out an ordinance to regulate growing, the effort involved parties from both sides of the issue. But the supes interfered and put further restrictions on what we viewed as a solid compromise—one this paper advocated for during the midterm elections.

The outcome of the election made it very clear that the citizens of Butte County want restrictions, but what the voters aren’t “getting” is that people—whether pot profiteers, including the cartel growers, or those who truly use the herb medicinally—aren’t going to stop growing cannabis. Marijuana prohibition is and always will be a losing battle. People have always found a way to either grow or buy pot, and they always will. Restrictions won’t do much good, either. That’s in large part because local governments do not have the funding to enforce them. And to us, the large amount of cash currently allocated to that effort—nearly $450,000 at the county level—seems like a huge waste of resources.

Californians must find the will to eliminate the profit motive that currently enriches criminals; forces growers to seek cover in the sensitive foothill regions, endangering watersheds and wildlife; and contributes to the exploitation of Mexican nationals who are forced to tend to illegal grows on public lands.

Other states are ahead of California when it comes to legalizing the recreational use of cannabis, and they are implementing their laws with great success. When 2016 rolls around and voters are contemplating a ballot initiative to do the same here, the only sensible thing is to once and for all bring marijuana sales into the daylight, making it a safe enterprise—not to mention a lucrative one for government coffers. Legalize it.