Pot shots

Prescription for disaster: Perhaps because it’s easy pickens, perhaps because they are sore losers, perhaps because they want to inflate their “War on Drugs” stats for future political power grabs, the law and order industrial complex—cops, DA’s, judges, probation officers, lobbyists and the best politicians your tax money can buy—thwarts the will and best interests of the California people every day.

What do you do? Sit back and let it happen.

Many who take oaths to obey and enforce our laws ignore—hell, upend—statutes that threaten the status quo. Golden State voters in 1996 overwhelmingly approved Proposition 215, the initiative to allow the terminally ill and pained to relieve their suffering. But in the ensuing years, the feds—backed by the intel-gathering, logistical support and behind-the-scenes hoorahs of your local men and women in blue—consistently have dismantled any attempts to get pot to those who need it most.

Cannabis providers have been hauled off to court and when these poor souls have tried to defend themselves, judges have forbid the words “Prop. 215” and “medical marijuana” to enter their chambers, leading to easy convictions, more non-violent offenders behind bars, more notches on the War on Drugs belt … and more terminally ill people spending their last days on Earth in unnecessary pain.

What’s a watch commander to do? Cities and counties are making noises about being unable to regulate an “explosion” of medical-marijuana dispensaries and patients. While some towns have their shit together enough to allow deliveries of their goods to sick people, cops in less pot-friendly confines tell of cannabis co-ops opening next schools and parks with no way for authorities to police them.

Yes, boys and girls, they’ve gone back to the fear well (think the red commie menace, post-9/11 civil-rights losses, Fox News headlines). Another option is doing nothing: 478 California cities and 58 counties have ignored the issue of medical-marijuana distribution within their jurisdictions. Guess that’s better than others that have outright banned dispensaries.

Kiss Proposition 215 goodbye. A huge population of senior citizen baby boomers denied basic health care, government medical assistance and access to low-cost clinics will have to go to their friendly corner pot dealer to hook them up with affordable meds. It’s a beautiful future the cop lobby is providing for us. God bless America.

Hemp me with your rhythm stick: Industrial hemp—which can be used for everything from food to paper to clothing to fuel to biodegradable plastics—has less than 1 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, meaning it won’t fuck you up should you ingest it.

Yet because the hemp plant looks just like a marijuana plant, cultivation remains illegal in the U.S. (see today’s Upfront section for Yolo County’s fruitless attempt to greenlight hemp farming).

You’d have to be an idiot (or mindless voter) to believe the forces that brought this great state Three Strikes and guilt by gang association and powerful correctional-officers unions and overpopulated prisons and a massive prison-building lobby and slashed rehabilitation programs and overtures toward total prison privatization can’t figure out a way to distinguish a hemp farm from a marijuana farm. Yet that’s their story, they’re sticking to it and now you’re stuck with it, too.

Growth industry: The fact of the matter is the cops know where illegal marijuana grows. They bust up farming operations in the hills that ring us every day.

Just August 13, Yosemite National Park Rangers found 7,428 mature marijuana plants valued at $22 million. The cultivation sites reportedly bore the characteristics of the same Mexican drug trafficking enterprise.

The latest trend familiar to viewers of Showtime’s high-concept comedy Weeds are massive indoor growing operations in identical-looking suburban neighborhoods. Cops will tell you this is hot-hot-hot right now in Sacramento, where the DEA recently shut down 50 in-home pot nurseries in the Central Valley they tied to an Asian gang out of San Francisco spreading its operation to the capital city. Lucky us.

The operation would have netted 12 tons of marijuana and nearly $100 million in profits a year. You can’t blame a guy for trying: the initial pot-nursery investment, not including the real estate, will only set you back $75,000. And this is a down real estate market.

Fer chrissakes, just legalize it already.