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May 31, 2008 4:21 pm

Marijuana and Tolerance

No less than four out of eleven news stories in the latest edition of The Drug War Chronicle demonstrate significant progress in reforming marijuana laws. First, the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles made a ruling that the state legislature there acted unconstitutionally when it passed a law limiting the amount of marijuana any one patient could have. This finding is particularly good because the law allowing cannabis for medical purposes came about through the initiative process and the lawmakers were trying to overrule the people.

Also in California, the state assembly acted tolerantly when it passed a medical marijuana employment rights bill. The law came in response to a decision by the State Supreme Court that employers could fire an employee for failing a drug test even though he or she legally possessed marijuana and used it for health reasons. To assume that someone who uses marijuana will be a poor worker and cause problems at the job site is both unjust and unfounded.

Next, in Hawaii the Aloha State's Big Island Hawaii County Council did its constituents a huge favor by rejecting $441,000 in state and federal funds to continue “Green Harvest” a marijuana eradication program. Not only did their own budget increase by $53,000 but they ended a widely despised program which drew numerous complaints from it inception. The Drug War Chronicle citing critics points out that, “low-flying helicopters searching for pot fields disrupted rural life and invaded their privacy. Others argued that the program has done little to eradicate marijuana and even promoted the use of other, more dangerous drugs.”

Lastly, in the Sun Valley town of Hailey, Idaho the population passed initiatives legalizing medical marijuana, legalizing industrial hemp and requiring city law enforcement to make marijuana arrests the department's lowest priority. These measures had passed in November but town officials would not enforce them. The Idaho Liberty Lobby organized the campaign on the theory that it would be harder for the politicians to ignore the will of the people when expressed twice.

The Drug War Chronicle is an essential publication for understanding the war on people who us certain kinds of drugs. You can subscribe to the e-mail edition here and you can support the work of the vital organization, DRCNet, behind it here.

Cross posted at The Trebach Report

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Jonathan Dresner - 6/3/2008

The Hawaii County Council also failed to pass their own proposal for a bond issue to pay for a hundred million dollars in projects. Not a model of fiscal intelligence.

And the DEA has already said that it's going to take the "Green Harvest" money and use it independently of local law enforcement, so there's little net effect in terms of marijuana producers.

I don't know that there's really anything new about tolerance of marijuana on this island: I think most people object more to the helicopters than the law enforcement.

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