Medical Marijuana: Follow the Money - Voice of San Diego

Letters UNVEILING THE UNSEEN

Medical Marijuana: Follow the Money

Debate all you want at the local level about the ballot measure that would legalize pot, but federal law will supersede.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves about “medical” marijuana. The stuff sells for about $300 per ounce at the 127 known outlets in San Diego. There are now more of these outlets than pharmacies. That represents a whole lot of sick folks and untold millions in profits for growers and the medical prostitutes willing to “recommend” it for anyone with a hundred bucks and a story about insomnia or anxiety.

So now we have a measure on the November ballot that would allegedly make pot legal for recreational use, and local governments are drooling over potential tax revenue. Oakland, e.g., is considering a commercial pot field regulated by the city. The last time I observed such a frenzy was over the state lottery that was going to finance our schools.

Unfortunately, as U.C.L.A. professor Mark Kleiman pointed out in the July 18 L.A. Times, growing pot for sale is a federal crime and also subject to international treaties on drug trafficking. The feds may wink at “medical” usage, supposedly cultivated in “cooperatives,” but can they ignore pot sold commercially for recreational use? Not likely. Anyone paying taxes on weed they sell admits to committing a federal crime. So any legalization beyond the current mess would seem to require a nationwide solution. There’s so much money in marijuana, however, that someone is likely to find a way.

— BILL BRADSHAW, Mission Beach

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