Rowdy West Coast Raid; and Poll Indicates Populace is Mellowing About Pot
Nonetheless, 11 states (including California, where voters passed a "compassionate use" law in 1996) have passed laws allowing registered patients to grow, possess, and use marijuana for medicinal purposes. And Silva said that his operation was conducted within the boundaries of state law. "I grew for myself and a few other patients, and donated the excess to a nearby dispensing collective," he said. "There was no need for our California sheriffs to call in federal agents to injure me and harass my family."
The Silva raid sparked a new round of protests outside federal buildings across the country by medi-pot advocates including a downtown Austin protest organized by Texans for Medical Marijuana, and one in Oakland where medi-pot patient and activist Angel Raich was arrested, reportedly for talking back to a security guard who told her she was using a megaphone too close to the building.
In other pot news, NORML reports that a new poll conducted by Zogby International reveals that nearly 50% of likely voters support amending federal law to allow states to "legally regulate and tax marijuana" in the same way that liquor and gambling are regulated. The measure polled favorably among young voters nearly 66% of voters 18-29 and middle-aged voters 50% of those ages 50-64. Interestingly, 58% of 30- to 49-year-olds and 52% of seniors said they'd oppose the change. "Public support for replacing the illicit marijuana market with a legally regulated, controlled market continues to grow," said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre in a press release. "NORML's challenge is to convert this growing public support into a tangible public policy that no longer criminalizes those adults who use marijuana responsibly."
Of course, if federal drug czar John Walters has his prohibition-loving way, no drugs aside from tobacco, alcohol, and the cornucopia of pharmaceuticals, of course would be decriminalized, let alone legalized. Indeed, responding to an editorial critical of the ongoing drug war that appeared on the notoriously conservative editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal last month, Walters penned an op/ed piece for the March 16 WSJ, insisting that there is "no realistic alternative to the fight" against drugs. Illegal drugs are "inherently dangerous," he wrote, and thinking there would be some way to regulate drug use is nothing but a "cruel delusion." There's nothing new in Walters' thinking so it's no surprise that the czar skates around the irony of his position by trying to argue a negative specifically, that the war on drugs has "staved off a worse circumstance, with many more drug users, and more damage to the social fabric." (To read Walter's latest missive, check out the archives of the Media Awareness Project at www.mapinc.org.)