Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reefer Madness: Medical Marijuana Edition

You may remember my post back in January on Big Pharma's resistance to studying the effects of medical marijuana. Looks like law enforcement is also giving the cold shoulder to the legal pot growers in states where medical mary jane is legal. How?

By Ignoring Criminal Assaults Against Growers:

SEATTLE — A shooting and a beating death linked to medical marijuana have prompted new calls by law enforcement officials and marijuana advocates for Washington State to change how it regulates the drug and protects those who grow and use it.

In the past week, a man in Orting, Wash., near Tacoma, died after he reportedly was beaten while confronting people trying to steal marijuana plants from his property. On Monday, a prominent medical-marijuana activist shot an armed man who is accused of breaking into his home in a suburban area near Seattle where he grows and distributes marijuana plants.
Apparently, the states that allow growers to harvest marijuana plants for medical use aren't doing anything to protect them from drug dealers and other thugs who want to steal, mug or maim their way into the stash. And law enforcement, while making some arrests, seems indifferent to the growers plight.

Even before he was robbed on Monday, Mr. Sarich had complained that the police were not doing enough to protect him, including after what he said was a robbery attempt in January. He told The Seattle Times on Monday that he and his girlfriend were authorized to have up to 50 plants each and had less than 100 plants in the house they shared.

“Any person making medical marijuana is going to be a target because they have a valuable commodity,” Sgt. John Urquhart of the King County Sheriff’s Department said in an interview Tuesday. Sergeant Urquhart said that there was “nothing to investigate” in January because Mr. Sarich had provided little information. Mr. Urquhart also said investigators had found 385 plants in Mr. Sarich’s house after the shooting on Monday.

“He had baked goods with marijuana in them, frozen goods with marijuana in them, chocolate goods with marijuana in them,” Mr. Urquhart said. “He had green butter, which we believe is laced with marijuana. As we interpret state law, he was not in compliance.”

So? Does that mean a law enforcement officer can just ignore the crime perpetrated because he doesn't think the victim was "in compliance" with state regulations and thus, had it coming? And is that really a law enforcement, as opposed to prosecutorial, decision to make?

The cavalier attitude expressed by state and law enforcement authorities in the article is disappointing. There is an almost blame-the-victim mentality: if you don't want to be shot or mugged or burglarized, stop growing state-sanctioned spliff.

More Reefer Madness (green butter...can you imagine? "Dude, that bagel this morning was awesome!").

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