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The Madera Tribune

Pondering legalization of marijuana

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webmaster | 06/15/12

It’s interesting that Mexican President Felipe Calderon and leaders of other drug-producing nations are calling on the United States to legalize marijuana. These heads of state, who deal daily with the brunt of the crime waves that drug trafficking has wreaked on their peoples are well aware that demand for marijuana and other drugs in America is the drug monster’s main source of nourishment.

Their call is nothing new. They’ve been telling us for a long time that Yankee money is what makes drug crime grow abroad as well as at home.

It is true that the war on drugs in the U.S. has done little to stem the flow of marijuana — that which comes from abroad and that which is produced domestically. The feds estimate that illicit domestic production of marijuana continues to increase. Eradication efforts get rid of some of it, but the demand in many states, including California, makes the risks of growing justifiable considering the profits to be made.

Some claim that marijuana is the largest cash crop in California, which is astounding when you figure the multibillion-dollar values of milk and wine grapes. Is it the largest cash crop in Madera County? Who knows? You won’t find it in the annual agricultural report. We do know, however, that a lot of money changes hands untaxed in the underground marijuana economy.

California voters twice have approved the sale of so-called medicinal marijuana, which would seem to show that a majority of voters don’t support the complete ban on marijuana that federal law imposes.

One of the problems we have with marijuana is that we really have no hard facts about it. Most of the information — such as the size of the crop and its value — is apocryphal.

But we do know that present laws aren’t working, either for Americans or for our neighbors to the south.


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