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 It doesn’t matter whether you think the United States is way overdue to
 legalize the use of marijuana or if the drug is public enemy No.1 these
 days, a stunt this week by local Drug Enforcement Agency officials bodes 
 ill for all citizens.


A top DEA official based in Denver says that local medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal, and his office forced the arrest of one local "provider" that’s taken his views on the matter to the media.

The Denver Post and other media agencies reported that DEA agents raided the home of Highlands Ranch resident Chris Bartkowicz on Friday.  Bartkowicz had been bragging to local reporters that he has a wildly successful crop of marijuana growing in his basement and is making a big profit from it by supplying it to so-called medical marijuana dispensaries.

After the arrest, DEA agent Jeffrey Sweetin told the Post that medical marijuana is illegal in Colorado.  The statement flies in the face of Colorado’s constitutional amendment allowing for it.

Even more egregious is that the Obama administration recently said that the federal government would "look the other way" on this matter in states that have legalized medical marijuana and are finding their way through a process of regulation.

Sweetin’s comments raise serious questions about just who’s in charge of this federal agency, and how inappropriate it is for this agency to usurp state’s rights in contradiction to the will of the president.

The Obama administration needs to immediately step in to the matter and clarify whether Colorado will be able to pursue its constitutional mandate to permit the medical use of marijuana.

As to Sweetin’s remarks about the medicinal properties of marijuana, he’s clearly out of his league as a law enforcer to be taking on the role of a medical research scientist.

All of his comments should be worrisome to state residents, no matter how they feel about the recent medical marijuana controversy.

Of course all of this points to the fact that instead of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into a useless war against marijuana and sending hundreds of billions of consumer dollars into the hands of murderous Mexican drug criminals, Colorado and the rest of the United States could be taxing and regulating a huge industry that will never go away.

And even numbers created by government officials who’ve come down closer to Earth on the matter make it clear that, just like alcohol, prohibition only serves to enrich criminals, while regulation and legalization could be made to serve us all.

Until common sense prevails, however, reasonable federal law and chain of command will have to suffice. 

Pubdate: Sun, 14 Feb 2010
Source: Aurora Sentinel (CO)
Copyright: 2010 Aurora Sentinel