Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” — Abraham Lincoln in the Gettysburg Address.
We live in a democracy, one which many people say is the greatest on earth, including myself. In a democracy, the will of the people is paramount, and the majority rules, provided that it does not oppress the minority. But today the minority is oppressing the majority, spearheaded by the federal government.
In the beginning of October, four United States prosecutors announced they would be increasing their “enforcement” of federal law in California. This increased enforcement was outlined as the use of new tactics, which include threatening property owners with civil forfeiture of their properties and any assets derived from them, such as rent payments.
Apparently, there is now an accepted level of collateral damage in the drug war. These property owners are not even those who the federal government has made its enemies. They’re just local businesses operating well within the law’s capacity; they aren’t the ones selling marijuana. Why should the federal government resort to such ends to score a hit on the marijuana industry?
The close loss of Proposition 19 in 2010, which would have legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older, showed just how far support for marijuana legalization has progressed in California. The words spoken on the day of defeat were not sad, but happy, and there was a resolute commitment to do it again in two years when the next round of elections came — in 2012.
It seems that the federal government wants to “take out” some of the funds that will be backing this year’s marijuana legalization initiative, as well as smear the drug’s use in a national forum. These raids that have begun in California are merely a sign that the drug war is reaching its arrest-laden climax; the great push for marijuana legalization is almost over the hill and into the cities.
This isn’t just a one-state issue; there have been more than a dozen raids carried out in Washington state as well. Washington had its own marijuana legalization referendum in 2010, which did not receive enough signatures to get on the ballot. Since then, there has been talk of another 2012 bid. The federal government seems to be concerned about the possibility of the passage of such a referendum.
Colorado has just come under fire as well. All medicinal marijuana dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools have been ordered to shut down. This is the best possible excuse the federal government could have found. Colorado has one of the strictest medicinal marijuana programs in the country. They actually have a licensing committee set up specifically for medicinal marijuana, and the law has a requirement that patients must have a sustained doctor-patient relationship with whichever physician prescribes them marijuana. As of 2010, their larger facilities are not allowed within 1,000 feet of a school.