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September 20, 2006

Prop 215 is nearly 10

I began actively opposing the drug war only in late 1995; in that sense, I was a Johhny-come-lately to the drug policy reform 'movement,' an amalgam of disparate groups which remains as  politically invisible as it was then and yet, in 1996, may have launched the one strategy capable of accomplishing its 'impossible dream' of ending the drug war.

Largely because our nation's drug policy has been so devious, poorly understood, and effectively protected by its federal handlers,  the issue is still in doubt, but it's now clear  the key strategy was Proposition 215, a  'medical marijuana' initiative passed nearly ten years ago in California, the one venue where it could be decisive- for the simple reason that it was the only pot law permissive enough to reveal how many  chronic users there may be.

Although I'd long believed the elephant in the national living room was the sheer size of the illegal pot market that's developed since the Sixties, I knew little of the circumstances responsible for its growth and wasn't at all sure how the phenomenon might be demonstrated; especially with the feds so good at diverting attention from their policy's failures and 'reform' so unaware of their significance. The irony is that although neither side seems yet to have realized what's happening, California's pot users are finally coming out of the closet in numbers that can't be dismissed.

The ultimate irony is that the responsible mechanism seems to have been the 'scrip mills'  that have been providing recommendations to record numbers of applicants throughout the state since 2004. Those now 'legal' buyers are, in turn, fueling demand for the 'dispensaries' and other retail outlets now seeking business licenses in one community after another.

It was the same pressure that has generated an improbable law suit from the state's most conservative counties, while encouraging more liberal areas to finally comply with SB 420. A genie is beginning to emerge from its bottle; however this drama ends, things won't go back to where they were 10 years ago.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at September 20, 2006 07:51 PM