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December 28, 2006

Political Issues

Although I'm as busy as ever, an item by Eric Bailey in yesterday's LA Times was too laden with irony to forego a few comments.  It concerns a young gay man from Alabama who was so inspired by the peace of mind pot afforded him that he moved to San Francisco and eventually became a highly efficient distributor of medical marijuana under the rules that were then in effect, only to be undone by his own success.  It seems that the working class neighborhood which had at first welcomed him with open arms, turned against him after his lower prices and better service created parking and image problems. Stated as briefly as possible, NIMBY hypocrisy is as alive and well in the ultra-liberal City of by the Bay as in most other places in America.

There are several additional points to be made; one is that although still focused on chronic pain as the major excuse for pot's medical use, Eric Bailey is better informed about Proposition 215 issues than other mainstream journalists; indeed, only Fred Gardner's coverage in Counterpunch is more incisive. In particular, the fact that Bailey's story appeared on the front page of the LA Times really underscores the slapdash nature of the San Francisco Chronicle's coverage of an issue in its own backyard.

 Another point to be made is that neither those opposed to pot nor those claiming to favor its medical use seem to realize the significance of the enormous appeal pot dispensaries have exhibited in terms of the futility of current policy, nor the fact that there seem to be many more chronic users than had been anticipated in 1996.  Along with recent confirmation that cannabis is America's biggest cash crop, the popular demand for more retail outlets in California really invites comparison with the number that exist for its two legal competitors: alcohol and tobacco.

One would also have thought such considerations would have invited a more realistic assessment from a policy wonk like Professor Kleiman. Instead, he reveals that he was as clueless as everyone else in 1996 and hasn't learned very much in the past ten years.

As for Kevin Reed's plans to run a delivery service; it's not too early to predict that the DEA will wait for it to become successful before stepping in to bust him on federal charges. Local pot supporters can then either pretend not to notice or blame him for being too 'greedy.'

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at December 28, 2006 06:37 PM