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June 19, 2007

Guerrilla Warfare, Bureaucratic Style

Guerrilla warfare is usually thought of as involving rebel attacks on an established government; in the case of medical marijuana, it's just the opposite. The "law,"otherwise known as California's Proposition 215, has been reviewed twice by the Supreme Court, which, however reluctantly, left it intact. Nevertheless, government forces at all levels, in both their official capacities and through their private professional organizations, have continued to oppose it even as public pressure, in the form of new medical marijuana legislation in New York and Connecticuit, has been increasing.

It began in 1996, before Proposition 215 could go into effect, with Drug Czar McCaffrey's disgraceful December 30 press conference. Although approved by a comfortable majority of California voters,  implementation within the state has been opposed  from the very beginning, and  in nearly every way possible, by the same individuals and organizations that  campaigned unsuccessfully against it.  Federal olpposition has, if  anything, only intensified under McCaffrey's less charismatic successor.

It also hasn't helped that press coverage of medical marijuana news within the state has, with rare exceptions, been myopically local and unimaginative. Whether  a result of editorial policy or because such coverage is routinely assigned to the least experienced reporters is a matter of conjecture, but the fact remains that most of the repetitive news items generated by the latest local ban on "dispensaries," or the "moratoria" enacted by local governments (usually as delaying actions before later enacting a ban) read like they were written by the same person.

A brave exception has been Pat McCartney, former editor of the Auburn Journal turned investigative reporter. Pat's journalistic interest was piqued early by the 1999 arrest and mistreatment of Steve Kubby in his local jail.  Convinced early on that feds and locals had been colluding to frustrate implementation of Proposition 215, McCartney has unearhed compelling evidence to that effect. As a result of trying to interest others in the story, he has been encountering the same denial I've experienced, and for similar reasons: no one with something to lose wants to take on the feds.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 19, 2007 04:07 PM