Off Baja California two weeks ago, a Coast Guard cutter seized 137 bales of marijuana being dumped by the crew of a speed boat. In San Francisco there are more registered pot clubs than middle schools, police stations, or Taco Bells. In Sacramento, state and federal officials recently announced the eradication of 2.9 million marijuana plants being grown around California, a record haul. Hhow sharply does law enforcement focus on arresting marijuana users? asks the Sacramento Bee. “We don’t,” said Sheriff John McGinness.
For years, personal marijuana use hasn’t been a priority for local law enforcement. Someone caught with a joint may face a penalty equal to a traffic citation. Still, battles over marijuana have never seemed hotter, and proponents of legalizing the plant say they hope the incoming Barack Obama administration will look more kindly on that notion, or at least stop federal raids of medical marijuana providers. “I think we’re entering a new era now, and I think we’re going to see the culture is going to be changing,” said Dale Gieringer, California director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “Since the 1980s there’s been a very retro social climate like the ’50s, but I suspect that things are going to open up. “If people take a good serious look at what the war on pot is costing, they’re going to figure out it’s a losing proposition for the taxpayers.”