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If California legalizes marijuana, not clear what Obama administration would do

Rating:
4/5,
  1. Balzafire
    FRESNO, Calif. — Proposition 19, a November ballot initiative, would legalize recreational marijuana use for California residents over 21 and allow small residential cultivation — but also would put the state in conflict with federal law that says the drug is illegal.

    "The (Obama) administration opposes legalization of any drugs, including marijuana," Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in an interview Thursday.

    Kerlikowske was in Fresno, Calif., to announce the results of an ongoing crackdown on marijuana-growing operations known as Operation Trident. It is focused on pot farms on public lands in the foothills and mountain areas of Tulare, Fresno and Madera counties in California.

    What is unclear is what the administration would do if California voters approve the initiative.

    Kerlikowske, however, pointed to how state and local jurisdictions have dealt with the state’s legalization of medical marijuana, saying they are "doing a really good job of licensing, land use, those kind of regulations."

    But in announcing the marijuana-growing crackdown and in comments by Benjamin Wagner, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, it is clear where the federal government’s priorities are — squarely on large-scale marijuana operations.

    On Thursday, authorities said the crackdown on marijuana-growing operations in the central San Joaquin Valley has resulted in nearly 100 arrests and the seizure of more than 430,000 pot plants.

    Authorities estimated the confiscated marijuana plants had an estimated street value of more than $1.7 billion, though such valuation is debated. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims put the value at $4,000 per plant.

    Operation Trident combined close to two dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the sheriff’s departments of Fresno, Madera and Tulare counties.

    In addition to the arrests — most involved Mexican nationals — authorities also said they found close to three dozen weapons, as well as cocaine and methamphetamine.

    Most of the efforts have been concentrated in the foothills and mountains of the Sierra Nevada. The marijuana farms, authorities said, are run by Mexico-based drug cartels and are watched by armed individuals who destroy the environment to set up the grow sites.

    Kerlikowske said he was hopeful that as Operation Trident continues and as California voters learn more about Proposition 19, "they won’t vote for it."


    By John Ellis / The Fresno Bee
    Friday, July 30, 2010
    Link

Comments

  1. godztear
    I don't see why Operation Trident would persuade people not to vote for Proposition 19. If anything legalizing marijuana would allow people to option out of purchasing weed from Mexican drug rings. The government can still raid those huge establishments that are running outside of the law. Proposition 19 takes the common folk out of the illicit sales culture.
  2. Master_Khan
    Gil Kerlikowski was billed as a 'progressive' choice for Drug Czar, yet more and more he sounds like a feeble friend of Nancy Reagan.
  3. Balzafire
    My cousin-in-law (The one who tucks the legs of his skin-tight Levi's into his pink cowboy boots) thinks the Obama administration is for legalization, but is merely pandering to the conservatives in their statements to play it politically safe.
    Operation Trident, he muses in his deep, yet lilting voice, is simply addressing the problem of violent Mexican Nationals using federal lands to grow, then sending all the governments favorite green stuff back over the border.
  4. platitude
    Is it really so hard to understand that allowing people to grow their own pot is the best way of fighting drug cartels?
    I'm getting a little bit tired of those dinosaurs...
  5. Wanderer
    SWIM is all for eradication of illegal farms on public land which destroy the natural habitat. SWIM thinks this is more about getting the "illegal" grow operations off of public land and out of the public parks.

    Legal farms and personal growing in gardens however, is a different story. SWIM is all for these. Is the growing is legalized, there would be no need for these clandestine grow operations, some of which harm the environment.
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