in case you missed it | The DEA is high on crack



The DEA is high on crack

Last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) disappointed medical marijuana researchers and patients when it rejected a petition to reclassify marijuana, declaring that the drug has no medical uses.

The petition requested that the federal government reclassify marijuana from a schedule I controlled substance to a schedule III, IV or V substance in acknowledgment of its proven medical benefits. Sound scientific research has shown that marijuana helps to alleviate chronic pain, neuropathy (nerve pain, which is very hard to treat), and chemo-induced nausea better than other available pharmaceutical methods. But the DEA refused, insisting that ganja is dangerously addictive and has no medical benefits.

Those boys in Washington must be smoking crack. Not only is the DEA’s assertion false, but it’s also based on transparent self-interest. As support for medical marijuana grows and the industry becomes more entrenched in the states like Colorado where it is legal, federal law enforcement is doing all it can to protect its war chest — the millions in taxpayer dollars used to hunt and bring down people who use marijuana. It’s also protecting the interests of Big Pharma, which doesn’t want to see a plant anyone can grow become an alternative to the host of expensive, chemical products they’re paying our doctors to prescribe.

Together with a recent federal memo, which declares everyone associated with the medical marijuana industry to be in violation of federal law, the DEA decision has left local policymakers feeling jumpy. It’s already hard enough for medical marijuana dispensaries to find business partners—bankers, landlords, security workers. Now it could become even more difficult. Fear of federal prosecution has prompted KC Becker, a Boulder City Councilwoman, to ask for clarification from city attorneys about any possible risk to city staff who deal with licensing local dispensaries.

But marijuana researchers and patient advocates aren’t going to accept the DEA’s decision and plan to sue the feds. Good for them. Too many people have suffered from marijuana prohibition to allow it to continue.

Sue the feds. Then, in 2012, let’s legalize the stuff.

Mom faces jail time for veggies

City bureaucrats in Oak Park, Mich., are apparently suffering from cranio-rectal inversion, a common affliction among elected officials. They are choosing to prosecute a mother of six for growing vegetables in her front yard. No, not marijuana. Vegetables. You may have heard of them: tomatoes, peas, carrots, squash, green beans.

Julie Bass has already been ticketed for her front-yard garden, which consists of five well-maintained raised beds.

She refused to destroy the beds. Faced with Bass’s unrepentant veggie growing, Oak Park authorities decided to charge her with a misdemeanor.

If convicted, Bass could face 93 days in jail.

City authorities believe they’re doing the right thing and lamely quote a city ordinance stating that front yards are supposed to consist of “suitable” live plant material. Though this vague ordinance certainly doesn’t prohibit vegetable gardens per se, city officials say the veggies aren’t what people want to see.

Someone get on the phone and tell Michelle Obama about this. After all, she planted veggies in the lawn at the White House, which is slightly more upscale than any home in Oak Park.

Sadly, Bass isn’t the first person to face harassment over front-yard veggies, but cases in other towns were eventually resolved after public outcry forced officials to rewrite city code specifically to permit front-yard gardens. But, although there’s been plenty of outcry — a Facebook page set up to support Bass, titled Oak Park Hates Veggies, has more than 23,000 “likes” — Oak Park city brass haven’t seem to have gotten the message, possibly because of the aforementioned cranio-rectal inversion. So we need to shout louder.

Boulder Weekly called Oak Park, but the person who took the call, Diane Lemanski, assistant to the city manager, said she couldn’t comment and couldn’t take our comment. Emails to her boss, City Manager Rick Fox, are bouncing.

Head-up-the-ass bureaucrats who are also cowards. How very special.

Urban gardens are patriotic. They also happen to be the future of food. Oak Park needs to update its city code to support this healthy choice, rather than threatening a mother with jail time for trying to feed her kids nutritious, affordable meals.