Rhode Islanders who couldn’t get themselves too worked up about the murderous savagery Mexicans have been visiting upon each other thousands of miles away, may soon get to see the drug wars play out up close and personal. Writing in the Sunday Providence Journal, “A quiet invasion”, Katie Mulvaney reports that state police and drug enforcement agents seized 143 pounds of cocaine and over $1.2 million in cash following a January raid on a storage facility in North Kingstown. (Three arrests for drug trafficking have resulted so far.) Law enforcement officials suggest that Mexicans are replacing Colombians as the major drug traffickers here in the northeast.
So how is the U. S. Justice Department allocating its valuable time and resources? By making life miserable and impossibly ambiguous for those trying to open medical marijuana dispensaries — as well as the Department of Health employees assisting them — here in Rhode Island. (ProJo 7.7.11) In the latest memo from deputy attorney general James M. Cole,
. . . he expresses concern about “large-scale, privately operated industrial cultivation centers” that have “revenue projections of millions of dollars based on the planned cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants.” He also wrote that those people “who knowingly facilitate” the marijuana industry are in violation of federal law.
Given these two alternatives, I think I’d rather live near the dispensary thank you. Apparently Mr. Cole did not get my memo titled, “The war on drugs is a quantifiable and total failure and we should end drug prohibition now.” In the meantime, President Obama needs to make some hard policy decisions over at Justice. Let’s promote some enlightened thinkers, get rid of the dinosaurs, and set some priorities.
JoAnne Lepannen executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition continues to fight the good fight. Governor Chafee and his legal staff are reviewing this latest memo. (NORML has set up a Facebook page for HR-2306: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011. It’s a start.)