With the economy struggling and cities going bankrupt left and right, you would think that bureaucrats in the state of California would focus on shoring up the spending problems before expending more precious resources toward a crackdown on medical marijuana. But that is not the case. The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries back in July, a decision that won the ire of voters.

This unanimous 14-0 bipartisan agreement that cut off commerce and jobs at a time when they are so desperately needed was so reviled by voters that signatures were quickly collected in enough time to get a repeal measure on the ballot in November. With marijuana being more widespread and popular than ever, it is very possible that these bureaucrats will have their prohibition overturned and the medical marijuana industry will be allowed to grow without senseless laws stifling them.

But according to a Sept. 23 editorial in the Los Angeles Times, the medical marijuana industry cannot be allowed to grow unfettered. The government needs to slow down the process of entrepreneurship, job creation and patients getting their much needed medicine. Of course, they need to be reasonable and rational while exercising their power, but that shouldn’t be a problem since we all know the government has a long history of never going overboard in these types of situations – especially when it comes to drug policy.

The L.A. Times thinks that it is oh so reasonable for any business owner to apply for a permit or a variance before they can start creating jobs for the community. If you don’t qualify for one or don’t have the extra money to pay to get one, so be it. There shouldn’t be any more marijuana shops than an arbitrary number that some bureaucrats determine to be reasonable anyway. Who cares if jobs are destroyed and extremely sick people are deprived of their medicine? We gotta get some laws on the books!

The editorial also gave a lousy, dishonest comparison of medical marijuana dispensaries to liquor stores. They give regulations credit for a supposed crackdown on criminal behavior that went down outside of liquor stores and attempt to use this as a rationale for enacting similar measures to dispensaries. But lets put this dubious claim aside and focus on the irresponsibility of this newspaper comparing booze pushers to medicinal caregivers. Cancer patients don’t use liquor so they can gain the strength to keep down food after chemotherapy. Arthritis sufferers don’t use liquor to alleviate their crippling pain. The writer does all that they can to reinforce government-sponsored ignorance about marijuana’s wondrous abilities to improve the lives of those who are suffering.

The big question underlying this controversy though is: Why is this still an issue? Marijuana is more popular, widespread and mainstream than ever before. The medicinal properties of it are generally accepted amongst the public. In places where medical marijuana has been legalized, there have not been any noticeable spikes in crime and delinquency. Reefer madness has not been unleashed on populations with more access to medical pot. So what gives?

In a time where cities are going belly up all throughout California, Los Angeles might one of the next to go bust. For the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the budget deficit is expected to be $222 million with that figure increasing to $427 million by 2014-2015. To put it mildly, the city’s finances are not in pristine condition. The Mayor even had to declare a fiscal emergency back in June. To get the public’s mind off of this financial calamity, the City Council has gone back to the time-tested boogeyman of drugs. Don’t be worried about the debt, citizen. What you really need to be concerned about is the scourge of medical marijuana, and we’ll be there to pass a law to keep you all safe.

Thankfully, the public isn’t buying it like they used to and the people of Los Angeles will get to decide for themselves whether they want medical marijuana dispensaries in their city this November. Hopefully, the City Council will get rebuked in their lame effort to divert attention from their own ineptitude. After that, people of California can hopefully work to nullify the unconstitutional federal war on drugs once and for all in their state. If that happens, expect another shabby op/ed denigrating freedom in the L.A. Times.

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