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Marijuana legalization? A White House rebuttal, finally

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When Attorney General Eric Holder announced last year that US law enforcement officials would neither raid nor prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries or those using them, states got mixed signals. Mr. Holder explained it as a matter of the best use of scarce federal law enforcement resources, which he didn’t want to expend in the now 14 states that have approved some use of medical marijuana.

But “a lot of people believe the administration is somewhat in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana,” says Scott Kirkland, police chief for El Cerrito, in the San Francisco Bay area. In California, the public, city council members, city managers, even police chiefs have “misinterpreted” the administration’s position, says Mr. Kirkland, the spokesman for marijuana issues for the California Police Chiefs Association.

The drug czar couldn’t have been more plain. On medical marijuana, which has strong public backing in opinion polls, the former Seattle police chief said that “science should determine what a medicine is, not popular vote.” As Kerlikowske pointed out, marijuana is harmful – and he has the studies to back it up. Read the footnotes in his speech; they’re sobering, especially No. 8.

(For a previous Monitor editorial on the perils of legalizing pot, click here)

Legalization supporters argue that no one has ever died from an overdose of this “soft” drug. But here’s what “science” has found so far: Smoking marijuana can result in dependence on the drug.

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