January 1, 2007

BLUE COAST BUT A PURITAN NATION:

DEA targets larger marijuana providers: The federal agency sees big profits for medical dispensaries as a sign of illegal high-stakes drug dealing. Advocates say the raids are unfair. (Rone Tempest, January 1, 2007, LA Times)

Until federal drug agents arrested him last month, Shon Squier was one of Hayward's most successful and generous young businessmen.

Customers lined up outside his downtown storefront, particularly on Mondays, when he offered free samples to the first 50 visitors. Business was so good that Squier, a former construction worker, was able to donate more than $100,000 to local charities.

But Squier's success as a dynamic medical marijuana entrepreneur was also his downfall. Federal drug agents raided his home and business, arresting Squier and his store manager, freezing bank accounts containing $1.5 million and confiscating several expensive cars, motorcycles and $200,000 in cash. [...]

The federal drug agency, which does not recognize California laws legalizing the sale of marijuana to patients with doctor's prescriptions, contends the amount of money involved proves that the medical marijuana trade is nothing more than high-stakes drug dealing, complete with the same high-rolling lifestyles.

"These people will tell you they are just interested in the terminally ill," said Gordon Taylor, DEA special agent in charge of the California eastern federal district, "but what they are really interested in is lining their pockets with illegal drug money. When you pull the mask off, you see that they are nothing more than common dope dealers."


Posted by Orrin Judd at January 1, 2007 11:34 AM
Comments

"You are not mistaken in believing that drugs are a scourge that is devastating our society. You are not mistaken in believing that drugs are tearing asunder our social fabric, ruining the lives of many young people, and imposing heavy costs on some of the most disadvantaged among us. You are not mistaken in believing that the majority of the public share your concerns. In short, you are not mistaken in the end you seek to achieve.

Your mistake is failing to recognize that the very measures you favor are a major source of the evils you deplore. Of course the problem is demand, but it is not only demand, it is demand that must operate through repressed and illegal channels. Illegality creates obscene profits that finance the murderous tactics of the drug lords; illegality leads to the corruption of law enforcement officials; illegality monopolizes the efforts of honest law forces so that they are starved for resources to fight the simpler crimes of robbery, theft and assault.

Drugs are a tragedy for addicts. But criminalizing their use converts that tragedy into a disaster for society, for users and non-users alike."

--Milton Friedman

Posted by: DOC at January 1, 2007 9:22 PM

It's not a supply/demand problem. It's the good itself that's evil.

Posted by: oj at January 1, 2007 11:55 PM
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