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Why Does the Federal Government Consider Marijuana A Greater Threat Than Crystal Meth?

file photo
file photo
Crest Hill, Illinois – The ongoing saga of the DEA's repeated stakeouts of an indoor garden center raises a question – should law enforcement be making marijuana a priority?

Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and will be in Washington state once regulators craft rules governing its use.

And yet, despite the public's clear direction, the DEA and local law enforcement still approach marijuana as if it is a grave public health and safety threat.

In Illinois, the disconnect has been apparent in the DEA's repeated stakeouts of Midwest Hydroganics. The DEA has followed customers home and compared their electricity bill to neighbors. If it's higher they've gotten search warrants and rooted around in trash looking for "suspicious" plants.

A 39-year-old man was charged with producing cannabis plants, the manufacture or delivery of cannabis and possession of cannabis after he shopped at Midwest Hydroganics in March 2012.

In October 2013, Angela Kirking awoke to find four DEA agents and five Shorewood cops in her home. Police found 9.3 grams and hit Kirking with a handful of misdemeanors. Her attorney is challenging the validity of the search warrant.

The Illinois raids are not isolated incidents. A Kansas family had law enforcement officers storm their home after a visit to a hydroponics store for a school science project. In that case police also rummaged through trash and found tea leaves which they mistook for marijuana.

Such raids are hardly risk free. In 2008, the Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Md. had his home raided by a SWAT team. Officers killed the mayor's two dogs. It all happened because someone mailed a 32-pound package of marijuana to the mayor's home – a package he knew nothing about.

The Cato Institute has been tracking botched paramilitary style raids by police in the United States and has a white paper on the subject at their website. "These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence," wrote policy analyst Radley Balko.

Although 20 states have decided that marijuana is not hard drug and can be legally possessed for medical purposes, the federal government still classifies it as a schedule I narcotic.

Schedule I drugs "are the most dangerous" and have "potentially severe psychological or physical dependence." Some other schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, and Quaaludes.

What are some drugs that, based on federal policy, are less of a priority than marijuana?

Scheudule II drugs include cocaine and methamphetamine. That's right, from the federal government's view Walter White would have been a bigger threat on "Breaking Bad" if he'd been growing a bunch of marijuana plants instead of cooking crystal meth.

Meanwhile, in Illinois a legal business owner is worried he might be driven out of business because the DEA keeps following his customers home.

"Who's the only one who got hurt? Me," the owner of the store told Patch.
Jonas April 10, 2014 at 07:39 AM
But let's all just keep voting for the same two political parties because our t.v. tells us to do so.
Lisa Shipman April 10, 2014 at 08:20 AM
Because they are idiots.
Brandon Lopez April 10, 2014 at 09:22 AM
Propaganda so they can keep the drug war alive. The feds are in the business of controlling our lives and complacent Americans allow them every step of the way. It needs to be decriminalized on a federal level, then allow the states decide if they want to legalize on a state level. Keeping it illegal empowers the black market and Mexican drug cartels to destroy lives. Marijuana has many uses, including medical benefits, beyond recreational use. Let the free market have control and help boost our economy. Don't hurt people and don't take their stuff!
Mary Boulanger April 10, 2014 at 03:04 PM
Why?? tell us oh great one lol we all know why...

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