California Medical Marijuana Is a Public Danger


The federal government has an obligation to enforce the law. But it is more than a duty; public safety and health are at stake. The state of California has made the serious mistake of letting legislators decide what is medicine. Smoked marijuana is not safe or effective medicine--not according to the FDA, the World Health Organization, or the American Cancer Society. California allows dispensaries to sell marijuana to card holders. The law and process are both a farce and a danger. They are a farce because the people getting marijuana are not seriously ill cancer, AIDS, or multiple sclerosis patients. Ninety percent of California medical marijuana card holders do not have cancer, AIDS, or MS. The dispensaries are not pharmacies with trained professionals dispensing medicine approved by the Food and Drug Administration with identified dosage, specific ingredients, potency, place of manufacture, and predictable side effects.

United States Attorney for Southern California Laura Duffy accurately stated:

The California marijuana industry is not about providing medicine to the sick. It's a pervasive for-profit industry that violates federal law. In addition to damaging our environment, this industry is creating significant negative consequences, in California and throughout the nation. As the number one producing state, California is exporting not just marijuana, but the serious repercussions that come with it, including significant public safety issues and perhaps irreparable harm to our youth.

Criminal cases across the state reveal marijuana operations that produce huge profits, sending money and illegal narcotics to other states and marketing marijuana to the young. One case involving a dispensary in the San Fernando Valley had marijuana sales to buyers in New York projecting a monthly profit of $194,000. A San Diego dispensary was charged with 77 counts involving six defendants with wide-ranging violations including multiple sales to minors.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

Marijuana, with 468 different chemicals and more cancer-causing agents and tar than tobacco cigarettes, is also a dangerous highway and workplace hazard. The use of marijuana significantly increases the risk of motor vehicle crashes.

Dispensaries in California that provide marijuana are in violation of federal law, and they are also in violation of public trust. The science on the health and safety hazards of marijuana is irrefutable. The dangerous operations of California dispensaries have been identified by all four California U.S. attorneys and the California Association of Chiefs of Police.

California's and our country's children, families, workplaces, and highways deserve to be protected by enforcement of federal law.

Peter Bensinger

About Peter Bensinger Former Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration


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