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North Coast | Drug War | Government & Elections | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons

Mendocino and the Marijuana Wars
by Christina Aanestad
Friday May 30th, 2008 7:39 PM
Medical marijuana is as much about politics and economics as it is about health.
KZYX&Z takes a look at medical marijuana, the drug war and asset forfeiture in Mendocino County.
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Medical marijuana is as much about politics and economics as it is about health.
1996 California voters legalized medical marijuana when they passed proposition 215. In 2000 Mendocino County took the issue further when voters passed Measure G a local initittive aimed at de-criminalizing personal marijuana use by forbidding prosecution of people with 25 or less marijauana plants.

The measure also directed authorities to continue "enforcement of marijuana laws against those who cultivate, transport and possess marijuana for sale.” But since that time, some residents say Measure G has created an anything goes atmoshpereh with marijuana-and large scale growers are flocking to mendocno county to grow dope and get rich.


Local residents and law enforcement are supporting a local initiative known as Measure B on the June 3rd ballot. it would overturn measure G and introduce state minimums of medical marijuana. The state limits are 6 plants per patient and 8 ounces of dried marijuana or more if prescribed by a doctor. In Mendocino county, under Measure G people can have up to 25 plants for personal use.

Local marijuana advocates say the new measure will only create a new criminal class, by lowering the legal threshold from 25 to 6 marijuana plants. And that will rake in more money for law enforcement under asset forfeiture. Over the past decade asset forfeiture funding has increased from $89,000 in 1997 to 1.7 million dollars in 2007. Law enforcement says crimes have increased. Marijuana rights advocates say law enforcement is unjustly targeting small marijuana growers and forfeiting their money.

§Update
by Christina Aanestad Friday May 30th, 2008 8:14 PM
Update:
Law enforcement states it is unlikely that funding from asset forfeiture will go to fund the new county jail. According to documents obtained from KZYX&Z $72,500 is budgeted from asset forfeiture funding to the Mendocino County jail.