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News (Media Awareness Project) - US CA: Editorial: Nasty Outbursts Do Nothing For Marijuana
Title:US CA: Editorial: Nasty Outbursts Do Nothing For Marijuana
Published On:2011-12-14
Source:Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)
Fetched On:2011-12-15 06:01:06

Rowdy and rude behavior at public meetings to discuss medical
marijuana has become all too routine. Faced with opposing viewpoints,
the Proposition 215 crowd has an ugly habit of responding with boos,
catcalls and nasty interruptions.

Even by those low standards of decorum, though, Tuesday's Shasta
County Board of Supervisors meeting had ugly moments.

The ugliest: James Benno - chief executive officer of Nor-Cal NORML,
the regional chapter of the National Organization for Reform of
Marijuana Laws - fired off a vulgar outburst as the supervisors began
to discuss a proposed ordinance to ban marijuana dispensaries in the
unincorporated county. As Chairman Les Baugh called for a deputy to
restore order, Benno stormed out of the chambers, lobbing an "F bomb"
at the supervisors over his shoulder on the way out.

Nobody's under any obligation to be polite to their local elected
officials. But when political advocates make 15-year-olds with
anger-management problems look well-mannered, their cause is going to
have a problem. Is it any surprise the county is pushing laws to
discourage more of these folks from planting gardens and setting up

In fairness to the medical-marijuana advocates in the audience,
several apologized to the supervisors for behavior they saw as out of

Still, the sheer bile is hard to ignore. And for every genuinely
sympathetic story of a patient with a severe illness who's found
relief in marijuana, there's a grower who seems to think that the
least consideration of his neighbor's rights is an affront to the
Constitution. For every legitimate legal question about the confused
state of California's marijuana laws, there's a Proposition 215
advocate arguing that the federal Controlled Substances Act is
unconstitutional (the Supreme Court says otherwise) or even
unbiblical. ("And God said, Let the earth bring forth ... the herb
yielding seed." No, we don't know when the Book of Genesis became the
law of the land either.)

The county's growing ordinance attempts to strike a balance, allowing
gardens for personal use but not plantations that are effectively
commercial enterprises. Its ban on dispensaries is overkill, but at
least the county has been consistent, not giving collectives rein to
open only to abruptly order them to shut down as Redding has.

But if you can make arguments either way about the precise boundaries
of the local ordinances, too many medical-marijuana proponents take
the tack of irrationality and belligerence. How's that working for
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