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EDITORIAL REEFER MADNESS STATE INACTION ON MEDICAL-POT ABUSES DRAWS IN FEDS.

IT'S not pretty to see federal agents swooping across Los Angeles, raiding medical-marijuana dispensaries.

Legalizing pot's medicinal use was a compassionate decision California voters made 10 years ago, a decision that's never been appreciated in Washington, but one that the feds ought to respect just the same.

And yet it's hard to blame the federal government for cracking down, given how badly the state has failed to regulate the pot clubs.

Medical marijuana was supposed to be for the truly ill -- cancer victims and AIDS patients who could use the drug to relieve pain or restore their appetites. Yet the number of dispensaries has skyrocketed from five in 2005 to 143 by the end of 2006. In North Hollywood alone, there are more pot clinics than Starbucks.

So either there's been an unreported, massive outbreak in terminal illnesses, or a rampant abuse in the distribution of ``medical'' marijuana. Now which one seems more likely?

Any doubt on that score was laid to rest earlier this week, when one pot club distributed fliers at Grant High School in Van Nuys -- not exactly a cancer ward.

This problem is not new. State and local officials have long done nothing to regulate these seedy businesses or rein in the abuses.

And this is not what Californians voted for. Proponents of medical marijuana insisted that Proposition 215 was not, in fact, backdoor legalization.

So now Washington is stepping in where state and local officials have failed, and that's a shame. Whether or not you believe marijuana helps sick people, Californians voted to give very ill people that option, and that ought to be how the law is administered.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 19, 2007
Words:274
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