Marijuana Bust in California Brings Questions

9 tons of marijuana was seized at a check point in San Clemente, California. Is all the criminal activity associated with marijuana overshadowing medical benefits of marijuana?

9 ton of marijuana was seized at a border patrol checkpoint in San Clemente

This weekend 9 ton of marijuana was seized at a border patrol checkpoint in San Clemente, California this weekend. Stopped north of San Diego, the street value of a shipment of that size equals out to about $15 million. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues the investigation taking the suspect, truck, and shipment into their custody. With a marijuana bust this large questions on weather cannabis should be legal or not arise.

The Border Patrol recovered 218 large cardboard boxes packed with bags of marijuana from a semi cargo trailer. The suspect was stopped at the checkpoint after drug-sniffing dogs sensed the plant calling for a secondary physical inspection. No other details were released other than the suspect was 43 years old, and his nationality was concealed.

By stopping and seizing the marijuana shipment, the Border Patrol is able to strengthen their fight against illegal organizations transporting drugs on our public roads. Currently California has decriminalized small possession of marijuana. A possession charge of one ounce or less is classified as an infraction. It doesn’t show up as a criminal charge on your record and is punishable with a $100 fee, maximum. Of course not much of that pertains to 9 ton, 18,000 lbs., of marijuana being transported across borders. Transportation is classified as a felony, as well as the sale and distribution of any amount of marijuana over one ounce.

It looks like this poor lad is up against a range of charge possibilities without the definite felony of possession with intent to sell.  As a unified nation, its hard to see marijuana as such a medical miracle when criminal activity related with cannabis is so high. California currently permits medical marijuana and allows medical patients to access the medicine through caregivers and personal cultivation (up to 6 mature plants.) They are obviously not allowed to sell the marijuana to their friends on the side, as distribution is still illegal no matter if you have or ever had a doctor’s note.

Californian law makes the plant seem harmless in small amounts with the little consequences for possession under an ounce for people lacking a medical license. Nonetheless, the federal law marijuana is classified illegal. Instead of a possession charge, an ounce or less, being a criminal is it a civil crime. Now, I’m landlocked in Nebraska, but they make it seem like California is pretty accepting of marijuana. The federal law has also recently stated they will not press federal laws onto states where they have declared marijuana legal. As long as distribution and sale of the drug was strictly monitored.

Even in Colorado and Washington, possession of more than an ounce of marijuana is illegal. The big question I have about marijuana legalization is: Why? If it is legal and everyone is entitled to toke one up, is it that big of victory for stoners if they are unable access it? Of course you can personally cultivate and possess the plant in any form, but how do you get it? Obama admits the legalization of recreational marijuana in those states was not a matter of huge concern. Well of course, because in order for an average Joe without a personal garden or med card to obtain marijuana, it is an illegal transaction.

I’m sure all marijuana enthusiasts, medical patients and otherwise, are questioning if pot will ever be fully legal for them to enjoy or utilize for health benefits.  I too patiently wait to witness the next step in marijuana’s journey in America. Maybe if everyone sat down in a big circle and passed a fatty, the outlook of the adverse effects of marijuana would change. 

By: Jodi Phillips

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