His marijuana dispensary was raided in 2007. It
was one of several targeted by the Drug Enforcement
Administration before the Obama administration
decided to stop the raids in states that allow
That news comes two years too late for Mr. Lynch,
whose sentencing is set for March 23. "It just seems
so unfair what they've done to me," Mr. Lynch said
to ABC News.
Unfair and hypocritical.
According to an article for The Bulletin for
Cannabis Reform, local and federal governments
spend an estimated $10.7 billion arresting,
prosecuting and punishing marijuana offenders, and
lose $31.1 billion a year in lost tax revenues by
keeping the $113 billion-a-year marijuana industry
Yet the federal government promotes "pot in a
Here's the endorsement from the DEA: "Medical
marijuana already exists. It's called Marinol. The
active ingredient of Marinol is synthetic THC, which
has been found to relieve the nausea and vomiting
associated with chemotherapy for cancer patients and
to assist with loss of appetite with AIDS patients."
THC is the "active" ingredient in marijuana.
Leave it to Uncle Sam to advocate fake dope.
I learned about Marinol during my mother's recent
hospitalization. She hasn't had an appetite in weeks,
so the doctor prescribed the drug, anticipating that
she'd get the munchies. When it didn't work, he
doubled her dose. It's since been doubled again, and
she's still not eating.
When I asked why they didn't just let her smoke a
joint, I got laughter. But, seriously, why go to the
trouble and expense - Marinol costs between $200 and
$800 a month, depending on the dose - of making fake
pot to do the job of the real thing?
That wouldn't be necessary if we just
decriminalized marijuana use. Already, 13 states
allow marijuana use for medical purposes, and others
- Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire - are considering
bills to do so. Last year, Massachusetts voters
decriminalized possession of small amounts of
marijuana. Getting caught with less than an ounce of
pot is punishable by a civil fine of $100. No
And in California, where desperate times call for
reasonable measures, San Francisco Assemblyman Tom
Ammiano has introduced a bill to tax and regulate
marijuana like alcohol, saying that it would bring
about $1 billion to state coffers. The legislation
would allow access only to people over 21.
As for the arguments against decriminalizing
marijuana, most have been debunked. More people
smoke pot in the U.S. than in the Netherlands, where
it's been decriminalized - you can buy and smoke
weed at coffee shops - for more than 30 years.
Decriminalizing it in the U.S. isn't likely to
entice hordes of new smokers.
There's no convincing scientific evidence that
the drug causes psychological damage, and fewer than
1 percent of smokers get hooked. Marijuana poses
minimal damage to the lungs - a lot less than legal
tobacco - and there's no proof that it's a gateway
drug to crack or heroin.
What has been proven, the Drug Policy Alliance
Network argues, is that marijuana does for sick
people exactly what the government claims pot in a
pill does - but better. And the war on drugs has
done nothing to keep people from getting high.
"Use and perception of the drug are little
different now than they were 30 years ago," said
Taxpayers for Common Sense senior analyst Erich
Zimmermann. "Rather than continue to spend billions
of dollars on the problem, it would be better for
the U.S. government to get out of the marijuana
Charlie Lynch would agree.
Rhonda Swan is an editorial writer for The
Palm Beach Post. Her e-mail address is