April 16, 2008
Limey Nargelenas, Deputy Director Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police 426 S 5th Street Ste. 200 Springfield, IL 62701
RE: Medical Marijuana in California
Dear Deputy Director Nargelenas:
This letter will be pointed and brief, as a discussion on the pros and cons of medical marijuana is rendered meaningless when the outcomes are viewed. Passed in November of 1996 the ballot initiative has had ample time to demonstrate its value. Frankly, marijuana use by healthy youth and adults is at epidemic levels in California.
Anecdotal observation is that the vast majority of medical marijuana users in California are young and healthy and simply enjoy using marijuana.One of the claims supporting passage of the ballot initiative was that marijuana would be used by cancer and glaucoma patients; by those persons with such horrible medical conditions that nothing but marijuana would give them relief. Experience shows that very few of those participating in medical marijuana fit this seriously, chronically ill category. Frequently officers contact parolees, probationers and gang members in possession of both marijuana and marijuana recommendations.
Even more disturbing are children possessing physician recommendations and routinely using marijuana. Virtually anyone in California can obtain a physician’s recommendation to use marijuana. Unfortunately many of those engaged in marijuana use are unable to achieve educational goals or function in careers. They become chronically unemployed or underemployed and often engage in illicit drug sales or other criminal activity to fund their marijuana use. The effect on children and families has been and continues to be devastating.
I talk with many parents who see their children start the destructive path of drug addiction with the use of marijuana. In fact practically all those I have encountered living in addiction started their addiction with marijuana use. These types of laws are confusing to children and make it harder for them to live free of substance abuse.
California’s medical marijuana ballot initiative called for personal growth and possession of marijuana or the use of a caregiver for that purpose. However, the result has been a large number of marijuana dispensaries opening throughout California. These dispensaries are magnets for crime. Marijuana currently sells for around $5,000 per pound at the retail level. Because it costs very little to produce marijuana this value promotes the involvement of organized criminal enterprises in the production of marijuana to meet the demands in California. We have seen tremendous increases in both outdoor and indoor marijuana grow operations. These grows are rife with danger for individuals, the community and law enforcement.
These large growing operations are being staffed and funded by organized drug cartels. Environmental damage is significant and when grows are discovered we often find the workers were virtually forced into working the grow at peril of their lives and the lives of their families.
Based on the almost 12 years of medical marijuana experience in the state of California it is our observation that it has been destructive to lives and communities. Passage of any form of medical marijuana anywhere in our nation is bad public policy and will cause crime and public safety problems.
A great deal of information has been compiled regarding this issue and can be made available to you via our California Police Chiefs Association Executive Director, Leslie McGill. I wish you success in your efforts to protect and serve the people of your state and in your effort to withstand the corrosive influence of relaxed attitudes toward the use of marijuana and other drugs.
Jerry P. Dyer President
California Police Chiefs Association P.O. Box 255745, Sacramento, California 95865-5745(Office) 916-481-8000 (Fax) 916-481-8008 e-mail HTUlmcgill@californiapolicechiefs.orgUTH web site http://www.californiapolicechiefs.org/
CC: Judy Kreamer