• Perhaps the most effective way to end the violence associated with organized crime South of the Border is to overgrow the cartels. A recent Washington Post article suggests that American homegrown is cutting into the profits of Mexican traffickers.

“Stiff competition from thousands of mom-and-pop marijuana farmers in the United States threatens the bottom line for powerful Mexican drug organizations in a way that decades of arrests and seizures have not.”

The article sites individual state medical marijuana laws and ordinances making pot the lowest law enforcement priority as helping to create a national market that cartels are having trouble competing with – particularly when it comes to quality.

Still, according to the Post, Mexican growers are making adjustments to the new market: “The Mexican traffickers' illegal use of public lands is a response to the dramatic increase in U.S. production.” As is the use of a “cheaper, faster-growing 'commercial grade' of marijuana,” timed to “exploit growing cycles in the United States.” They’ve even thought of THC content – a battle they’re currently losing to U.S. growers roughly 2:1 – “Mexican marijuana seized at the southwest border jumped from 4.8 percent in 2003 to 7.3 percent in 2007.”

The DEA’s chief of operations for Mexico and Central America had this (mellow harshing) factoid to add: “The casual consumer in the U.S. -- the kid or adult that smokes a joint -- will never in their mind associate smoking that joint with the severing of people's heads in Mexico.”

Well, if U.S. pot growers continue to flood the market with a superior product and, in the process, do what the War on Drugs was never able to do – knock cartels out of the marijuana business – perhaps no one will ever associate a joint with a severed head again. Here’s hoping. …washingtonpost.com

• As a state adapts to a new medical marijuana law, growing pains should be anticipated. However, when law enforcement is ignoring the will of the voters, attention must be brought to the situation. Hats off to the Michiganders who gathered in the state’s capitol today to protest what they see as unlawful seizures of marijuana from legally registered medical patients.

“’In more instances than not, we're finding that when police do have an interaction with patients, they tend to overreact,’ said Wayne Koper, 55, of Caro, who attended the rally to support several friends who are medical marijuana users. ‘The law is clear. When patients show their cards to police, it should stop at the door.’" …lansingstatejournal.com


• Thanks to Seth Rogen smoking him up last year, Kevin Smith has rediscovered how much he loves weed. And he’s not too shy about it: “I know you're supposed to tell kids not to do drugs, but, kids, do it! Do weed! Don't do the other stuff, but weed is good.” …sfgate.com

• If you’re a college student and would like to attend next year’s NORML Conference for free, this is essential reading. It does involve starting a NORML chapter, but you should be doing that anyway. …ht.com