It looks like the citizens of Mendocino County, CA are headed towards repealing an earlier law legalizing marijuana agriculture. Often, drug advocates try to portray anti-drug laws as the product of overly conservative or disconnected lawmakers, and therefore illegitimate and fair game for simply being ignored. But if such laws are passed by direct popular vote, does that make them more legitimate?

From Reuters:

[Mendocino] voters on Tuesday leaned toward repealing a law allowing home marijuana growing, according to preliminary results of a ballot measure vote released on Wednesday.

Mendocino, a rural county north San Francisco, in 2000 approved marijuana cultivation for recreational use, voting to let residents grow up to 25 marijuana plants, compared with the state limit of six.

“We thought Ma and Pa growers would be able to grow a little bit,” said Dave Bengston, the county’s agricultural commissioner, who supported the repeal. “The legalization of marijuana sent a message to organized crime that they could set up shop here, and we got people with automatic weapons growing marijuana in large quantities.”

That last quote suggests that drug cultivation, like legalized gambling, can be one of those freedoms that we like individually but has unintended consequences for a community as a whole.