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Drug czar tells California Feds will never agree to legal pot

FRESNO, Calif. — The federal government is not going to pull back on its efforts to curtail marijuana farming operations, Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, said Wednesday in Fresno.

The nation's drug czar, who viewed a foothill marijuana farm on U.S. Forest Service land with state and local officials earlier Wednesday, said the federal government will not support legalizing marijuana.

"Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine," he said.

Kerlikowske said he can understand why legislators are talking about taxing marijuana cultivation to help cash-strapped government agencies in California. But the federal government views marijuana as a harmful and addictive drug, he said.

"Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit," Kerlikowske said in downtown Fresno while discussing Operation SOS -- Save Our Sierra -- a multiagency effort to eradicate marijuana in eastern Fresno County. Marijuana plants valued at more than $1.26 billion have been confiscated and 82 people arrested over the past 10 days in Fresno County. The operation started last week and is continuing.

By comparison, Tulare County's leading commodity -- milk -- was valued at about $1.8 billion in 2008.

Read the full story at fresnobee.com"

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