Well done sir.
Categories: editorial, Internet, law and order, politics . Tags: federal marijuana laws, legalize it, medical marijuana, Penn Jillette, President Obama . Author: veks_ink . Comments: Leave a comment
Well done sir.
President Obama defended his administration’s blatant flip flop when it comes to enforcing federal laws on medical marijuana dispensaries, saying he can’t ask the Justice Department to ignore federal law.
In 2008 candidate Obama said that he would not use federal resources to “try and circumvent state laws about medical marijuana.”
Attorney General Eric Holder later wrote in a 2009 memo that users and dispensaries that comply with state and local laws would not be a priority for the Justice Department.
More than 100 dispensaries have been raided by federal prosecutors in the last 3 years.
In 2010, Holder reversed course writing that his department would “vigorously enforce” federal laws after a ballot initiative in California sought, unsuccessfully, to legalize marijuana.
In an interview, with Rolling Stone the president said the following:
“I can’t nullify congressional law. What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana.”
“I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana, and the reason is, because it’s against federal law.” he added.
Federal prosecutors have targeted dispensaries in California, Colorado and other states.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), a supporter of eliminating restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries, said that federal prosecutors should yield to state laws governing the businesses.
“The Justice Department has repeatedly made clear that dispensaries that are in compliance with state law are not an enforcement priority,” Polis said in a statement. “Colorado’s tough system of medical marijuana regulation is the best way to keep drugs out of the hands of minors.”
Obama also said during the interview that “large-scale, commercial” marijuana businesses that might supply both medical and recreational users present a problem for law enforcement.
“In that situation, we put the Justice Department in a very difficult place if we’re telling them, ‘This is supposed to be against the law, but we want you to turn the other way,’ ” he said.
“That’s not something we’re going to do.”
Too bad that’s exactly what he said they would do.
For the past two years the Obama has indicated that they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where marijuana is legal with a doctors’ prescription. In an about face that will surely irk his liberal base the administration has announced that they will be cracking down on pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law.
The Associated Press obtained copies of letters that a prosecutor sent to at least 12 San Diego dispensaries. They state that federal law “takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana.”
“Under United States law, a dispensary’s operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions,” according to the letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego. “Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States … regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary.”
“This really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. The administration is simply making good on multiple threats issued since President Obama took office,” said Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to the president’s drug czar and a fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Substance Abuse Solutions. “The challenge is to balance the scarcity of law enforcement resources and the sanctity of this country’s medication approval process. It seems like the administration is simply making good on multiple statements made previously to appropriately strike that balance.”
Really? Someone needs to show Mr. Sabet the following video in which President Obama clearly states that he “will not use Justice Dept resources to circumvent state laws on this issue”
Greg Anton, a lawyer who represents dispensary Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, said its landlord received an “extremely threatening” letter Wednesday invoking a federal law that imposes additional penalties for selling drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, parks and playgrounds.
The landlord was ordered to evict the 14-year-old pot club or risk imprisonment, forfeiture of the property and all the rent he has collected while the dispensary has been in business, Anton said.
Marin Alliance’s founder “has been paying state and federal taxes for 14 years, and they have cashed all the checks,” he said. “All I hear from Obama is whining about his budget, but he has money to do this which will actually reduce revenues.”
Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said the warnings are an attempt by the Obama administration to curb medical marijuana on multiple fronts and through multiple agencies. As was the case in Montana in which a series of dispensary raids involved agents from the FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Internal Revenue Service and Environmental Protection Agency.
Duffy, the U.S. attorney for far Southern California, planned to issue warning letters to property owners and all of the 180 or so dispensaries that have proliferated in San Diego in the absence of compromise regulations, according to Goldsmith.
“The real power is with the federal government,” he said. “They have the asset forfeiture, and that means either the federal government will own a lot of property or these landlords will evict a lot of dispensaries.”
A 19-member commission that includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. official George P. Schultz, who held cabinet posts under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, U.K. business mogul Richard Branson and the current prime minister of Greece have released a report that states that global war on drugs has been an abject failure.
In the report The Global Commission on Drug Policy calls on governments to end the criminalization of marijuana and other controlled substances as they have devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Instead of punishing users who the report says “do no harm to others,” the commission believes we’d be better off legalizing drugs and offering health and treatment services for addicts.
“Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won,” the report said.
The commission singles out the United States, which its members say must lead by changing its anti-drug policies from anti-crime to health care and human rights.
“We hope this country [the U.S.] at least starts to think there are alternatives,” former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria told The Associated Press by phone. “We don’t see the U.S. evolving in a way that is compatible with our [countries’] long-term interests.”
The office of White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said the report was misguided.
“Drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated. Making drugs more available as this report suggests will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe,” Office of National Drug Control Policy spokesman Rafael Lemaitre said.
That office cites statistics showing declines in U.S. drug use compared to 30 years ago while the GCDP report cites U.N. estimates that opiate use increased 34.5 percent worldwide and cocaine 27 percent from 1998 to 2008, while the use of marijuana was up 8.5 percent.