Friday, March 27, 2009

Obama Medical Marijuana Raids Continue

In the drug war: Obama lies, people die.

Is this administration just one parade after another of shameless lies, double-talk, and broken promises or are they not even in control of their enforcement agencies?

(03-25) 22:05 PDT San Francisco -- Federal agents raided a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco Wednesday, a week after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signaled that the Obama administration would not prosecute distributors of pot used for medicinal purposes that operate under sanction of state law.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided Emmalyn's California Cannabis Clinic at 1597 Howard St. in San Francisco's South of Market district mid-afternoon.

They hauled out large plastic bins overflowing with marijuana plants and loaded several pickup trucks parked out front with grow lights and related equipment used to farm the plants indoors.

The dispensary had been operating with a temporary permit issued by the Department of Public Health.

"Based on our investigation, we believe there are not only violations of federal law, but state law as well," DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony Williams said in a prepared statement.

A source in San Francisco city government who was informed about the raid said the DEA's action appeared to be prompted by alleged financial improprieties related to the payment of sales taxes. DEA Special Agent Casey McEnry, spokeswoman for the local office, would not comment on that information.

Reason Magazine's excellent resident drug policy expert Jacob Sullum has the skinny on this non-change Obama is bringing America :

If those alleged sales tax problems turn out to be the official rationale for the raid, the Obama administration's alleged change in policy may not amount to much.

When Holder said the feds would not go after medical marijuana dispensaries that comply with state law, I assumed he meant state law governing the distribution of marijuana for medical use.

If he instead meant any state law, the DEA has a pretext to raid any dispensary that allegedly has fallen short of a state (or local?) legal requirement, no matter how trivial, even if state law enforcement agencies have shown no interest in the issue.

Meanwhile, a productive enterprising peaceable man's life hangs in the balance, facing life in prison for running a medical marijuana dispensary, as the administration lurches and backtracks.

Morro Bay, California medical marijuana dispensary operator Charles Lynch finds himself caught between the old guard and the new guard. While the dispensary he ran was fully legal under state law, he was convicted under federal law last year and faces the prospect of decades in jail--all for helping sick people.

Lynch is waiting on his sentence. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently signaled that the Obama administration would break with the Bush administration and prosecute medical marijuana dispensary owners only if they violated both federal and state law.

Lynch was convicted during the Bush years, but his sentencing will occur under the new regime. So where would that leave him on his sentencing day--a free man, a lifelong prisoner, something else?

It turns out that the man who hold Lynch's life in his hands isn't sure how the policy shift should affect sentencing. U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu postponed his decision until he learns more about the Justice Department's policy regarding such cases.

Let's never forget Barack is no stranger to the bong...

ADDENDUM: Also at Reason, libertarian Democrat Terry Michael digs deeper into the larger issue and Obama's flip attitude in 'The War on Drugs is No Laughing Matter - It's time for Barack Obama to take legalization seriously' Michael notes words from French essayist Georges Bernanos : "The worst, the most corrupting of lies, are problems poorly stated."

Obama's Answer on Marijuana Policy Was a Disgrace



Anonymous said...

Obama knows to do the right thing and legalize pot in the first term would destroy his political chances for a second term, he is after a politican. Guess the public needs to address the question on a state level. First we must insist that every politican in the State be drug tested, anyone who refuses the random testing, should be considered questionable.
At least the cops should be told to stop filling the jails with pot smokers! Ignore it and look for real criminals.

tom said...

Just to make former Congressman Instook's argument (in the second video) seem even more pathetic, the Supreme Court case he keeps referring to is Gonzales v. Raich, which a large number of legal scholars ranked among the worst Supreme Court decisions of the past 100 years.

This decision was politically motivated, and pretty much devoid of Constitutional justification or reasonable precedents.

And by the way, the authors of the majority opinion are the same great justices who stood up for the government's power to give away your property to private developers in Kelo.