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State-Federal cannabis sweep in Colorado illuminates the essential flaws of prohibition

2:25 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

The search warrant allowed the agents to seize “everything from pot plants and cash to financial records, safes and computer flash drives”.

cross posted at mLaw

This past week state and federal officials raided more than a dozen Colorado cannabis dispensaries and greenhouses and two homes. The agents, including officers from both the DEA and the IRS, had obtained warrants for 10 individuals connected with the raided properties. The Denver Post obtained a copy of the search warrant that allowed the agents to seize “everything from pot plants and cash to financial records, safes and computer flash drives”. No arrests were made during the sweep that took place over the course of several hours on Thursday.

An attorney for one of the individuals cited in the warrant, Laszlo Bagi the owner of Swiss Medical in Boulder, said that the agents seized $1 million worth of plants from his client’s facility and that the agents left no “instructions saying don’t replant. There was no court order of cease and desist. No explanation,” adding that his client adheres to Colorado’s state laws regarding cannabis sale and cultivation.

Also named in the warrant are Luis Uribe, Carlos Solano, Gerardo Uribe-Christancho, David Furtado, Juan Guardarrama, Carlos Solano-Bocanegro, Jared Bringhurst, Felix Perez, John Frank Esmeral and Joseph Tavares.

At the time of the raids on Thursday, which took place a short six weeks before the historic Colorado law legalizing the recreational use of cannabis by adults will allow the commercial sale of the substance for the first time in the nation, with no additional context, some cannabis advocates cautiously questioned the motives of DEA as reported in articles such as the Huffington Post’s report on the raids titled, “Colorado Medical Marijuana Raids Show Industry Still Risky“.

The Denver Post dug deeper and on Friday reported that the, “Colorado marijuana businesses raided this week by federal agents are being investigated for a possible connection to Colombian drug cartels,” and that the targets of the warrants have been “actively purchasing area dispensaries and grow warehouses over a sustained period of time.”

The Post reports that the raids were based upon allegations of “trafficking marijuana outside of states where it has been legalized, money laundering and providing revenue for criminal enterprises, including gangs and cartels.” One of the subjects of the search warrant, Juan Guardarrama, was recently convicted of racketeering in a case that involved Colombian and Cuban gangs in Miami selling diamonds stolen from gem dealers. During the investigation that resulted in his arrest, Guardarrama reportedly asked under cover agents to help him traffic legally grown Coloradan cannabis in Miami and “take out” a Coloradan business partner.

The state-federal action has been lauded by both supporters and critics of cannabis legalization. Law enforcement officials pointed out to the Post that the agents were doing their job, and Andy Williams, a Denver cannabis dispensary owner and a member of the local Medical Marijuana Industry Group confided, “I want the bad actors gone, quite honestly.”

The entire incident serves also to deftly exemplify the fatal flaws of cannabis prohibition, especially in the new world created by the citizens’ initiatives in both Washington and Colorado and where broad and sustained majorities of American adults approve of ending cannabis prohibition.

What we saw this week and what all parties agreed was the most appropriate course of action was, a daylight police raid with its attendant dangers, pulled off in several locations including at a home in a toney suburban subdivision (a mile from Denver Bronco quarterback Peyton Manning’s home). Where alleged international gang members’ properties and possessions were confiscated, although no arrests were made. Where the confiscated property belongs to individuals who had multiple business locations and, in the case of two of the suspects, had received approval to invest $6 million to build a cannabis grow house in Pueblo County to help boost to economic development. Where the legal product of other cannabis distributors was destroyed by state and federal officials (many distributors rent growing facilities that are shared by other distributors- as was the case in this raid). Where the crazy quilt of local townships’ desires to increase economic growth, local and state regulations covering everything from simple city licensing and state registration requirements to state and federal criminal statutes and as always with the inextinguishable human impulse to “maximize profits” (in a manner of speaking) in this world of commerce can, really, only lead to 26 year-old Columbian gang members buying $1.5 million homes in a suburb near you (should you live in one of the two visionary and courageous states that have legalized consumption of the benign and medically important natural and easy to grow substance, cannabis).

The director of the federal law enforcement program called the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Tom Gorman, told the Post “I have said it before and I’ll say it again — you cannot regulate this illegal industry. You can’t any time you talk about money and profits, and dealing with a customer base and selling product. There are too many loopholes, too many ways to get around it. You just can’t do it.”

Smedley Butler’s formulation interestingly holds true in this “war on drugs” military engagement: “There is a way to stop it. You can’t end it by…conferences. You can’t eliminate it by peace parleys…Well-meaning but impractical groups can’t wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.” Read the rest of this entry →

Obama DEA employs ‘smashing’ new tactic to intimidate cannabis pharmacies

12:46 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

The Drug Enforcement Administration in cooperation with a patchwork of Michigan state law enforcement entities has, over the past three weeks, conducted a series of cannabis dispensary searches in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas that have been described by the press as “smash and grab” raids.

The series of raids, including two just last week, are characterized by groups of federal drug agents, sometimes supported by local or state police, swooping into cannabis pharmacies in unmarked vans and SUVs with no sirens or flashing lights. The federal agents’ flash Michigan state warrants and seize cannabis plants and cash. In a series of raids beginning on July 30, agents did not leave copies of the state warrants at the three cannabis pharmacies that were raided.

No arrests have been made in the series of ‘smash and grab’ raids, and the searches seem to end as abruptly as they begin when cash is confiscated and dispensary employees begin photographing the raiding agents. The Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued a ‘raid alert’ after the Ann Arbor pharmacy raid.

In addition to these raids, three cannabis dispensaries in Detroit were raided in the past weeks by the Detroit Police using the same pattern of quick entry and quick exit. In these raids, the Detroit Police were accompanied by Michigan State Police, agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and a Detroit city code enforcement official.

Medical cannabis advocates in Michigan are concerned about the new tactics used in these DEA raids, especially in light of the fact that federal agents are serving state-issued warrants. Also of concern is the DEA’s reliance upon state police instead of local police to support the raids. Critics feel the federal agents are choosing to partner with statewide law enforcement entities to preclude local police from participating in the raids in locations, such as Ann Arbor, where there is broad public support for the use of cannabis for medical relief.

The DEA is a federal law enforcement organization within the US Justice Department, an agency under the executive branch. Just last week, a spokesperson for President Obama told the nation that “the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation for federal law enforcement resources.” Read the rest of this entry →

Obama tells the truth, Obama re-tells the lie

6:41 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

Following the punch-a-hippy&sick-person scheme that has worked so well for President Obama, the White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, responding to a reporter’s question, stated on August 21, apparently reading from a prepared text, that the president will not reschedule the substance cannabis for medical or recreational use, even suggesting that Obama will not even consider rescheduling to allow for medical research of the curative and pain management potential of the promising natural medicine. And that’s the truth.

Obama, I believed you, I trusted you, I voted for you.  marijuana, pot, cannabis, medical marijuana, mmj, protest signObama’s spokesperson then segued serpentine-like into the established position of the administration, that “the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation for federal law enforcement resources.” A statement that, on it’s face is difficult to assail as it suggests the Obama team has endeavored to formulate a cogent, mature, reasoned, aware, progressive and public safety conscious program to acknowledge our ill brethren and protect our children. And that’s the lie.

The administration’s continued attacks on the systems of dispensing medical cannabis reveal Obama’s dishonesty and dis-compassion. One has only to scan recent headlines to understand that our leaders are cynically deploying talking points, memes that infer compassion for the sick, as they continue a pogrom of intimidation and aggressive enforcement actions against the very pharmacies that are allowed by state law to provide medicine to “those with serious illnesses and their caregivers.”

Earlier this year, President Obama released his administration’s revamped compassion forward new think war on drugs program (reported here by mLaw). In it’s justification to thwart the onrush of medical progress and quash the nascent small d democratic movement afoot in the US to legalize recreational use of cannabis by adults, the president’s appointees equated cannabis to the drugs heroin and ‘crack’ cocaine. The administration says that it truly believes that there are “addictive” properties to the natural substance cannabis. Because of this, and (of course) for the protection of our children, cannabis has therefore to be dealt with in the same fashion as heroin, cocaine and meth. It’s all about public safety, don’t you know.

Additionally, we as concerned Americans, can’t possibly want criminals to hijack the system of cannabis pharmacies (the administration warns) to traffic cannabis to states that have not yet legalized cannabis for medicinal relief. With this reasoning, the Drug Enforcement Administration, a federal agency under the office of the president, raided the People’s Choice Alternative Medicine pharmacy in Ann Arbor MI on Tuesday August 20. The DEA raided Los Angeles’ oldest cannabis pharmacy on August 8 (cannabis has been legal for medical relief in California for more than ten years). In late July, the DEA raided three cannabis pharmacies in Washington state. All of this follows the May 2013 US Department of Justice coordinated action threatening over 100 cannabis pharmacies in Long Beach, CA and Los Angeles county with up to 40 year jail sentences if the did not close their doors immediately.

Obama’s spokesperson ended the questioning about the future for sick Americans who want to be able to use the medical substance for pain relief by saying that he was, “not really sure what steps are required or what changes could be implemented into the law to have an impact on marijuana research,” adding an attempted joke “this is going to draw me all kinds of traffic on twitter … I’m predicting that now, and maybe I’ll have an update for you later.”

Well, moments before Mr. Earnest stated quite plainly and in apparent earnestness that the administration has concern for “individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers.” One would think that after five years on the job they may have given some consideration to the state of cannabis research in the US and its relationship to the prolonged prohibition of the medically useful substance, you know, in an act of compassion for our sick neighbors.

As it stands today, Obama is happy to continue the cynical self-imposed standoff catch-22 that criminalizes research into the medically beneficial qualities of cannabis; because cannabis is said by politicians and law enforcers to have no medical benefits, researchers cannot procure the drug legally to perform the research that will establish that the politicians and law enforcers are wrong in their assertions. Obama’s continuation of this obvious to all double talk on cannabis research signifies the extent to which the administration desires to help sick Americans.

I live in a country that says it is compassionate and caring for those who are struggling with terminal disease, with debilitating conditions for which there is no cure. I live in a country whose president’s spokesperson replied to a question about our country’s intentional embargo on the medical research of cannabis with a sophomoric joke about twitter retribution.

Obama plays a lot of these semantic games: “no laws were broken,” with respect to the banking criminals, “look forward not back,” with respect to war criminals, “nobody’s listening to your phone calls” with respect to warrantless surveillance of Americans. And most often our courageous White House press corps snicker along with his spokespersons because they are all ‘in on the joke’. Read the rest of this entry →

Uruguay contributes to humanity; in the US, it’s contraband and criminality

5:49 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

A “contribution to humanity” is how Uruguayan President, Jose Mujica, described the courageous step taken by the leaders of Uruguay who agreed earlier this month to fight back against the crime, violence and suffering that has been caused over the course of the ongoing 50-year-log ‘war on drugs’ by repealing prohibition and legalizing cannabis for consumption by adult Uruguayans. Mujica told Agency Press France that the real goal of legalizing cannabis in Uruguay is to eliminate the black market for the substance and consequentially end the savage violence of the drug war.

The history of the world wide drug war, a standoff between criminals who reap billions and militarized police forces who are funded by drug warring nations, can only be viewed as a failure, Mujica told the AFP. In Uruguay, the government spends $80 million a year attempting to stop the cannabis black market that is estimated to be worth between 4 and 5 million dollars per year. “As a business this would be a disaster if you look at it purely from an economic standpoint,” Mujica said, “from a moral point of view, it’s much worse because the violence consumes a lot of people who have nothing to do with it.”

In the US, more than $24.7 billion has been spent so far this year waging the drug war and, over 1 million people have been arrested for drug offenses. The Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a US federal governmental agency, reports that usage of cannabis increased between 2010 and 2012 slightly by 1.1 percent, reflecting that the monies being spent are not achieving the stated goals of drug war enthusiasts in US law enforcement, congress and the White House.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the ‘drug war’ has failed;
on July 25, the Drug Enforcement Agency raided three cannabis pharmacies in Washington state,
on July 31, DEA agents raided a cannabis pharmacy in Michigan, and,
today, August 8, DEA agents raided the oldest cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles.

President Mujica also spoke recently in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba at a memorial celebrating the July 26, 1953 attack on the Moncada barracks that began the Cuban Revolution. In his speech, as reported by Escambray.cu, Mujica said that the rebels who began the overthrow of the Batista regime inspired a “revolution of dignity” across Latin America. “We are convinced”, Mujica said, “that man has the capacity to build a better world, and that fighting capacity must be used to have a world of respect, a world of equality. Human life must be respected, and rich people have to understand and respect the rest of the people”.

Uruguay’s decision to fight drug violence by ending prohibition as an effort by Uruguay’s leaders to “contribute to humanity” reflects Mujica’s commitment to express the capacity of leaders to “build a better world”. Read the rest of this entry →

“Things are going to be hell for you”

12:14 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

Cannabis Leaves

The drug war turns a plant-based medicine into a hellish struggle.

We live in a country where the sick are denied comfort, relief and even cures because of cannabis prohibition. And, if you are a Parkinson’s patient, shuffling slowly across your disability payment bed-sit to re-catheterize yourself, because a former cannabis user is vain, weak and calculating,

“Things are going to be hell for you.”

We live in a country that arrested over 800,000 citizens last year for cannabis related offenses, primarily small scale possession. Those unlucky enough to be convicted, and of course this means primarily Black and Latino Americans, will be stigmatized for their entire working lives, having their ability to contribute to our society be compromised forever. If you are a young American who uses the same natural substance recreationally that was used by honored and lionized Americans including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson,

“Things are going to be hell for you.”

We live in a world where thousands of our neighbors are being slaughtered every year in horrific fashion because prohibition creates a black market that is estimated to be worth trillions of dollars and that is controlled by brutish criminals. If you are an honest law enforcement official in Mexico or an innocent 8 year old niece of a drug smuggler,

“Things are going to be hell for you.”

What is it that leads otherwise rational and progressive Americans to not see in abject clarity that the Obama administration is pathologically committed to ensuring that cannabis be illegal for consumption by American adults during his presidency and that afflicted and dying American’s will not be able to receive the medically proven benefits of medicinal cannabis following the recent pharmacy raids in Washington state?

Obama’s body-armoured representative thumb nailed the administration’s approach to continuing the suffering and pain of our afflicted, continuing the racist jailing and lifelong stigmatization of our youth, continuing to cynically deploy dishonest and misrepresentational propagandic talking points, continuing to dishonestly hide from what he knows from his significant use of the natural substance cannabis- that it is both harmless and helpful, continuing to trumpet and support discredited pseudo-scientific studies and medical quackery, continuing to blaze a path in the opposite direction of compassion, morality, humanity, science and the rest of the industrial world when he said,

“Things are going to be hell for you.”

If standing by our political team in some freakish “Friday Night Lights” sports game of a partisanship slap-fest is more important than our sick and dying sisters and our unfairly arrested and prosecuted brothers who suffer on the sidelines – then we have all uttered the horrible and discompassionate threat,

“Things are going to be hell for you.”

Read the rest of this entry →

Breaking: Obama DEA stormtroops into the Evergreen State

4:16 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

 

cross posted at mLaw

Reports have emerged that the Drug Enforcement Agency, a federal agency under the auspices of President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, is in the midst of conducting a broad based ‘sting’ raiding cannabis pharmacies in Washington state.

The raids, three of which were carried out by dozens of gun-brandishing heavily armored federal police officials over the course of the past few days, resulted in the seizure of cash, medical cannabis and employee cell phones, among other items present at the cannabis dispensaries.

An employee who works for the Bayside Collective in Olympia Washington where federal agents packed into seven unmarked police vehicles stormed the facility earlier this week told NBC News that she was ordered to appear before a federal grand jury in September and that the raids were the result of an on-going two year investigation.

Another employee of Bayside, speaking through his attorney to NBC News, said that he overheard one of the federal law enforcement raiders say that the DEA will raid a total of 18 cannabis pharmacies in this targeted sweep of dispensaries in Washington state. The pharmacy employee said that the agent asked the employees in a mocking fashion that, “this is your second raid…why do you keep doing this?” The federal agent further threatened the pharmacy employees, “things are going to be hell for you.”

Washington state and Coloradan voters decided to legalize cannabis for personal consumption by adults, in the same way alcohol is legal across the United States, in November 2012. These actions were taken using the mechanisms of popular small-d democracy, passed by overwhelming majorities in state wide referenda. Since that time, the Obama administration has put forward a drug policy paper that suggests that cannabis shares the severely addicting qualities of the drugs heroin and crack cocaine and stood behind US Attorneys in the Justice Department as it earlier this year sent demand letters to more than 100 cannabis pharmacies in California threatening jail sentences for owners of up to 40 years unless they shutter their pharmacy doors amongst other action’s that demonstrate the administration’s fetish for the prohibition of the medically useful drug cannabis.

One employee in a cannabis pharmacy that was subject to this week’s targeted sweep told NBC News that he was humiliated by the actions of the federal government law enforcers because he is in the business of medical cannabis provision, quite simply, to help sick patients. The pharmacy employee went on to say that the federal drug enforcement storm troopers “don’t get to see the cancer patients.”

FBI use of unmanned drones constrained by unwritten rules

9:21 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at the demise

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Robert Mueller, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI owns and operates unmanned surveillance drones that have been used by the agency for surveillance purposes.

Mueller, responding to a question asked by Iowa senator Chuck Grassley, advised the committee that the FBI surveillance drones have been used in surveillance operations on American soil. Mueller, in an attempt to assuage the concerns of the congressional overseers, assured that the FBI’s use of unmanned surveillance drones to spy on Americans was “very seldom” and only in “particular instances.”

Mueller further advised the committee that, although the agency has thus far only used its unmanned drone capabilities in the US on limited occasions, the FBI is currently establishing agency guidelines and rules for its future domestic drone surveillance operations.

Obama’s drug war: DOJ’s threats and seizures imperil vets with seizures

12:06 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

Cannabis Leaves

More victims of the DOJs war on medicine.

The White House’s war on medicine; President Obama’s cynical stance of dragging out his and his Justice Department’s ‘analysis’ of how to respond to the citizens in Washington and Colorado who have moved to legalize cannabis for personal consumption by adults using the small-d democratic tools available to them as Americans, while at the same time pursuing providers of medical cannabis with unflinching, dis-compassionate, a-scientific and authoritarian aggression, blitzkreiged into California this week where US attorneys officially demanded the closure of more than 100 medical cannabis dispensaries threatening both criminal and civil actions against the medicine providers and the owners of property that house the pharmacies.

The DOJ warning letters threatened to take enforcement action against the recipients if the pharmacies are not shuttered in 14 days.  The demand letters were sent to 103 medical cannabis dispensaries in Long Beach and Los Angeles County.

A spokesperson for the US Department of Justice, confirming the assertions of the electorate in both Washington state and Colorado who predicated their legalization of cannabis use by adults in their states in part on the theory that selling cannabis as a legal product will provide an enormous benefit for their states in the collection of taxes on the commodity, said in a statement to the press; “All the stores we have seen are generating significant amount of profits.”

In addition to sending the threatening letters to the 103 cannabis pharmacies, Obama’s DOJ filed two lawsuits against particular medical cannabis dispensaries where the federal government is seeking the forfeiture of the property and the assets of the collectives’ owners and landlords.

The complaints filed by the Obama justice department allege that the cooperative owners did not operate medical cannabis pharmacies, but rather, commercial cannabis retail stores in violation of California state law.  The action was joined by Obama’s Drug Enforcement Administration, The Internal Revenue Service, the Los Angeles District Attorney and the City of Long Beach Police Department.

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said he was happy to “partner” in the federal crack-down on medicine providers claiming that offering cannabis under doctors’ orders to the sick and dying is in his mind “an illegal operation.” McDonnell did not elaborate on his stated opinion that the provision of medicine to sick patients in his town negitively impacts the “quality of life” for the citizens of Long Beach.

Kris Hermes, a spokesperson for the non-profit medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access reacted to the aggressive federal law enforcement sweep of the California pharmacies by pointing out that “thousands of people will be left without safe and legal access” to their medications due to the federal crack-down.

Read the rest of this entry →

Obama Reveals his Cynical, Deceptive, Authoritarian and A-scientific approach to Drug Prohibition in the 21st Century

10:43 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

The White House has released a “plan to reduce drug use and its consequences” that it says is a “science based” drug enforcement scheme. The administration says its drug enforcement policy will be “smart on crime” instead of “tough on crime” by “emphasizing prevention” and medical interdiction to “break the cycle of drug use, crime, incarceration, and re-arrest.” Obama’s view is that “addiction is a disease of the brain” that can be treated medically and as a matter of law enforcement.

The Obama plan is formulated upon dual overarching assumptions; that if a substance has been outlawed federally, then it is a harmful and addictive substance the legality of which cannot be reconsidered; and, that the use of banned substances is a fiscal drag on the US economy. The website promoting the Obama administration enforcement scheme policy begins by reporting that, “illicit drug use cost our Nation more than $193 billion in lost productivity, healthcare, and criminal justice costs.”

The Obama administration asserts that the federal government cannot imprison every drug criminal in the United States because to do so, the policy paper states, is “counterproductive, inefficient, and costly.” The policy white paper goes on to state, however, that the Obama administration views the movements by citizens in the states to use the democratic process to legalize cannabis for medical and personal consumption are extremist and contradict “a public health and safety approach to drug policy.”

The Obama administration claims that its drug enforcement program is science based, but in the US and around the world scientists and researchers have come to different conclusions from reviewing the science that shows quite clearly that the banned in the US substance cannabis has the ability to provide medical relief to patients.

Researchers from the Psychopharmacology Unit of the University of Bristol in the UK created a scale of the relative addictive qualities of abused substances that was reported in their 2007 paper, “Development of a Rational Scale to Assess the Harm of Drugs of Potential Misuse”. The medical researchers found that cannabis scored as less addictive and less physically harmful than both heroin and cocaine, this is the case even though cannabis is classified by the federal government as more dangerous than both heroin and cocaine. The researchers also found that cannabis is less physically harmful and less addictive than tobacco and alcohol, both of which are legal in the US.

Furthermore, suggesting that cannabis is a dangerous and harmful drug is increasingly becoming disconnected from the broadly held medical opinion that cannabis is a helpful drug that is both pain relieving and curative. In fact, over 20 years ago in 1991, the American Society of Clinical Oncology surveyed 2,430 cancer doctors across the US to find that nearly half supported their patient’s use of cannabis. More recently, the California Medical Association, the state’s largest doctor group called for legalizing cannabis in the US for medical use in 2011. In April 2013, a broad based group of 250 doctors practicing in the state of Illinois called for legalizing cannabis for the treatment of diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

And, this year the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press polled Americans to find that 77 percent of Americans think that cannabis should be made legal as a medicine to treat sick patients. The study also revealed that 72 percent of Americans think that the federal government spends too much money enforcing cannabis prohibition and that 54 percent of Americans support the full legalization of cannabis for use by American adults for recreational purposes. The poll also found that 60 percent of Americans do not agree with the US Justice Department’s attack on medical cannabis dispensaries that prevent the sick from obtaining prescriptions for medication.

As the Obama administration attempts to distract Americans by invoking the term “science based” it continues to threaten and pursue producers and distributors of medical cannabis. As recently as this week the Obama Justice Department sent letters to landlords who lease commercial space to state approved cannabis dispensaries in San Jose, California threatening forty-year jail sentences and forfeiture of the property of the landowners.

A letter received by one such dispensary in San Jose, as reported by the East Bay Express, made unambiguous threats to a landowner who leases property to a pharmacy, stating; “The office has been advised that there is a marijuana dispensary … operating at the real property located at …, which property you own or have under your management control. The dispensary is operating in violation of federal law, and persons and entities who operate or facilitate the operation of such dispensaries are subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions.”

The Obama administration’s determination that all illegal substances are addictive and can promote addictive disorders approaches enforcing drug laws with a broad-brush-stroke approach that lumps drastically different substances together for the purpose of streamlining enforcement determinations to save money and which is fundamentally a-scientific at its core. Moreover, the Obama administration’s effort to stamp out the sale and delivery of medicinal cannabis to patients reveals an amoral cynicism; one that holds out hope for the sick while moving to crush distribution networks for the medicine by imposing convoluted analysis of federal tax laws and employing aggressive enforcement to withhold medicine from those who need it.

cross posted at mLaw

Obama’s drug czar addicted to pro-prohibition fallacies

6:36 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

President Obama’s hand-picked ‘drug czar’, former police chief of Seattle Gil Kerlikowske, denounced legalization of cannabis for personal consumption by American adults at a National Press Club event.

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowski speaks to the National Press Club on US drug policy

Kerlikowski characterized the legalization of drugs in his discussion of cannabis legalization in Washington and Colorado as an “extreme position”, and went further to state bluntly that the Obama administration opposes “drug legalization.”

“The Justice Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” Kerlikowske reminded reporters in prepared remarks.  He added, in what can only be interpreted as a warning to the citizens of states that have legalized cannabis through local democratic processes, “Neither a state nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.”

Kerlikowske then attempted to append a ‘public safety’ rational to his articulated support for a federalized law enforcement crack down on states that have voted to allow adults to use cannabis recreationally by admonishing, “Nor should we lose sight of the fundamental fact that using marijuana has public health consequences, and the most responsible public policy is one that restricts its availability and discourages its use.”

Kerlikowske flanked by health professionals specializing in treating drug addiction, said that the Obama administration’s approach to drug policy was not to wage a “war on drugs” nor was it to “legalize drugs”, rather, Kerlikowske said, the Obama administration favors focusing on reducing “drug use and its consequences” primarily drug addiction.  Kerlikowske said that the key component of the Obama administration’s approach to drug control is to focus on the “disease of addiction.”

Kerlikowske also compared what he termed “substance use disorder” with “progressive diseases”  stating that intervention by health professionals who have access to addiction treatment programs sponsored by the government is a “key aspect” of Obama’s approach to drug policy.  Kerlikowske did not comment on the irony that medical professionals across America prescribe the medicine of cannabis to treat many progressive diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

Kerlikowske’s position that the federal government should take legal action because of the public dangers threatened by the addictive properties of cannabis are not shared by former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders who told CNN in 2010, “Marijuana is not addictive, not physically addictive anyway,” when she called for federal legalization of cannabis.  While the level of addiction that cannabis users experience is debatable, no health researcher or public health authority has stated that cannabis is more addictive than the legal consumer products alcohol and tobacco.

cross posted at mLaw