War on Weed: Obama’s Department of Injustice


GUEST POST:

The Obama administration has been working very hard lately enforcing the letter of the federal law.  No, they aren’t considering prosecuting even a single person for the financial frauds which nearly collapsed the markets. Nope, not protecting our border either. Obama and his scandal-plagued Dept. of Justice, DEA, ATF & IRS are staging a crushing blow to legal and safe access to cannabis for America’s ill.

Four U.S. Attorneys from California–along with their respective counterparts  in Washington D.C. from the DEA and IRS declared that a statewide crackdown against large-scale medical cannabis cultivators and sellers with national implications is currently underway.

• Earlier this week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a long-awaited $2.5 million ruling against a major medical cannabis dispensary in California. Citing an obscure part of the US tax code meant to target drug cartels, the federal agency is barring dispensaries, even those licensed under state law, from taking any business-related tax deductions and is seeking millions in dollars in back taxes.
This adverse ruling has the very real potential to stop the regulated sale of cannabis
currently underway in California, Colorado, Maine and New Mexico; and planned in
Arizona, Montana, Delaware, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C
• The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) issued a heavy-handed one-page memo to every gun and ammunition dealer nationwide informing them that they must, by law, deny sales to physician-recommended cardholding patients who use medical cannabis– effectively denying their Second Amendment rights to own a firearm for personal safety, hunting, or simply to avoid a tyrannous federal government.
• Federal regulators cracked down on banks in Colorado, California and Michigan that had
previously conducted business with medical cannabis dispensaries, barring these financial institutions from accepting cash deposits or processing credit/debit cards from state or locally approved canna-businesses.
• U.S. Attorneys in California sent warnings to local dispensaries in San Francisco, San Diego,and elsewhere warning that locally compliant facilities are still subject to federal
prosecution for violating federal ‘drug free school zones’ legislation — leaving these facilities with no choice but to either move or close.
• Federal attorneys in California have sent hundreds of legal warnings to the landlords of properties that rent to medical cannabis businesses (retail, delivery, cultivation and testing) warning that their properties and assets are subject to swift civil forfeiture proceedings, and that they personally could face decades in prison. In addition, the DOJ is assaulting our first amendment rights, also targeting all radio, TV, print and other media outlets that currently advertise  medical marijuana businesses.
• Rhode Island’s governor Lincoln Chafee pulled the plug on the state’s nascent medical
cannabis dispensary program, despite it having been previously approved 102 – 3 by the state legislature. Why? Governor Chafee cites recent memos from the Department of Justice threatening to federally prosecute employees involved in the state-licensed production or distribution of cannabis.
• Michigan courts, the legislature and the state’s Attorney General are steadily dissembling the state’s medical cannabis program, despite the law having passed with 63 percent public approval.

So why the about-face?  It could be simply a distraction from  Eric Holder & the ATF’s Fast & Furious scandal.  Perhaps to blame is fear that the cannabis industry is gaining strength & funds to fight this.  Is the Obama administration flexing its muscle or attempting to appeal to the tough-on-drugs Republicans?

Or, maybe…..the Obama administration is simply assisting GW Pharma & Novartis with eliminating the competition in preparation for the release of Sativex.  Essentially, under the guise of FDA safety, patients will be forced to buy an expensive pharmaceutical that they could grow themselves for pennies.   From GW’s website:

Q.

Does approval of Sativex by a national medicines regulatory authority mean that herbal cannabis will also be legal in that country?

No. Regulatory approvals from medicines regulatory authorities are specific to Sativex® – there is no change in the law relating to cannabis. Any changes in regulations to permit Sativex to be prescribed would apply only to such an approved product and would have no direct consequence for the legal status of herbal cannabis for recreational and medical use. This is true for all countries around the world, including the United States.

If the FDA approves Sativex, and it appears they will; how will they justify allowing Big Pharma the right to pursue the profitable medical marijuana market, while threatening thousands of patients using state-licensed cannabis with federal intervention, asset forfeiture and prison terms? And how will they ever explain all of the lies?

2011-10-08-imagecharts-Presidents_Medical_Marijuana_MPP.png


The Obama Administration’s Schizophrenic Marijuana Policy: Ogden, Haag, and Cole


Prior to his election, Obama had a reasonable outlook on medical marijuana

“I don’t think that should be a top priority of us, raiding people who are using … medical marijuana. With all the things we’ve got to worry about, and our Justice Department should be doing, that probably shouldn’t be a high priority.” — June 2, 2007, town hall meeting in Laconia, New Hampshire

“You know, it’s really not a good use of Justice Department resources.” — responding to whether the federal government should stop medical marijuana raids, August 13, 2007, town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire

Nearly year after Obama was elected President, his administration, with great fanfare; released the Ogden memo. The memo essentially informed US Attorneys that the US government wouldn’t be focusing federal resources on the prosecution of individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.  As a result of this policy shift, the number of legal medical marijuana patients increased substantially in states allowing the use of medical marijuana.

On February 1, 2011, US Attorney Melinda Haag sent what is now known as the “Haag Memo”, to John Russo, Oakland City Attorney in response to Russo’s request of clarification of the federal stance. From the memo:

We will enforce the CSA (Controlled Substances Act) vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law…. . ….Others who knowingly facilitate the actions of the licensees, including property owners, landlords, and financiers should also know that their conduct violates federal law.

Although hardly publicized, the Haag memo is consistent with federal action the following month:

On Wednesday, for the second time in this year, the Obama administration released a memo on  medical marijuana, the text of which can be viewed here.  This memo purports to provide clarification of previous memos yet seems more like a warning to anyone involved in any level of cannabusiness.  The text of the memo seems to acknowledge that state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis is alright, but good luck obtaining it, because the federal government is waging a war against those who grow it.  This clarification certainly clears things up.

Americans were accustomed to raids under the Bush administration, but Obama promised a different approach, giving a very false sense of security to cannabis patients.  In reality, Obama is on target to in four years, double the number of raids under 8 years of the Bush administration.  At least Bush’s actions were consistent with his words.  Some are speculating that US Atty Holder or rogue US Attys are acting without authorization, but launching raids IS policy and the number, scope, and focus of these violent raids suggests that they are orchestrated from the top.

How’s your badass president now?  I’ve had enough “change”  Perhaps it is time for a President whose actions are consistent with his words, has a decades long history of consistent messages and dedication to individual liberties, constitutional government and sound monetary policy.  Or maybe not.  Maybe you prefer wondering if federal agents will gun down your children as well as your dogs in the next early morning raid.  H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act is currently in Congress.  To urge your Representatives and Senators to support this historic legislation, use this handy web form.

Where is the TEA party now?


My disillusionment with the local TEA party began last summer when I received the following email from Jennifer Olsen, co-founder and organizer of Montana Shrugged, a Montana tea party group.

To All Concerned Citizens,
Protect your family, act now! 

In 2004 Montana Citizens voted for the Medical Marijuana Act – Initiative 148, out of concern and compassion for those in chronic pain. The ballot stated, “For allowing the limited use of marijuana, under medicalsupervision, by patients with debilitating medical conditions to alleviate the symptoms of their conditions”.

No one could have foreseen the crisis that would ensue.

Here is our current situation:

·  89 licenses have been issued as of Monday the 3rd of May. They are receiving 3-5 new applicants a day.
·  There are no zoning regulations as to where these marijuanabusinesses can be located. That means they can be put next to schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods. For some of you your neighbors are growing pot in their house.
·  In 2008 there were 1000 registered patients, today there are over 12,000 and growing.
·  There are currently 2,797 licensed caregivers. A “caregiver” is someone 18 yrs or older and has agreed to under take the responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Caregivers are not required to have training or schooling of any kind.
·  Cards are issued to minors with parental permission.
·  Our kids are getting mixed signals. We don’t want them believingmarijuana is normal. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuanais still a schedule 1 illegal drug. We have the right and obligation to keep it away from our children.
·  Currently,it is legal for patients to vaporize,smoke marijuana,at the facility. Since these facilities can be any where,this raises concerns about them driving afterwards and the risk to the surrounding areas i.e… schools, parks, etc.
·  Billings is now attracting medical marijuana users from other states. They are moving here because of our relaxed laws. In addition there is nothing in place to keep felons from relocating to our state and establishing businesses. Do we really want this to be our calling card?

Montanans thought we were being compassionate, instead we voted in a poorly regulated big growth industry. The regulations around this industry are really loose, and are not well enforced. We have opened the flood gate and we need to work together to close it.  

We need an immediate moratorium put on this industry for at least a year and an emergency zoning ordinance put in place. A moratorium would keep the city from issuing any new licenses and an emergency zoning ordinance would allow a 1000 ft buffer around our schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods.

What can you do?  You can make a difference, we need you. Our kids need you.

·  Email or call your council man immediately.  Let him, or her, know where you stand. Ask them to vote for a moratorium and emergencyzoning that is as strict as possible.

·  Attend the City Council meeting on Monday the 10th and let your voice be heard.  If we pack that meeting it will send a loud and clear message to the council where we stand. The meeting starts at 6:30, but please come early, seating will be limited.
·  Forward this email to everyone you know.  Give them a chance to state their opinion. 

You can find your council man’s email at the following link:

http://ci.billings.mt.us/index.aspx?NID=159

If you don’t know what ward you are in or who your council member is check this site: 

http://ci.billings.mt.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=5523

If you would like to get more involved please, don’t hesitate to email me. 

If you are unable to attend the meeting to voice your concerns for this issue please consider sending an email to the Mayor and all members of city council.

Richard McFadden McfaddenR@ci.billings.mt.us
Denis Pitman Pitmand@ci.billings.mt.us
Dick Clark twodc@bresnan.net

Ed Ulledalen edulledalen@yahoo.com
Jani McCall janimccall@msn.com
Jim Ronquillo jimronquillo@aol.com
Mark Astleastlem@ci.billings.mt.us
Vince Ruegamer vr@bresnan.net
Peggie Denney Gaghen GaghenP@ci.billings.mt.us
Angela Cimino CimminoA@ci.billings.mt.us
Mayor Tom Hanel HanelT@ci.billings.mt.us 

Thank you everyone for your support and continued stance for FREEDOM and LIBERTY.

Jennifer Olsen
Founder -Montana Shrugged, Tea Party Patriots

PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR RALLY SCHEDULED FOR NEXT WEDNESDAY, MAY 12TH HAS BEEN CANCELLED.  WE WILL GATHER AT 24TH AND KING SATURDAY MAY 15TH TO RALLY WITH THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO RALLY WITH US DURING THE WEEK.
I was instantly irritated and responded with the following:
 

While you are probably well aware of my stance on this issue, I must counter your arguments.  I will admit that there IS indeed some abuse of the medical marijuana law- primarily this is because the law needs to be amended.  The law itself is far too vague- allowing people to interpret components of it as they please.  I agree with that and as a legitimate caregiver, I would prefer that the laws be more clear in order to protect us all.  Unless dispensaries ONLY sell their products to their own patients, they are operating illegally- which hurts those who are legitimate- and most of us are.  I must take issue with some of the other points though- I understand your reasoning but as someone who advocates for smaller government, it seems directly opposed to such.

·  89 licenses have been issued as of Monday the 3rd of May. They are receiving 3-5 new applicants a day.
·  There are no zoning regulations as to where these marijuana businesses can be located. That means they can be put next to schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods. For some of you your neighbors are growing pot in their house. Why is that our business what our neighbors are growing in their homes?  What about liberty and personal freedom?  62% of our state voted to approve this measure.  This should be considered MEDICINE.  The people I’ve encountered in this business are experts in their fields- they know their products- they can tell you exactly which strains will help every type of pain.  Do we trust the FDA and big Pharma to do a better job?  You realize they are very involved in NWO.   Since when do we prefer big government? The more regulations we have, the more government jobs, waste and expense.  I would not be entirely opposed to some sort of tax- California receives $100 million/yr on only the SALES tax of medical marijuana.
·  In 2008 there were 1000 registered patients, today there are over 12,000 and growing.  And rightfully so- although there are exceptions, these people have legitimate medical reasons for this.
·  There are currently 2,797 licensed caregivers. A “caregiver” is someone 18 yrs or older and has agreed to under take the responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Caregivers are not required to have training or schooling of any kind. The caregivers may not be required to have training, but seriously, if they want to make any money, they have to learn much about marijuana or they will not be caregivers for long- the fact that it is available legally has reduced the street price by about half.  The illegal drug dealers are having a hard time selling their marijuana at the prices they need…. they are actually moving out of Montana- I know this for a fact.
·  Cards are issued to minors with parental permission. Kids are only allowed cards if a physician approves them for it.  Kids get prescriptions for pharmaceutical meth (adderall) like it is candy.  I have not heard of one child with a card.
·  Our kids are getting mixed signals. We don’t want them believing marijuana is normal. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuana is still a schedule 1 illegal drug. We have the right and obligation to keep it away from our children. The reason this is happening now is that Obama said he will defect to the states regarding medical marijuana laws.  Do you really think it should be classified as a schedule I when cocaine is a II?  While it is not possible with existing data to determine conclusively that state medical marijuana laws caused the documented declines in adolescent marijuana use, the overwhelming downward trend strongly suggests that the effect of state medical marijuana laws on teen marijuana use has been either neutral or positive.
·  Currently,it is legal for patients to vaporize,smoke marijuana,at the facility. Since these facilities can be any where,this raises concerns about them driving afterwards and the risk to the surrounding areas i.e… schools, parks, etc. Have any of us witnessed any of these people using and driving at the facility?  Just curious.  There isn’t any way to quantify (like a breath test) whether someone is impaired.
·  Billings is now attracting medical marijuana users from other states. They are moving here because of our relaxed laws. In addition there is nothing in place to keep felons from relocating to our state and establishing businesses. Do we really want this to be our calling card Of the 14 states with medical marijuana laws, ours ties for most strict.  Compare to Oregon for example:  We can possess 6 plants and 1 oz usable.  In Oregon, they can have 24 ounces usable and 24 plants.  I highly doubt any medical users are moving here because they like our laws better than the ones in their own state.  Think for a moment how much money is going into the economy- and putting illegalmarijuana dealers out of business.  A set-up with lights, ballasts, nutrients, etc STARTS at $1000 for 6 plants.    Not only that, but drug felons are NOT allowed to be caregivers, thus preventing them from setting up businesses.

When I saw Montana Shrugged’s latest video, which accuses the governor’s family of “selling marijuana” in an attempt to promote a full repeal of the law (ironically, the video makes a great case for reform instead), I began to ponder the role of the tea party in Montana politics.  I originally subscribed to the ideals that the tea party was founded upon- and actually, I still do.  There are, however; many  inconsistencies in their principles.  For instance, in general they abhor the federal government.  They constantly call for reducing its size and scope- I too would prefer that our government be far smaller than it is today.  The tea party criticizes federal intervention on any level…. unless, of course they are talking about medical cannabis.  Tea party Republican James Knox posted the following on his Facebook.
So now we have an elected representative in our state legislature PRAISING federal intervention.  This issue should not be party line.  It isn’t a republican, democrat, or tea party problem- this is something ALL Montanans and ALL Americans should condemn.  Here is an excerpt from the DOJ detailing the many federal, state, and local agencies assisting with the investigation and ensuing raids.
[T]he Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection-Border Patrol, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These federal agencies were assisted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces, the Northwest Drug Task Force, the Kalispell Police Department, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Great Falls Police Department, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the Billings Police Department, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Dillon Police Department, the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the Bozeman Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Helena Police Department, the Lewis & Clark Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force – Miles City” (U.S. Department of Justice, Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney, District of Montana,News Advisory, March 15, 2011).
Are we supposed to believe that the Environmental Protection Agency had nothing better to do than work with other redundant and unnecessary agencies to raid cannabis facilities? If these charges indeed have merit, the blame should rest upon the state for failure to prosecute caregivers who were illegally diverting product.  Also, considering the prohibitionist crowd’s biggest argument, that cannabis is a “gateway drug”, it is strange that there weren’t other more dangerous drugs discovered at any of the facilities.
The TEA party appears to only be concerned about the constitutional components that fit their agenda.  In my opinion, the TEA party movement is over.  Gone are the days of a leaderless group  influencing elected officials to spend less and reduce the size of our government.  Today we see a group of loud hypocrites eager to exploit the Constitution when they see fit.