Our View: Snuffing Out Pot Raids

Our View: Snuffing Out Pot Raids
Posted by CN Staff on March 22, 2009 at 15:47:55 PT
Source: Appeal-Democrat
USA -- Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement that the federal government will effectively end the Bush administration's policy of raiding medical marijuana distributors who are operating legally under state law is welcome and long-overdue news and in line with promises President Barack Obama made repeatedly along the campaign trail. Of course, this simple statement will require more detailed changes in procedure as it is implemented, and it should be followed by more thoroughgoing reform of federal laws applicable to marijuana.
Holder refined his position by saying, as The New York Times paraphrased him, that "the Justice Department's enforcement policy would now be restricted to traffickers who falsely masqueraded as medical dispensaries and 'use the medical marijuana laws as a shield.'" That could leave open a range of activities that appear to us more designed to undermine state law than to uphold federal law or protect innocent citizens.For example, Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien in Los Angeles, under whose auspices dozens of raids have been conducted, noted that only four operators and their associates had actually been charged in the past seven years, and claimed that "in every single case we have prosecuted, the defendants violated state as well as federal law." The relative rarity of actual prosecutions suggests that raids on dispensaries are designed more to intimidate people than to put criminals behind bars, and resembles domestic terrorism more than legitimate law enforcement.Assuming Holder is sincere and that rogue elements in the Drug Enforcement Administration do not conduct unwarranted raids, however, this is an important step. It should not be the last step.Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is listed on Schedule I, the most restrictive regimen, making any possession, production, transportation or use of the substance illegal. However, the law itself says that for a drug or substance to remain on Schedule I, it must have a high potential for abuse, have no accepted medical use and be incapable of being used safely under medical supervision. Marijuana does not meet any of these criteria. Therefore, under existing law it is arguably illegal to keep it on Schedule I.Over the years a number of citizen efforts to get marijuana "rescheduled" have been undertaken. On each occasion, including one when the DEA's chief administrative law judge issued an official ruling saying it would be "unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious" to keep marijuana on Schedule I, the DEA administrator has made a political decision to keep marijuana on Schedule I. The Obama administration has said that on medical matters it will be guided by science rather than political considerations. If that is so, it should immediately expedite one of the pending rescheduling applications and decide it based on science rather than hysteria.Note: Next: Get marijuana off list of hard drugs.Attorney General Holder has announced a constructive first step on medical marijuana. There is more to be done, however.Source: Appeal-Democrat (CA)Published: March 22, 2009Copyright: 2009 Freedom CommunicationsURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #10 posted by Mahakal on March 23, 2009 at 15:11:43 PT
It's good to hear from you Jerry, and I hope you've been well.Not sure what to tell about what's going on here, Berkeley is probably one of the best places I could be though. I've been doing a lot of yoga and meditation, and the whole spirit of this place is infused with the same, along with a lot of cannabis... If we're going to make a first amendment case we need to be on strong ground. I believe that this is the way we can ultimately force even the adverse states to respect our rights. And no reason to stop with this country, at that.אם שנתיmeans peace as well
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 23, 2009 at 10:41:56 PT
Charles Lynch
I just checked my e-mail and nothing yet on his sentencing. I hope it goes well for him.
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Comment #8 posted by runruff on March 23, 2009 at 10:36:31 PT
Rebel is in my blood!
Comment #1 posted by runruff on March 21, 2009 at 08:24:58 PT I like the irony! 
13 states rebelled against ol' King George!
13 states rebelled against Uncle Sam! 
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on March 23, 2009 at 05:30:03 PT
"The original 13 states."
It does sound and look good. I was thinking the same thing yesterday, GCW.Of course, twenty six, thirty nine, and fifty would sound and look good, too, only in a different way. 
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Comment #6 posted by The GCW on March 23, 2009 at 04:38:49 PT
It should not be the last step
It isn't a question of if - it's a question of when will cannabis be rescheduled. Rescheduling cannabis will also open the door to hemp farming, You would think.And that does have a nice sound: thirteen states.The original 13 states.-0-It's time to re-introduce hemp as a component of American agriculture.It will bring back the factories along with all the other good things that come with hemp and hemp farming.-0-Treat vampires like vampires and cannabis and hemp will return.
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on March 23, 2009 at 00:48:17 PT
I didn't know who you were until Hope told us. I felt a good feeling to know this. Glad to hear from you. Would like to no more about what is going on in your neck of the woods?eacepay- 'means peace in the land where pigs speak latin.
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Comment #4 posted by Mahakal on March 22, 2009 at 21:08:31 PT
Obama's quote: "Yeah, I would not punish doctors if its prescribed in a way that is appropriate; that may require some changes in federal law. I will tell you that, I want to be honest with you whether I want to use a whole lot of political capital on that issue when we’re trying to get health care passed or end the war in iraq is ... the likelihood of that being real high on my list is not likely."I personally think we're going to have to continue work at the state level for changes but I think rescheduling seems necessary in light of the inherent contradiction of recognizing state-authorized medical use with the definition of schedule 1 as having no medical use.I don't see it likely that the federal government is going to force medical marijuana on states that want to maintain harsh prohibition. That's unfortunate, but states have authority to schedule marijuana independently of the federal government, too.That we have thirteen states now is pretty symbolically important. This may become a new and better union, but I hope we can achieve it without more violence.
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Comment #3 posted by christ on March 22, 2009 at 20:39:51 PT
Obama's support for rescheduling
Back on the campaign trail in March 2008, Obama said (link below) that he though it was appropriate for, "doctors to prescribe medical marijuana." Since it would have to be rescheduled before prescribed, it sounds to me like Obama already supports rescheduling.Following media inquiries, Obama (via Holder) kept his promise to end raids on state-approved dispensaries. I wonder if there's anyone reading this who could ask Obama what he's going to do regarding his statement above.
Obama video quote
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 22, 2009 at 19:45:32 PT
That would be great. 
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Comment #1 posted by tintala on March 22, 2009 at 19:18:17 PT:
OK now that we have established no more raids how
how about legalize INDUSTRIAL HEMP FARMING for us farmers righ away!And make the world a better place without DUPONT.
needless to say the end to the raids had to come, because whats wrong is wrong, and whats right is right, whats right is cannabis redemption.
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