Marijuana and Cannabis News

U.S. Atty. Claims Obama Didn't Order Med Marijuana Crackdown
By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Dispensaries, Medical, News
Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm
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U.S. Department of Justice
Rogue U.S. Attorneys? We are being told California's four federal prosecutors: from left, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner (Eastern District), U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy (Southern District), U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag (Northern District) and U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte (Central District), went off on their own, unauthorized by the Obama Administration, and announced a federal crackdown on medical marijuana. If that's really true, the next we hear from these morons should be their resignations -- or their mugshots.
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​After California's four U.S. Attorneys announced a medical marijuana crackdown in that state, a howl of protest went up from patients and advocates. After all, the Obama Administration had said that going after patients and providers who were following state law would "not be a priority." Now, a spokeswoman for one of the four federal prosecutors involved claims that Obama didn't order the crackdown, and in fact wasn't involved at all.

Is it just me, or does that "revelation" lead to mental images of a headless beast thrashing about, dangerously and inexcusably out of the control of any leader who can be held to account? Is anybody in charge here?

Are we really to believe that four rogue U.S. Attorneys have actually staged a medical marijuana coup of sorts in California, forging off on their own and writing a new federal policy 180 degrees opposed to the President's previous position?

If that's so, then the next we hear from these four ass-clowns should be their resignations -- or their mugshots.

In any event, the outpouring of rage and dismay from the medical marijuana community must be  making an impact for this sort of ridiculous announcement to be seen as necessary.

Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner in California's Eastern District, claimed on Wednesday that the Obama Administration never even green-lighted the highly touted crackdown, reports Lucia Graves at the Huffington Post.

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Ron Mullins/SacPatients
A protest sign at the Sacramento Federal Building asks, "Will he honor what he said about medical marijuana in his election campaign?"
​The only D.C.-based official with whom the four California U.S. Attorneys communicated, Horwood claimed, was Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who was chosen by Obama appointee Attorney General Eric Holder.

"He's the one who provided the quote for our press release, and he's chosen by Eric Holder," Horwood told HuffPost. "But we didn't have direct talks with Eric Holder -- not that we wouldn't, he's been out and visited -- but just the way the Department of Justice works, he's not that hands-on on these kinds of details."

An earlier article by Ray Stern at Toke's sister Village Voice Media publication, Phoenix New Times, had reported that Horwood acknowledged California's U.S. Attorneys got "Obama's blessing" for the crackdown. But Horwood distanced herself from that language on Wednesday.

"What I said, or at least meant to say, was that the U.S. Attorneys in California saw the need for coordinated enforcement actions and spoke with folks in main Justice in D.C. (not the Obama Administration)," she told the HuffPost in an email.

Horwood further claimed that Cole wasn't present at any of the California press conferences on the crackdown not because Cole was distancing himself from the action, but because "California is a long way to travel." 

Have you ever before seen a federal official describe California as too far away to visit? That's gotta be a new one.

During the 2008 campaign, Obama promised to keep a hands-off approach toward medical marijuana patients and providers who were obeying their state laws, with Atty. Gen. Holder publicly claiming federal prosecutors would not initiate enforcement actions, seeing it as an inefficient use of government resources.

But none of that stopped the federal prosecutors from launching an attack on dispensary owners in California this month, vowing to shut down state-licensed dispensaries which are regulated and taxed by local governments. They also threatened landlords who were renting real estate to the shops with property seizures.

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Paul Chinn
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Franscisco): "Somebody's going to have to fall on their sword about this ... I mean, this really was a mistake"
​California State Senator Mark Leno and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, both San Francisco Democrats, have requested meetings with the DOJ and the Internal Revenue Service to discuss the reasons behind the crackdown.

But those requests have gone unanswered. "They're talking amongst themselves, and really causing tremendous, unnecessary chilling effects," Ammiano said of the U.S. Attorneys.

When asked to respond to the claim that the Obama Administration wasn't to blame for the crackdown, Ammiano got indignant.

"Somebody's going to have to fall on their sword about this," he said. "This is becoming more of a mainstream issue. I mean, this really was a mistake."

"This one really cracked me up," remarked Pete Guither at Drug WarRant. "Anybody who has ever worked within an organization with a charismatic leader knows that if that is actually true, there are very few possibilities now that the U.S. Attorneys have made that statement.

1. Barack Obama does, in fact, agree with the decision and can be blamed.
2. Barack Obama does not, in fact, agree with the decision and the U.S. Attorneys either must stop what they're doing, or they must stop what they're doing while turning in their resignations.

So... which is it?

I mean, do they really think that they can somehow get Obama off the hook with the liberals who support medical marijuana with something that lame?

Scott Morgan at StoptheDrugWar.org characterized the move as "trying to shield the President from the political fallout."

"This is amazing," Morgan said. "Literally, we are being told by presidentially appointed officials not to blame the president when they do things we find disgusting. I don't recall ever being handed a ballot with the name Lauren Horwood on it, and the same goes for James Cole, Eric Holder and every other federal prosecutor presently presiding over this massive new war on medical marijuana patients and providers.

"When the president's own appointees defy his campaign promises and dishonor the values of the American public, the president himself is so obviously, thoroughly, and undeniably at fault that it seems silly to argue the point further," Morgan said.




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