In less than five years, Barack Obama has spent nearly $290 million to arrest and prosecute medical marijuana caregivers, patients and dispensary owners. It's a huge number, but interestingly only makes up about four percent of the overall Drug Enforcement Administration Budget.
According to Americans for Safe Access, which compiled the report using DEA and other federal statistics, says federal intervention flies in the face of state-legal cannabis patients, which number more than 1 million people nationally.
"This war is being waged on sick and injured citizens, not drug dealers and profiteers. The report profiles some of the individuals and organizations that are being caught in this crosshairs of this war," the report says.
Other interesting points:
- Around 34 percent of the population lives in medical marijuana states.
- Support for marijuana laws nationwide has hovered in the 70 percent range for nearly 20 years.
- In the last 17 years, there have been more than 528 raids. The majority (270) happened under the Obama administration.
The figures fly in the face of early promises to leave medical marijuana patients and caregivers as a low-priority for federal intervention. Many point out that Obama has shut down and raided more medical marijuana dispensary operations than any president before him and has already overspent President George W. Bush's eight-year administration by $100 million.
But as Toke of the Town columnist Box Johnson pointed out: Obama has also allowed more medical marijuana dispensaries to open than all presidents before him combined.
We're not trying to make apologies for the guy - who clearly has no problems being a two-faced hypocrite about it, but could it also imply that those shops that are not being shut down are okay with federal authorities? After all, they'll make more money from taxing the shit out of these places (dispensary owners can't make federal tax deductions) than they would out of fining and jailing the owners and operators.
That's probably little consolation to the shops that have been shut down, especially when they were following their state's laws. Such was the case in Colorado where dispensaries were allowed to remain within 1,000 feet of schools when state laws were passed - but federal agents nevertheless shut down nearly seventy in that state alone for that single violation.