DOJ, DEA & ATF: Confused Bureaucracies Or Street Thieves?


Opposing Views
Did the Feds think of the impact that their letters and raids have had on the patients who depend on places like the Berkeley Patients Group?

By Bob Starrett
He looked a bit suspicious, standing in front of the Blockbuster kiosk at the 7-11 talking on his cell phone. He wasn’t renting a movie so I asked him to move to the side. As I was perusing the latest releases, he walked into the store.
Just seconds later he was out and gone. As he streaked past me, I could hear the jingling of coins in a jar but by the time I realized what was happening he was too far gone for me to do anything about it.
An approaching woman told me that there was a car idling in the alley, apparently the getaway car. It was over so quickly. It was only then that I realized that all I would have had to do was lift up my right leg as he was accelerating by me and he would have done a faceplant onto the concrete.
A common thief. A street thief. Steal anything from anyone, without regret, without thought of consequence. He probably did not pick a particular charity jar to take. He likely took whatever was closest to the door. And then he was gone, just like that. No thought to the charity, no thought at all.

Book Patrol

​Who did the loss of that jar impact? Who didn’t get the help that was promised? Did the people who donated, who put their money in that jar, who cooperatively banded together, unknown to each other but with a purpose in mind think of the effect that their donations would have on the beneficiaries of the charity they were donating to? Of course they did.
The continuing federal crackdown on dispensaries and co-ops that picked up steam last October has claimed another victim, the Berkeley Patients Group. After 12 years serving patients in the Bay area, it will close on May 1. And the U.S. attorneys for California and Colorado have promised that it is not over.
Here is a recent nugget of knowledge and enlightenment from U.S. Attorney Melissa Haag of the Northern District of California: “Marijuana dispensaries are full of cash and they’re full of marijuana, and everybody knows that. They are at risk of being robbed, and many of them are robbed.”
Well, everybody is at risk of being robbed, even charities who collect for sick children. And maybe banks and pharmacies and liquor stores.
Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh recently stated that his office would continue to enforce federal law in a “measured and just manner so as to protect the people of Colorado.” Never mind that the “people” of Colorado in a constitutional amendment and by statute and rule, through their representatives, have set out the current highly regulated medical marijuana program that exists in the state today. You can see what he is hinting at in this map from Westword.

The Denver Post
Special Agent Barbra Roach, DEA: “By federal law, marijuana is illegal. There is no medical proof it has any benefit.”

​And the new DEA chief for Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming, Barbra Roach, has announced that (apparently to her knowledge) there is no medical proof that marijuana has any medical benefit. She’s thinking the DEA website’s little research special on medical marijuana, “Medical” Marijuana – The Facts” which helpfully opens “Medical marijuana already exists. It’s called Marinol.”
She also stated that she was looking to relocate in Colorado to a city that has banned dispensaries, presumably for the safety of her children. She might do well to broaden her horizons and realize that where there are no dispensaries, the dealers are quick to take advantage. And those little wrapped packages they sell are not Cheeba Chews.
And don’t forget that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has said that medical marijuana users have lost their second amendment rights. That, too, is questionable.
Did the Feds think of the impact that their letters and raids have had on the patients who depend on places like the Berkeley Patients Group? No more than the street thief thought of the children who will never see the benefit of that money.
When the Feds swoop in to close a dispensary or a co-op, be it by letter or by raid, they don’t ask any questions. They just take and are gone, the impact of a raid on patients is never given a second thought. Too close to a school for the Feds.

​No asking how many patients the dispensary serves, how they are received in the community, what charitable work they do, how long they have been at the location. How many jobs are associated with it. They just take. Like the street thief.
While we do not get to elect United States Attorneys or DEA officials or the Attorney General, or those who work at the BATFE, this fall we will be voting for state and local officials and U.S. Senators and Congressman. Oh, and a President.
Ask your representatives at every level not only about their views of medical marijuana but what they think of these types of statements and the level of misunderstanding they seem to indicate.
With elections coming in November we will have the opportunity to reward those politicians who have stood up to the Feds and these mindless policies and to punish those who are enablers, those who stand by and say nothing and do nothing and especially those who are actively spouting nonsense in support of these policies.
So be vigilant as those candidates who are standing in the way of the will of the people race for the finish line in November, examine their positions closely. If some come sprinting past you, down the victory stretch headed for the getaway car that is election, lift up your leg and let them take a faceplant onto concrete.
Give them the respect they deserve. The same respect that we give the street thief.
DEA Marijuana Fact Sheet
Westword Doomsday Map
Editor’s note: Bob Starrett, with 22 years of experience with Optical Disc and Drive technology, is co-author of six books on CD and CD-ROM technology, and his published magazine work includes more than 250 articles, reviews and columns on CD-ROM, CD Recordable, D
VD-ROM and DVD Recordable technology for publications including 
PC Magazine, EMedia Magazine, CD-ROM Professional, Digital Video Magazine, Digital Content Creator, One To One, Online, Tape-Disc Business and others. He holds a J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law.