Who is Better for America? Donald Trump or Steve DeAngelo?

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Redheaded Blackbelt/Celebitchy
Steve DeAngelo, left, and Donald Trump

By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
On Monday, July 9, this office filed civil forfeiture actions against 1840 Embarcadero, Oakland, California, and 2106 Ringwood Avenue, San Jose, where Harborside, a marijuana dispensary claiming over 108,000 customers, operates.

This office has used its limited resources to address those marijuana dispensaries that operate close to schools, parks and playgrounds. As I have said in the past, this is a non-exclusive list of factors relevant to whether we should commence civil forfeiture actions against marijuana properties, and circumstances may require us to address other situations.

I now find the need to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as Harborside. The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need. 

The filing of the civil forfeiture complaints against the two Harborside properties is part of our measured effort to address the proliferation of illegal marijuana businesses in the Northern District of California.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag in San Francisco
America loves Donald Trump. He’s has a big show, property all around the world, and for some, they wished he’d be our next commander-in-combover. Does America listen to what The Donald has to say because he’s sexy, smart, and for the world of ideas he brings to better us all. No. We listen to The Donald because he’s rich.
America loves a winner. And they love losers too. 
In the middle of staggering unemployment, we loved to hear the phrase, “You’re fired!” To see someone leave the boardroom angry and utterly humiliated on national TV keeps the Atlantic City hotels full and the Trump good name fresh in the hearts of many Americans.
Steve DeAngelo is big too. He’s big in the cannabis world. How big? He’s the kind of big that lands you on the Feds’ radar for being too just too damn big.  
Steve Angelo, like Donald Trump, had his own reality show. Some would say that wasn’t the first instance of Steve DeAngelo reaching for fame. That he’s been catering to the limelight since the early 2000’s when he arrived on the California cannabis scene. Prior to that, as an activist and entrepreneur, his resume was pretty solid. 

Donald Trump Sr., son of Fred, who came from Park Avenue money, by all accounts was a rebellious and immature kid who got away with what he did by having dad pay off his damages.
Steve’s father worked for the Kennedy Administration, instilling a liberal appreciation of life in Steve at a young age. Growing up in Washington, D.C., furthered Mr. DeAngelo’s passion for politics and impacting culture.

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Vaults of Erowid
Jack Herer

It was in the nation’s capitol that Mr. DeAngelo met Jack Herer, whose ground-breaking book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, he helped edit. When these two future icons of cannabis met, Mr. DeAngelo appeared to find his life’s work: to spread the message that marijuana and hemp can heal the world.  Steve DeAngelo did exactly what he set out to do. Impact the world and change society where he could. 
This brings us to today. I speak of the one-sided showdown that’s happening on July 23 in Oakland, California between the Feds and the forces coming out to protest President Obama’s visit and support DeAngelo’s Harborside dispensary in the process. I say one-sided because the Feds can do whatever they want. They can put your ass in a Black Ship. And that’s it. See ya. Talk to you later. Much later.
The Feds can be wrong, misinformed, shoot the wrong people, and defy the Constitution just because they can.  Over the past nine months, the Federal Government has systematically done the best they could to dismantle California’s fragile Medical Marijuana Program.
Two of the most glaring examples among many offensives are the closing of The Divinity Tree in San Francisco and the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana. Both offered exemplary care for patients and a transparent business model that was touted by their respective communities for efficiency and safety. Both dispensaries were guided by two stalwarts of the movement and now their lives are unsettled and ruined by the Feds trumped up charges of being too close to playgrounds. 
Both dispensaries were small in scope, administering to the patients in those particular areas, barely squeaking by in terms of revenue. These two dispensaries were polar opposites in size and statue when compared to Harborside Health Center. They were so small they could be shut down in an afternoon. 

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Harborside Health Center

Because of the enormity of the Feds assault almost a year ago, we’re stunned by the raids on legitimate businesses. Citing a location too close to a playground, in Marina alliance’s case, even though the park hasn’t had equipment or swings or children playing in for years, this is the excuse they use to shut down America’s first MM dispensary. It just doesn’t make sense.   
The phrase low-hanging fruit was used to make sense of the situation. The Feds didn’t have a playbook that provided guidelines for the industry, so the industry was left to figure it out for themselves. The rules that we’re given were ambiguous at best. And because we were scared, we accepted it.
Harborside Health Center is being closed because they are too big. For no other reason except that a behemoth of their size has to be doing something sinister. That’s it. They’re suspects because someone believes behind their closed doors there is hanky-panky going on. Call it an attorney general’s gut feeling. Or call it America’s War on herself.
Because Steve DeAngelo did the TV show, he lost many fans. Not based on his acting but some of the stoners felt he was getting too big for his braids. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Feds shared the same opinion. That Steve DeAngelo was getting a name for himself; he needed to be taken down. 
Melinda Haag might be the obvious culprit but the memo starts higher. 
Donald Trump has a team still working trying to find Obama’s birth certificate. He makes beauty contestants beg for forgiveness when they’re out of line. He’s destroying Scotland’s coast with construction and has the moral character of a pervert’s white-paneled, windowless van. But America loves him and never questions his motives. And he’s big. Not Bill Gates big, more like P.T. Barnum big. His dealings and tactics, not unlike his Wall Street cronies, go unnoticed by the Feds.

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Seattle P.I.
Lynette Shaw, Marin Alliance

Donald Trump doesn’t live under the microscopic scrutiny that a dispensary owner like DeAngelo or Lynette Shaw (Marin Alliance) has to. Donald Trump can make any obnoxious statement and it goes unchecked. A dispensary owner utters a simple sentence and it’s either pored over by skeptics or not heard at all, as in the case of the legitimate dispensaries that have closed in California since the Federal shakedown last year.   
On an unrelated note, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is a single engine plane that costs a lot of money, and by all accounts, doesn’t work so well. They cost a little north of 300 million. Each! They got problems. Pilots complain. We’ve dumped millions of hours and bucks into R and D s on these multirole fighters. We’re selling these planes to most of our allies so they’ll get stuck with them. John Boehner had a pretty good gig slipping another engine with each individual sale until the House Democrats caught him. Because the engines were made in the Man of Orange’s city, while he was cutting food stamps and social services programs; he was throwing a bone to his buddies. I’m sure just because he’s a good guy. 
I don’t know what Melinda Haag is thinking but potheads and patients aren’t her enemies. It is people who do injustices against the United States. What about the peop
le who are ripping us off on a daily level. Why is she looking for malfeasance in the backrooms of the nation’s largest pot shop? Is it because she’s wants to stop it before it gets too big, like our government? Too big for us the simple taxpayers to ask questions like why are you spending money digging for crime when it is there right in front of you? 

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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
I don’t know what U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag is thinking, but potheads and patients aren’t her enemies

Is it just because we’re not in the correct country club that excludes the pot smokers from the same rights shared by Donald Trump, Military Industrial complex and others? 
Why do we stand out? 
Melinda Haag, you’re following your master’s voice. You’re stomping on the little guy, going after the schools, the inner-city dispensaries that cater to Vets and patients who live in special care units that literally can’t walk or ride to obtain their medicine. You’ve stopped the banks from doing business with marijuana businesses. You’ve now given crime a location for acquiring quick cash. You rampage Oaksterdam University in a surprise attack, leaving the school in tatters. For the sin of educating a wanting public about cannabis, Melinda, you’ve denied the employees of the institution jobs, students a career, and ended the revamping of the neighborhood that Richard Lee had help revitalized.      
 
And that’s only what people can see. Up north in Mendocino and Humboldt, in the shadows of the Redwoods without media fanfare, who can say? Or am I being unfair guessing what you’re doing when I can’t see what you’re up to?
Steve DeAngelo has said some things in the past, on TV, and in the media, that alienated some of the local people. Harborside Health Center has had its detractors and notable grumblings from players badmouthing it on both sides of the Bay.  But Steve DeAngelo and Harborside shouldn’t be the issue for us at all. If he’s doing something wrong, find proof, and do what you do with the Mafia, bring him to trial. Or don’t.
Harborside seems to be synonymous with Steve DeAngelo. DeAngelo has a history of being a self-starter, making grand statements and looking for success. So the nation penalizes him for being successful while Donald Trump’s hairy antics go without comment. The idea of discussing the failures of the F-35’s never get off the ground or the banks that are too big to fail, that are constantly trying to find new ways to siphon money off us in the guise of hidden bank fees. 
These guys go unabated while California’s Medical Marijuana program is being undermined by the intense political pressure mounted by a government that disagrees with the will of the people. California Medical Marijuana Program, now twenty years old, is being dismantled by the people we supposedly pay to be looking out for us and our interests. 
Melinda, your guesses as to where you think there might be illegal activity hiding in the backrooms of California’s dispensaries is destroying the lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

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Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

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Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at jackrikess.com.

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.

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