Presidents Battle

The fight over medical marijuana is a battle with several fronts. Many states and local governments have chosen to legalize the drug’s use to help alleviate pain associated with disease, and as treatment for cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, and other conditions. The federal government, however, has classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, in the same category as heroin, methamphetamine, LSD, Ecstacy, and Methaqualone (Quaaludes)—drugs having no medical value—and, as a result, do not recognize local authority to legalize pot use and sale.

To say the local governments and the feds have butt heads over the issue would be putting it mildly. Instead, the two are basically at war, with local officials giving their stamp of approval on medical marijuana stores, only to find the feds (the three-letter law enforcement agencies) kicking in the doors of those very same businesses.

Well, those three-letter agencies, backed by the U.S. Attorney General, have armed themselves with a very subtle “bomb.” Now, in addition to “door-kicking” raids, the feds are targeting the landlords who own the buildings where medical marijuana businesses are housed.

Federal law enforcement officials are putting the squeeze on those property owners to evict their pot-selling tenants or face losing their real estate through a civil asset-forfeiture program. As recently as this month (June, 2012) federal prosecutors have filed to seize three such buildings in Santa Fe Springs, California. Which three businesses is not clear since the selection there is many. For example, a quick online search turned up these medical marijuana dispensaries in the Santa Fe Springs area.

420 Go Green Dispensary

• 12145 Slauson Ave # B

Santa Fe Springs

(562) 696-6500

AP Natural Solutions

9841 Alburtis Avenue

Santa Fe Springs

(562) 991-9393

Tri-City Patients Association

13844 Rosecrans Avenue

Santa Fe Springs

(562) 921-8300

Deeply Rooted

8807 Pioneer Boulevard

Santa Fe Springs

(562) 699-6800

Humboldt Wholesale

12513 Shoemaker Avenue

Santa Fe Springs

(562) 946-7744

Santa Fe Compasionate Health Center

13128 Telegraph Road

Santa Fe Springs

(562) 941-1111

California Alternative Healing Center

10802 Norwalk Boulevard

Santa Fe Springs

(562) 237-7638

Whittier Hop Collective

8116 Byron Road

Whittier

(562) 945-2420

Federal prosecutors have also sent out hundreds of letters to other property owners giving them the option of booting their tenants or face losing their property in civil proceedings (civil-forfeiture statute allows the government to seize any property used to commit or facilitate drug trafficking).

This method of enforcing federal law (mailing property-seizure notices) is far less expensive than sending a raid team over to each location to kick in their doors, bag and tag all evidence, haul it away, store it, and then have officers and agents, prosecutors, judges, jurors, clerks, bailiffs, and defendants in court for weeks at a time. So far, over 200 landlords have complied with the notices by evicting their pot-selling tenants.

Another tactic used by the feds is to scare banks into not doing business with medical marijuana outfits. By threatening those institutions with civil actions, many marijuana companies have been forced to operate on a “cash-only” basis, much like street dealers.

And all this comes just a few short years after presidential candidate Obama promised he would respect state laws regarding medical marijuana. Well, not only is he targeting medical marijuana dispensaries and the people who own the property, his administration has:

– denied a petition to re-classify/reschedule marijuana despite evidence that the drug does indeed have medical value.
– issued a statement that says medical marijuana patients may not purchase firearms.
– the IRS is going after pot providers based on obscure drug trafficking laws.
– prosecutors have threatened to arrest state employees for enforcing state laws regarding medical marijuana.
– threatened to target newspapers that run ads for medical marijuana businesses.

I’m not saying that I’m for or against the legalization of marijuana. What I am asking, is…why not? Why the big push against something that over half the citizens in this country want to see legalized, especially for medical use when it can help a dying cancer patient live pain free during his last days on this earth.

What are your thoughts? Legalize pot use, or not?

*DEA photos. Information source – HuffPo/Scott Morgan – Obama Must Explain His Broken Promise on Medical Marijuana, and Soon…and, of course, my brain and experience, for what that’s worth.

  1. Thomas Pluck
    Thomas Pluck says:

    Legalize it. Tax it. End of discussion. Liquor companies are against it, because they don’t want the competition. We won’t see any action until after the election (if we see any at all) but this is a complete waste of DEA resources. Tax the marijuana smokers and use that to pay for hard drug rehab centers.

  2. sz
    sz says:

    I am on the team of legal and tax it like tobacco or alcohol. I can not see how this would increase a police departments work load.

    Study Amsterdam, they have done this successfully. They are called coffee shops.

    The doctor “prescriptions” are good for cancer and such, however here in San Francisco anyone can get one and you know they are half bogus.

  3. Pat Brown
    Pat Brown says:

    The war on drugs and the billions of dollars spent each year on fighting contraband is non-winnable. When will the governments on all levels realize this? Didn’t we learn anything from Prohibition? Whether or not a drug is worse than alcohol and cigarettes (which would be hard to believe) is irrelevant. Filling jails up with drug users has proved ruinous. How many prisoners has California been forced to release because their jails are all overcrowded? A lot of jails in other states are even worse, like those states that treat possession of even a small amount of marijuana as bad as being a gun toting dealer.

    The entire drug war is bankrupting the country. As far as I’m concerned the government has no more right to be in my medicine cabinet as it has in my bedroom. The only one winning this war are the cartels who are delighted when governments keep pushing archaic laws.

    Mark Twain said it best:

    “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is prohibition that makes anything precious.”

  4. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    GunDiva – What about the doctors who prescribe Marinol, which basically has the same effect on patients as marijuana? Well, with the exception that Marinol takes approximately two hours before pain relief is felt, as opposed to the near instant pain relief experienced when smoking marijuana. Both patients experience a high.

  5. GunDiva
    GunDiva says:

    I was wondering how long it would take the Feds to decide that enough was enough and start clamping down on the whole “Schedule I” thing.

    Here’s the thing: THC for nausea has been available commercially (with a prescription) under the brand name Marinol since 1986. I don’t see the need to smoke marijuana if we’ve had THC on the market, being prescribed for legitimate illnesses. I really don’t care about if it’s legal or not, what frosts my ass is that so many “sham” docs were writing for it and the “patients” would openly tell you that they had bulls*** complaints.

  6. Ashley McConnell
    Ashley McConnell says:

    I wonder why legalizing something would increase a department’s workload?

    Marijuana is one of those knee-jerk subjects about which people lose all ability to think rationally. They point to it as a “gateway drug” when a far more prevalent drug, alcohol, is perfectly legal and far more lethal. I am profoundly disappointed in Obama’s change in position (on this as well as other subjects); unfortunately the other candidate wouldn’t be any better and would probably be worse.

  7. Coco
    Coco says:

    When a person is in pain, is it better for the MD to prescribe highly addictive painkillers or medically necessary marijuana? I think the latter is the lesser of two evils.

  8. Jodie
    Jodie says:

    I live in Colorado where it is legal. I, too, thought it was no big deal. Then I attended my local Citizens Police Academy. According to the cops who talked to us (including the drug task force), legalizing marijuana has tripled their workload. They are completely against it. While I wasn’t surprised that legalizing marijuana increased the police’s workload, I was surprised it increased it that much.

  9. Fran Stewart
    Fran Stewart says:

    What’s that saying about stupidity — doing the same thing as you’ve always done and hoping to get a different result? I’ve never smoked marijuana, but I truly would like the feds to back off, simply because they’re wasting an awful lot of my tax money on anti-drug programs that haven’t ever worked. If a loved one of mine had horrible pain and nausea from chemotherapy, I’d be willing to break the law if I had to, to get something that would help.

  10. Lynn
    Lynn says:

    If it is legal — you can tax it. So the government has a revenue. If it is illegal — then you need to hire officers to enforce the law.

  11. Terry Odell
    Terry Odell says:

    When we moved from Florida to Colorado, we were shocked to see all the ads for marijuana in the local independent papers (what my Mom called throwaways, but I don’t know the technical term). And dispensaries with signs saying, “new crop, buy 2 joints get one free”. However … when the county sheriff came to our homeowners association meeting and someone asked what concerns we should have about meth labs, he said, “Virtually none since they’ve legalized marijuana.” So there might be an upside. I’m a product of the 60’s. I’m not taking sides. I did do a little research, and used legal marijuana as a plot thread in my recent book, Deadly Secrets.

    Terry
    Terry’s Place