Family time

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pot Follies

I wouldn't trust Paul Ryan, voted biggest brown noser by his high school graduating class, as far as I could throw him, but love yesterday's gambit on marijuana reform.

Ryan said that he would respect state's rights on medical marijuana, that they have the right to legalize. Now in a sense this is meaningless as his boss and running mate Mitt Romney has been unequivocal in his condemnation of the evil herb. It doesn't really matter what Paul Ryan thinks because he is speaking here for Paul Ryan.

But it adds a certain amount of ironic twist to the topic, both for its political ramifications and considering Obama said the same thing four years ago and was clearly not being truthful. Who would have thought that young Paul Ryan would be out ahead of President Barack Obama on this subject?

But you see, if Romney is to have a chance in the upcoming election, he needs traction in the states of Colorado and California, two states that have borne the brunt of the Obama Administration's War on Weed. With large numbers of marijuana users in both states, unhappy with draconian prosecution and federal disregard for state propositions, a stance like this could siphon enough stoner votes away to make it a horserace. Even if Ryan doesn't really believe it and is merely maneuvering for votes.  Hoist the president on his own words and petard. He deserves it.

The Mother Earth Healing Collective in San Diego is no more. Mother Earth was the last collective standing, had done everything by the letter and in full compliance with the local authorities. The investors had reportedly poured more than $700,000 into the venture. Feds shut it down last week. The business managed to stave off closure seven weeks ago by filing for bankruptcy protection pending an appeal, but that legal stay ended last Monday. There are now no licensed medical marijuana facilities in the county. That's leaves an estimated 70,000 patients without a regulated supplier.

United States Attorney Laura Duffy has been on a jihad against pot collectives for over a year. She had sent letters to landlords of collectives, threatening to seize their property if they didn't get rid of the dispensaries. She said that through the prism of federal law, there is no such thing as medical marijuana.
Hard to square that with what Obama said in 2008 but that's politics, I guess.

Mother Earth was the only medical marijuana dispensary licensed under San Diego County's restrictive policy. I know, I was once a member.

Duffy said in a statement: "It is not a defense to either criminal liability or to the forfeiture of property that the dispensary is providing 'medical marijuana.' The United States Attorney's Office supports eviction of the commercial marijuana businesses, like Mother Earth, that operate outside of federal law."

Mother Earth appealed to Congressman Bob Filner, but to no avail. Filner (D-Calif.) recently sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the state’s Southern District, calling some crackdowns “unwarranted intimidation.”

“The Co-op operates under a strict county ordinance that mandates that the facility is inspected monthly by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and according to these inspection reports, all parties have followed the letter of law,” Filner wrote to Duffy.

Duffy has shut over 200 clubs in San Diego, preferring that we recriminalize rather than obeying the referendum of the California voter, who legally passed Prop. 215 in 1996. Let's give the money to mexican drug lords instead and force the elderly and infirm who are using marijuana for safe pain relief to go without or perhaps get hooked on dangerous and powerful narcotics.

Mother Earth was careful and tried to do everything right. But no matter. Now there is not a single legal dispensary in San Diego, Riverside or Imperial counties.

“We are a small club that deals directly with severely ill people and we are very picky about who we deal with,” the owner, Bob Reidel, said. “The federal government, the most powerful entity in the world, goes after these little landlords instead of dealing with the municipalities and the states that are creating laws that put people in jail under false pretense.”

In a move that smacks of Stalin and the gulag, Duffy even tried to prosecute newspapers for running ads and stories about medical marijuana until she was hit by a first amendment lawsuit threat by the ACLU. She threatened local city officials in Del Mar with jail time for administering lawful medical cannabis regulations.

In an interview with the New York Times, Duffy said that "...Most often the individuals who are visiting these places have obtained sham doctor recommendations for really no purpose other than to engage in the recreational use of marijuana. To the extent that blatant distribution of marijuana is not available in commercial businesses throughout California, certainly in this district, I think that’s a good thing.”

So now we have the feds, as judge and jury, instantly negating California law with the supposition that all doctor's recommendations are shams and all clubs are shams. As a person with a history of multiple cancers, heart problems and major surgeries with a city and state card, I know that that is not the case. I know many other patients, of all age brackets, who have obtained relief through marijuana, especially those undergoing chemotherapy. What are these folks supposed to do now?

I don't blame Laura Duffy, a typical federal jackboot doing her job. I blame the President for dissembling and not reigning in his troops and also his Justice Department for not respecting the will of the voters in my state.

Senate Bill 420 -
    "demonstrates that more information is needed to assess the number of individuals across the state who are suffering from serious medical conditions that are not being adequately alleviated through the use of conventional medications"
    "require[s] the State Department of Health Services to establish and maintain a voluntary program for the issuance of identification cards to qualified patients and would establish procedures under which a qualified patient with an identification card may use marijuana for medical purposes"
    "creates various crimes related to the identification card program"
    "authorize[s] the Attorney General to set forth and clarify details concerning possession and cultivation limits, and other regulations, as specified"
    "authorize[s] the Attorney General to recommend modifications to the possession or cultivation limits set forth in the bill" and "require[s] the Attorney General to develop and adopt guidelines to ensure the security and nondiversion of marijuana grown for medical use"
In enacting the bill it was the intent of the legislature to:
    "clarify the scope of the application of the act and facilitate the prompt identification of qualified patients and their designated primary caregivers in order to avoid unnecessary arrest and prosecution of these individuals and provide needed guidance to law enforcement officers"
    "promote uniform and consistent application of the act among the counties within the state"
    "enhance the access of patients and caregivers to medical marijuana through collective, cooperative cultivation projects"
    "address additional issues that were not included within the act, and that must be resolved in order to promote the fair and orderly implementation of the act"
    Recognizes the right of patients and caregivers to associate collectively or cooperatively to cultivate medical marijuana.
    Disallows marijuana smoking in no smoking zones, within 1,000 feet (300 m) of a school or youth center (except in private residences), on school buses, in a motor vehicle that is being operated, or while operating a boat.
    Protects patients and caregivers from arrest for transportation and other miscellaneous charges not covered in 215.
    Allows probationers, parolees, and prisoners to apply for permission to use medical marijuana; however, such permission may be refused at the discretion of the authorities.
    Makes it a crime to fraudulently provide misinformation to obtain a card, to steal or misuse the card of another, to counterfeit a card, or to breach the confidentiality of patient records in the card program.
Proposition 215 added Section 11362.5 to the California Health and Safety Code, which:
    Exempts patients and defined caregivers who possess or cultivate marijuana recommended by a physician from criminal laws which otherwise prohibit possession or cultivation of marijuana.
    Provides physicians who recommend use of marijuana for medical treatment shall not be punished or denied any right or privilege.
    Declares that the measure is not to be construed to supersede prohibitions of conduct endangering others or to condone diversion of marijuana.
I think that with the actions and betrayal of Obama, we have missed a golden opportunity to implement some common sense marijuana reform in this country. But the one time stoner decided that with Malia and sister Sasha coming of age, it would be a better time to turn into his parents and throw the rest of us to the wolves. Certainly won't get any better with Mitt Romney at the helm.


Anonymous said...

Now who would be surprised that legalization is opposed by Ex-DEA honchos........



Anonymous said...

"Tom Constantine, who was in charge of the DEA from 1994 to 1999 and also signed the letter, said the former administrators hoped it would send a message to voters and alter the public debate.

He said the letter had been sent so "voters would know in all fairness that no matter what they vote on in Colorado or wherever it is, that federal law still prevails.""

Anonymous said...

I call the "federal jackboots" the "federal thuggocrats" as distinguished from the state thuggocrats and local thuggocrats. You're sounding more libertarian every day. BLR - Rich

Anonymous said...

Arizona Governor Brewsters the Beer Drinking Clown wants the Obama to enforce Federal Marijuana laws but opposes Federal Govt. to enforce Arizona borders.

Wonder if Romney will enforce polygamy laws?