Federal Government Announces Escalation Of Its War On Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 7, 2011

    “This is not an idle threat. … What we’re trying to do is send a message as broadly as possible. … We are serious about enforcing federal law. … We are not just talking about it, but we are doing something about it. … Prosecuting marijuana cases is a higher priority now.”
    –statements of the US Attorneys for the four federal districts in California

    We’ve seen this coming for some time, but today the gloves officially came off. No more memos filled with false promises; no more phony pledges to respect states rights, no more giggles. Like a caged animal backed into a corner, the federal government is snarling and spitting back. It has no other way to defend its morally bankrupt policy except through a show of strength and intimidation.

    California’s Top Federal Law Enforcement Officials Announce Enforcement Actions Against State’s Widespread and Illegal Marijuana Industry

    via the US Department of Justice, Eastern District of California

    SACRAMENTO, Calif.: October 7, 2011 – The four California-based United States Attorneys today announced coordinated enforcement actions targeting the illegal operations of the commercial marijuana industry in California.

    The statewide enforcement effort is aimed at curtailing the large, for-profit marijuana industry that has developed since the passage of California’s Proposition 215 in 1996.

    … While the four United States Attorneys have tailored enforcement actions to the specific problems in their own districts, the statewide enforcement efforts fall into three main categories:

    · Civil forfeiture lawsuits against properties involved in drug trafficking activity, which includes, in some cases, marijuana sales in violation of local ordinances;

    · Letters of warning to the owners and lienholders of properties where illegal marijuana sales are taking place; and

    · Criminal cases targeting commercial marijuana activities, including arrests over the past two weeks in cases filed in federal courts in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento and Fresno.

    The enforcement actions being announced today are the result of the four United States Attorneys working with federal law enforcement partners and local officials across California to combat commercial marijuana activities that are having the most significant impacts in communities.

    “The actions taken today in California by our U.S. Attorneys and their law enforcement partners are consistent with the Department’s commitment to enforcing existing federal laws, including the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), in all states,” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

    … Laura E. Duffy, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, commented: “The California marijuana industry is not about providing medicine to the sick. It’s a pervasive for-profit industry that violates federal law. In addition to damaging our environment, this industry is creating significant negative consequences, in California and throughout the nation. As the number one marijuana producing state in the country, California is exporting not just marijuana but all the serious repercussions that come with it, including significant public safety issues and perhaps irreparable harm to our youth.”

    Melinda Haag, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, said: “Marijuana stores operating in proximity to schools, parks, and other areas where children are present send the wrong message to those in our society who are the most impressionable. In addition, the huge profits generated by these stores, and the value of their inventory, present a danger that the stores will become a magnet for crime, which jeopardizes the safety of nearby children. Although our initial efforts in the Northern District focus on only certain marijuana stores, we will almost certainly be taking action against others. None are immune from action by the federal government.

    Dozens of letters have been sent over the past few days to the owners and lienholders of properties where commercial marijuana stores and grows are located. In the Southern and Eastern Districts, the owners of buildings where marijuana stores operate have received letters warning that they risk losing their property and money derived from renting the space used for marijuana sales. In the Central District, … prosecutors have sent letters to property owners in selected cities where officials have requested federal assistance, and they plan to continue their enforcement actions in other cities as well. In the Northern District, owners and lienholders of marijuana stores operating near schools and other locations where children congregate have been warned that their operations are subject to enhanced penalties and that real property involved in the operations is subject to seizure and forfeiture to the United States.

    … The statewide coordinated enforcement actions were announced this morning at a press conference in Sacramento.

    It has been apparent for some time now that the Obama Administration is escalating its efforts to both crack down on existing above ground, medical cannabis operations in states like California, as well as to thwart the establishments of similar operations in additional states.

    So why these stepped up efforts now? The answer ought to be self-evident. The intention of these and other recent, well-publicized threats by the Obama administration is to stifle the development of a viable legal cannabis distribution industry, even in states that have enacted legislation to allow for such an industry.

    During today’s conference, all four US Attorneys affirmed that their intent is not to target individual, state-compliant medical cannabis consumers per se, but to emphasize that the Department of Justice is opposed to the regulated commerce of medical cannabis. That’s because once this industry has legitimized itself to the public and local lawmakers in California, Colorado, and elsewhere, then voters will become accustomed to safe, secure, well-run businesses that deliver consistent, reliable, tested cannabis products. They’ll appreciate the way well-regulated medical dispensaries revitalize sagging economies, provide jobs, and contribute taxes to budget-starved localities. They’ll realize all the years of scaremongering by the government about what would happen if marijuana were legal, even for sick people, was nothing but hysterical propaganda. And the voting public will eventually ask: ‘Why we don’t just legalize cannabis for everyone in a similarly responsible manner?’

    And that is a question this administration has consistently indicated that the President is unable or unwilling to answer.

    237 responses to “Federal Government Announces Escalation Of Its War On Cannabis”

    1. Ray DiPasquale says:

      Fact: The Great Seal
      The dexter talon holds not an olive branch, as is traditionally stated, but a cluster of cannabis leaves with buds visible.The marijuana symbolism on the great seal is confirmed by the use of the colors red and white in colored versions, and on the flag of the United States. Red and white were first used as official colors by the followers of Hassan i Sabbah founder of the Hashishim or The Assassins. By 1094 these elite troops, wearing the white tunics and red sashes characteristic of their sect, had made Hasan the most powerful warlord in the area now called the Middle East. They imported hemp from India and extracted a narcotic which is today named, hash for their sect. They used hash to reach “illumination.” More will be said about “illumination” when the reverse of the Great Seal is discussed. The thirteen horizontal red and white stripes have been associated with the drug trade, at least since they were used by the British East India Company on their ships carrying narcotics. The number thirteen is also the traditional code for marijuana. The code for marijuana is shown in the shield placed upon the eagle’s chest. The shield bears the thirteen stripes of the British East India Companies flag (later the flag of the United States) turned vertically.

    2. Anon says:

      This is what’s going on . I found this guy to be quite intelligent so i am asking NORML and thanking them for allowing me to provide this link so you can see what’s going on on America . Both Muslim & Christian alike agree the time is coming fast .Be ready .

    3. Joseph Tolman says:

      Thanks for keeping us up to date on the news, now how about doing what NORML was supposed to have been doing since it’s inception, PUT SOME OF OUR DONATIONS TO USE GETTING THE MARIJUANA LAWS REFORMED!!!! When we complain about the drug war lasting decades it doesn’t say much about organizations that have been fighting just as long trying to end it.

    4. jayman says:

      Finally, the Obama administration has dropped the last shred of their facade. They have been having it both ways for a while, cracking down on medical marijuana while giving people the impression that they were in favor of science-based social policy. The DEA has ramped up the reefer madness propaganda with their latest position paper on marijuana issued in January, 2011. Now the administration is acting on the lies they are spreading. It sickens me a little to think I bought the bullshit that Obama was selling as a candidate. I even sent money to help elect him. He is either a staunch prohibitionist or a weak suck who can’t stand up to the law enforcement complex that needs the war on cannabis in order to survive at their current budgetary level. Either way, it’s sad. He’s like a sad clown to me now as he demands action on his jobs plan. The only thing sadder is that we will have Romney as the next president most likely. Of course, cannabis use will always be with us whether it’s legal or underground. Surely the prohibitionists know this. Surely they are in this for the money that continues to flow from our pockets into theirs. And so it goes.

    5. Brandon says:

      That bitch Melinda Haag said California pot stores are “a magnet for crime”. DIDN’T THE FUCKING RAND GROUP JUST DEBUNK THIS INHERRENTLY FLAWED QUOTE? In fact it’s the opposite. Go ahead bitch, make the crime increase. You’re KILLING YOUR OWN CHILDREN. Pot has never KILLED ANYONE. So who gives a fuck how much they’re influenced…which they’re not…because POT WILL NEVER KILL A HUMAN BEING THROUGH OVERDOSE. FUCKKKKKKKKK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU assholes! You will burn in HELL.

    6. Sixstring says:

      Does Obama think this is going to help his re-election?

    7. Salty says:

      This is all fine and dandy. The government can try all they want, but they will NEVER stamp out Cannabis. It will not happen. Just keep on smoking, grow your own and give the finger to those who oppose. I’m not going to play into their fear anymore, I have the right to do what I want with my body. People in Cali should pick a day to smoke publicly in defiance of these fear mongering morons in power. Better yet, after they close you down…start selling at farmers markets and on the side of the road..that’ll really piss em off.

    8. Slee says:

      What I dont understand is why it’s so important that dispensaries be non-profit. Are Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline non-profit? Are RITE-AID and Walgreens non-profit?

    9. TheOracle says:

      Haag is een kreng!

      #1 The Feds are wrong, and should be moving toward regulation instead.

      #2 They don’t have enough prison space.

      #3 If they think they’ll first tackle the for-profit dispensaries, then go after the non-profit ones, they’re just going to be playing WhackaMole.

      #4 They just love wasting taxpayer money and resources, all the while fucking with people and ruining their lives even more that the shitty economy and debilitating medical conditions already have.

      Can they all be recalled? Probably not.

      I think they are just expecting all the protests to go away once the winter sets in, and that it’ll be too cold for people to be out in protest for Occupy Wall Street or medical cannabis or whatever.

      Late spring sounds like a good time for a General Strike to shut everything the fuck down.

      Protest no fuckin jobs, Wall Street greed, no legal weed all starting on the same day…gives cover to everyone under the umbrella so you can’t be fired because the general strike/protest is for weed only.

      Sick out!

    10. Nathan says:

      Want this drug crack down to stop? Simple.
      Hey Obama’s administration you are about to put yourself out of work by LOSING the Californian vote.