Latest Casualty In Obama’s War On Pot: The First Amendment

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 14, 2011

    The First Amendment is the latest casualty of the Obama Administration’s stepped up war on cannabis.

    On Wednesday, the US Attorney for the southern district of California, Laura Duffy, announced her intent to target media outlets — in particular alt-weeklies like the San Diego Reader and the San Francisco Bay Guardian — that accept advertising dollars from medical cannabis operations.

    Feds to target newspaper, radio marijuana ads

    via California Watch

    U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, whose district includes Imperial and San Diego counties, said marijuana advertising is the next area she’s “going to be moving onto as part of the enforcement efforts in Southern California.” Duffy said she could not speak for the three other U.S. attorneys covering the state but noted their efforts have been coordinated so far.

    “I’m not just seeing print advertising,” Duffy said in an interview with California Watch and KQED. “I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder what kind of message we’re sending to our children – it’s against the law.

    … Duffy said she believes the law gives her the right to prosecute newspaper publishers or TV station owners.

    “If I own a newspaper … or I own a TV station, and I’m going to take in your money to place these ads, I’m the person who is placing these ads,” Duffy said. “I am willing to read (the law) expansively and if a court wants to more narrowly define it, that would be up to the court.”

    Whether or not Duffy’s unconventional interpretation of federal law has any legal merit is, of course, beside the point. Her intent is to create a climate of fear that is so pervasive that media outlets ‘willingly’ cease accepting advertising revenue from dispensaries and other like-minded business.

    Such threats are nothing new for the federal government, which in recent months has successfully utilized similar tactics to coerce state and local banks to drop their accounts with state-sanctioned marijuana-related businesses and to intimidate landlords who rent their properties to tenants involved in medical cannabis facilities.

    Yet despite the government’s heavy-handed behavior, California bureaucrats have remained largely — and disappointingly — silent regarding the Justice Department’s intimidatory tactics. That is why it is more important than ever that you send the Obama Administration a clear and consistent message here.

    92 responses to “Latest Casualty In Obama’s War On Pot: The First Amendment”

    1. Dave says:

      unbelievable.. what a sick country.

    2. Nick says:

      I could see this backfiring on them. When you take away people’s rights, especially their First Amendment rights, you create enemies. When you try to silence someone, they tend to speak louder. Let’s hope that happens.

    3. Little Gypsy says:

      Just some more bullshit! Change the Federal scheduling of marijauna. Do what you said you were going to do and leave states that have medical marijuana alone. This is the only jobs program that the Federal government is supporting now. A bullshit effort to eliminate medical marijuana. This is absolute crap. The sheer lying and hypocracy aimed at medical marijuana. Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit! Bullshit! Maybe it is time to shut this Federal government down. They don’t do anything for the people…they do things to the people. Aren’t businesses people by the Supreme Court decree? If they are then they have a right to free speech. Enforce the laws you agree with and fuck everyone over on the ones you don’t care for.

    4. Alright get out the pic of obama with the Hitler mustache bc that’s what he is becoming. We mise well start wearing yellow stars. Not only a prohibition fiasco. This becoming the 2nd holocaust agains peaceful cannabis friends.

    5. Edward says:

      looks like The Obama is working on moving the medical marijuana jobs out now, Eliminate the businesses in the USA and give Guns to the Mexican drug cartels. What a joke of a president

    6. Today, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) issued the following statement after federal officials announced they will begin shutting down medical marijuana dispensaries and prosecuting newspapers that run advertisements from such businesses:

      “Medical marijuana dispensaries are helping our economy, creating jobs, and most importantly, providing a necessary service for suffering patients. There are real issues and real problems that the US Attorney’s Office should be focused on rather than using their limited resources to prosecute legitimate businesses or newspapers. Like S-Comm, our law enforcement agencies – both state and local – should not assist in this unnecessary action. Shutting down state-authorized dispensaries will cost California billions of dollars and unfairly harm thousands of lives.”

    7. Ll says:

      Why are the enforcement agencies all so gung-ho under the Obama administration?

      And I don’t want cliches. It’s not “always darkest before the dawn”. It’s always darkest before it goes pitch black!

      Obama must have given these agencies a green light to destroy the medical marijuana industry.

    8. Price Charles says:

      Apparently Mr. Barry (the out of control wannabe dictator) Obama won’t be satisfied until he encases all of our Constitutional Amendments. The NRA silent on the 2nd, The Press silent on the 1st, The Lawyers silent on the 4th. By the time they get to you, and I they’ll be nobody left powerful enough to defend our Rights in Court. The despots have found a scapegoat with medical marijuana patients to get their noses inside the camel’s tent to try, and change our Constitutional Republic form of Government, we citizens are in shock, I think not in the Gov’s attempt to do so, but in those groups like the NRA, who stand idly by, and let it happen.

    9. kate says:

      how is it legal to advertise abilify, zoloft, and the myriad of non-working, man-made anti-depressants, but illegal to advertise an all-natural anti-depressant that actually works? and just like Attorney Duffy, “I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream.”

    10. Angela says:

      What message are we sending to our children? We’re telling them that it’s ok to be happy, it’s ok to take medications, it’s ok to not have to suffer….that is the right message. I’m so tired of hearing this, it shouldn’t have been delegalized in the first place! Now that we know marijuana helps, and cigarettes cause cancer, ban cigarettes and sell marijuana! Save lives instead of taking them!