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Friday, May 6, 2011
Feds may prosecute State employees who carry out Medical Marijuana Program
By Andrew Walden @ 8:47 PM :: 7277 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

by Andrew Walden

In a sharp reversal of previous Obama administration policy, Federal prosecutors in several western states are raiding and seizing state-licensed drug dealers operating out of so-called marijuana dispensaries.  They are even threatening to go after the state employees who administer them. 

(PDF: April 12 Letter to Hawaii DPS from Hawaii Federal Prosecutor--pg 11)

In an April 14 response to an inquiry from Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire, US Attorneys Jenny Durkan and Michael Ormsby, who respectively oversee federal prosecutions in the Western and Eastern districts of Washington State explain how they would respond to Washington State Legislation authorizing marijuana ‘dispensaries’:

"The Washington legislative proposals will create a licensing scheme that permits large-scale marijuana cultivation and distributions.  This would authorize conduct contrary to federal law and thus, would undermine the federal government's efforts to regulate the possession, manufacturing, and trafficking of controlled substances. Accordingly, the Department could consider civil and criminal legal remedies regarding those who set up marijuana growing facilities and dispensaries as they will be doing so in violation of federal law....”

The Feds could go after State employees as well:

“In addition, state employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington legislative proposals would not be immune from liability... (including) criminal prosecution."

After the letter became public, the ACLU and several pro-dope legislators wanted to make guinea pigs of state employees.  But state employee unions called on Gregoire to veto the bill, which she did on April 29, explaining:

"The central concerns I have raised still stand.  We cannot assure protections to one group of people -- our patients, our providers and our health care professionals -- in a way that subjects another group -- those who work for the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture -- to federal arrest or criminal liability.”

Tragically, the Federal prosecutors did not indicate they would arrest politicians who conspire to violate federal narcotics laws nor would they use the federal RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act to arrest the State legislature and seize its assets.

Other states have received similar warnings in recent days. Denver Channel 7 News reports:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has warned state leaders that federal prosecutors say state medical marijuana regulators are not immune from federal statutes outlawing pot.

On Tuesday, Suthers forwarded to Gov. John Hickenlooper and state lawmakers a letter from Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh saying that the Justice Department "does not focus its limited resources on seriously ill individuals who use marijuana as part of a medically recommended treatment regimen in compliance with state law."

However, Walsh cautioned that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and the Justice Department will continue to "vigorously" prosecute individuals or organizations engaged in "unlawful manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law."

Colorado is just the latest state to receive warnings from the federal government as state lawmakers consider legislation to regulate medical marijuana. Federal agents also recently raided state-sanctioned dispensaries in Montana, Michigan and California.

Denver Westword carries this April 29 revelation: Medical marijuana cultivation no different than other pot grows, says U.S. Attorneys Office.

The warnings have caught the attention of Big Island potheads.  Doper website Hawaii News Daily condemns the Obama Administration for its Reneging on “States’ Rights” explaining:

…In 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama offered a bolder and less uptight pose when he candidly admitted to “inhaling” Cannabis. No doubt he was alluding to another presidential candidate, Bill Clinton, who claimed in 1992 to have only drawn Marijuana smoke into his mouth but did not inhale. And, of course after that came the famous and memorable Obama line, which every human being who knew Weed was good greeted with great joy.

Feigning enlightenment, the charming candidate demurred about inhaling: “That WAS the point.”

Inhaling was the point, said Barack Obama. But as we know when it comes to double standards: That was then and this is now.

That cheeky provocation no doubt earned Obama a few million voters, all ecstatic that now; a second US president admitted a ‘close’ association with Cannabis. The first was of course was George Washington.

Obama could NOT have grown-up in Makiki, go to Punahou or body surf at my favorite spot, Sandy Beach, without having loved Pakaloha. It’d be impossible for him as a young fellow to step out of the water after sliding through the shimmering tubes of the shorebreak- without noticing all his surfing Ohana imbibing what Hawaii does best. In those days, you’d have to be cop to NOT have noticed all of us smoking Da Kine.

To deny smoking Pakaloha after a ripping session at Sandy’s would be like saying you weren’t born and raised in Hawai’i. But I digress because now, the one-time Pot smoker is the most powerful and most deadly man on Planet Hurt.

I can only conclude that there is some irreconcilable polarity between good Cannabis and great Power. Politicians seeking more power need to deny Cannabis no matter what they said or DID themselves….

In Hawaii, Senate Bill 1458 was deferred April 29. The measure would have sharply restricted the basis for dope doctors to issue prescriptions for medical marijuana, but it would have also limited distribution to a single state-run “compassion center.” About half of the 8,000 dopers using “medical” marijuana in Hawaii are under age 30. Many purport to suffer “pain” and one doctor has written nearly 3,000 prescriptions.

As in Hawaii, “medical” marijuana in Washington has all of the same criminal attributes of marijuana which is not labeled “medical”.   This is the inevitable result of any business which remains illegal under federal law.  The Seattle Weekly March 28 explains:

police are now saying that a shooting in a Pioneer Square parking garage earlier this month was a medical-marijuana deal gone bad.

Apparently the victim (a fully-licensed cannabis patient) had arranged to meet an off-duty parking attendant and sell him a pound and a half of marijuana for $4,800. So the guy showed up with the pot and found the parking attendant in a corner of the First Avenue garage, but as soon as he pulled out the drugs, a "black male in a black hooded sweatshirt" burst out of a nearby door with a handgun.

The victim and the gunman struggled. One shot was fired right into the would-be pot provider's chest. And with a bullet hole gushing and other shots being fired at him, the victim leaped over the second-story ledge and escaped.

The man survived and the suspected shooter was caught shortly afterward--neither of whom have been named yet--but police say the robbery was part of a plan possibly put together by several people.

The news comes just a few days after charges were announced in the armed robbery of the GAME Collective Dispensary in West Seattle, and an incident in which a man had to chase robbers out of his medical-pot grow site with a rifle.

And of course, there's been plenty of well-documented violence over medical weed in the past as well….

Says Washington’s Gregoire: “(Change in marijuana laws) must first come at the federal level."

---30---

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