Unprincipled. That’s what it is. Unprincipled. No, not the Federal Government crackdown on the California recreational marijuana industry–because it isn’t about “medical marijuana” when it brings $1.5 billion into their own coffers each year. They’re part of the 1%! Occupy!
The real culprits here are the felons who are breaking federal and California law by establishing huge commercial recreational marijuana dispensaries and the city officials who winked at law breaking because they agreed with the actions or wanted the tax money. And now they are whining. From a SF Chronicle front page story:
Another slice of President Obama’s liberal base has become frustrated and disappointed with him: a growing number of leaders in California’s $1.5 billion medical cannabis community. Supporters of the state’s network of medical pot businesses, like some members in the gay and environmentalist voting blocs, think Obama has not lived up to his campaign promises. In 2007, then-candidate Obama said in New Hampshire that he “would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It’s not a good use of our resources.” A 2009 Justice Department memo seemed to confirm as much.
That was unprincipled, too. You don’t run for POTUS promising not to break your oath of office about enforcing a law with which you disagree. You promise to change the law, in this case, the Controlled Substances Act. But in his nearly 3 years in office, President Obama has not said one word (about which I am aware) advocating that principled and needed course.
Obama gave them an inch…and you know how the rest of the saying goes.
Federal prosecutors say they believe the state’s law has become a cover for an increasing number of illegal, large-scale growers and dispensaries to develop for-profit operations that are beyond the original intent of the state law, which was to provide relief to the sick and frail. On Oct. 7, the four regional U.S. attorneys in California announced that they would begin cracking down on commercial dispensaries. The prosecutors said they are not singling out patients but are concerned about bad actors in a loosely regulated industry with an estimated 500 to 2,500 or more collectives statewide.
Exactly. Thus, Obama’s crackdown does not violate his unprincipled campaign promise. He never said he would allow an illegal drug industry to thrive. He and his administration are complying with their legal duty in stomping out the recreational marijuana industry.
California courts are on board too. Several cities have, wisely in my view, outlawed marijuana distribution stores. The gall of it, medical marijuana dispensers sued, saying the law gave them a right to go into business. No it doesn’t, says the California Court of Appeals. From the LA Times story:
In a decision that could have immediate fallout for medical marijuana dispensaries, a state appeals court has ruled that California law allows cities and counties to ban the stores. The contentious issue has bounced through the state courts for years, but the opinion issued Wednesday is the first published one that directly tackles it and does so in unambiguous language. The decision, which upholds Riverside’s ban, could embolden more cities and counties to enact their own. It also could spur those that have bans to be more aggressive about seeking court orders to close defiant dispensaries
They should. Commercial distribution was not what voters authorized. They allowed small, non profit type operations and people to grow their own.
But the real answer is amend the CSA! I visited a very close friend in Canada last month, who is disabled by progressive multiple sclerosis that causes neuropathic pain. He is a very socially conservative fellow and opposes recreational marijuana. But he does believe in pain control, and cannabis has medicinal properties. (Another problem of unprinciple: Federal law states that it does not, a blatant falsehood.) He showed me a marijuana spray that effectively brings relief in a precise does, that he told me, relieves his pain without getting him high. And, he obtained the spray at a pharmacy by prescription. In other words, medicine.
People should be able to use marijuana for medicinal purposes in proper circumstances. Change the CSA to permit it! Legalization for recreational use is a different issue. If people want that, change the law. Until then, enforce it. Otherwise, our cowardly leaders should not be surprised when their unprincipled actions are met with a predatory illegal response.