Obama's War on Weed

In a strange about-face, the President tries to hack medical marijuana off at the knees

The industry seems to be practicing a form of civil disobedience. And it has tens of thousands of seriously sick people behind it, who will holler loudly if they're forced back to the black market.

Indeed, there are some signs that Obama's crackdown will be what the SF Weekly's Chris Roberts calls a "Passive Aggressive" strategy. Rather than offend Americans with news footage of police raids, Obama has launched a war of attrition.

Landlords, worried the feds will steal their property, will tell dispensaries to move out. Banks won't handle money for pot-themed businesses. Dispensaries will be taxed so heavily they won't be to cover the payroll or pay the electric bill.

Yet it remains to be seen whether federal prosecutors, who undoubtedly have even more serious criminals with which to contend, are willing and able to carry out the threat. When Jack Gillund, Melinda Haag’s spokesman, was asked whether her office had the resources to go after every dispensary or grower who doesn’t comply with the 45-day deadline, he offered a simple reply: “No comment.”

Lauren Horwood, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner in California’s Eastern District, says Wagner’s goal isn’t to shut down everything. He’s focusing on “large, professional, money-making operations – the commercial operations.”

Horwood also says that it’s wrong to call it “Obama’s crackdown.” She says the California U.S. Attorneys decided to take action on their own because the situation has grown out of control among recreational users. But she acknowledges that they received Obama’s blessing.  

It’s classic political strategy: Send the underlings out to take the heat, while the bosses hide under their skirts.  

Either way, the end result casts Obama as even more zealous than George W. Bush. Bush threatened owners of dispensary properties in 2007, but never followed up. Meanwhile, Colorado and other states have seen no similar crackdowns. Only time will tell whether Obama plans to destroy the entire medical marijuana industry, or merely smack California around for a bit.

“I’m willing to give the Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt,” says Blair Butterworth, a Democratic consultant in Seattle, where about 100 dispensaries operate. “In California, they may be sitting on uncontrollable drug sales. They need to slap some wrists.”

It’s easy to pick on California, a state known for its excesses. But “the last thing Obama needs right now is to go to war nationally with the medical marijuana community,” Butterworth says.

Leniency for marijuana users, medical or otherwise, continues to be a popular Democratic stance, he says. Butterworth is helping the campaign to put outright legalization on the Washington state ballot next year. He thinks it’s got a good chance.

Of course, a successful election could just tick off the feds even more.

A million patients can't be wrong An estimated one million people in California have obtained a doctor's recommendation to grow and use marijuana legally. More than 150,000 medical marijuana patients have registered in Colorado as of July. Tens of thousands of patients are registered in the other weed-friendly states. If the feds shut down every dispensary in the country, all these people will still be able to legally possess marijuana – no matter where they bought it – under their state laws. The only difference is they’ll be forced to go back to buying their weed from Mexican drug cartels, rather than Americans who provide jobs and pay taxes.

It’s akin to the feds saying that Anheuser-Busch can no longer sell beer; they’d prefer that people only buy from Al Capone.

Hey, wait -- didn't something like that happen?

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124 comments
Red_Eye_Girl_4434
Red_Eye_Girl_4434

@Weed......Тhis is сrаzу...Мy friеnd`s sistеr mакеs 78/hr оn thе intеrnеt. Shе hаs bееn unеmрlоуеd fоr 11 mоnths but lаst mоnth hеr incоmе wаs 7985$ јust wоrкing оn thе РС fоr а fеw hоurs. Gо tо this wеb sitе .......http://alturl.com/6kb9y

mskat
mskat

@ President Obama, I can appreciate what you are trying to do but you need to understand that most of these people have serious pain. I don't live in Califorina and yes maybe they are out of control but, the fact is there are people that really need this. As for myself I am tired of taking umteem pills a day, so if the weed works I'd like to have it. At this point I belived Doctors just give out pills so they can make more money. Pills all day still in pain. QUESTION why don't they just legalize it and charge taxes like they do everything else.

Mike rt
Mike rt

The idea was that the Feds would look the other way if California would control its use to people on bona fide medical programs, a tiny insignificant share of the population. Instead, a state that could not collectively pour water out of boot if the instructions were on the heel, completely screwed it up. What did they think the Feds were going to do? We do not get to choose the laws we obey or enforce. In the process, California likely screwed it for other states that actually had other purposes than getting their citizens high.

Marykcroft
Marykcroft

This is NOT something Obama did. It was cooked up by the 4 US Attorneys, plus some others with deep pockets. I personally suspect drug cartels, considering they are much more active in becoming the new Al Capone: http://tinyurl.com/3zy7b4j

mynameisURL
mynameisURL

Time for a new "War".

How about a "War On Drug Enforcement".

...got a nice ring to it...

Bogus
Bogus

The war on drugs is not working. Just as any lab tech in any hospital in any town how many positive drug screens they have every 24 hours.

Travelsteve
Travelsteve

Being a native Dallasite, but having moved to California in the early 80's I know I made the best move of my life for a multitude of reasons. Just reading this article makes me wonder what is in the water down there. We have more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks. How many does Texas have? And President Obama has made it a point not only to stop prosecuting those that are caught with small amounts of it, but to decriminalize it. We can grow it LEGALLY in our own yards with a permit. And there are now counties that have re-written their laws that allow growers for state dispensaries to have up to 99 plants so long as they pay taxes on it. This article is bogus. President Obama has been a champion to our communuity. He knows and understands our progressive state. He is even here today, for the second time in a month.I'm glad that I left Texas when I see nut jobs like Rick Perry and Ron Paul romping around the country and when I read articles like the one here. Texas still has dry areas. What is that about? Say what you will, and think what you want. But here in California, we don't need to secede. But are moving forward, and not stuck in neutral with a neanderthal as our governor. And whoever Ray Stern is that wrote this article; he is full of it. But think what you want.

MikeG
MikeG

Most Obama suporters have a solution to the pot problem, roll it up in paper and burn it.

Joeybrown
Joeybrown

Don't let him know how many sheets of toilet peper you use>

Tootall
Tootall

Again the federal government is trying to dictate what state governments should do. What is next for this administration to try to control? The current administration only wants to follow the law when is it benefical to them. Remember this in 2012

anita
anita

Legalize it and tax it then maybe we can address the bigger problems like the DEFICIT and the UNEMPLOYMENT RATE.

kt
kt

no I think he's stoned.

Montemalone
Montemalone

Fat people are weird.Or is it smelly?One of those, I'm sure.

CHDFW
CHDFW

I find it funny that laws, way back when, were designed racially to prevent black people from consuming canibus. Now you have a black president and a black Attorney General continuing the eforcement of laws that by design & Intent say your ethniticity becomes to out of control when used. WOW, you would hope and think they would be a ilttle smarter and more educated about how to reform this.

Nbristow01
Nbristow01

I do not smoke pot or do I condone its use...but how on earth can the feds arrest people for doing what is legal in their state????? This is just crazy, we are turning virtaully socialist in some ways and it seems almost a dictatorship in others. So what point is even having state laws now??? Lets just erase all the states and live under federal law. Oh wait...that won't work because then the feds would have to deal with legal citizens directly about the illegal immigration issues. Then they could not use the states as excuses.

What has happened to our country. We have gone from a proud nation to a corrupt war hungy nation with people living in third world conditions. The pot thing is just a symptom to a much deeper issue.

Preacher8770
Preacher8770

this is sooo stupid! if we taxed the billions spent on weed. we wouldnt have a deficit.HELLO

Missivy16
Missivy16

Medical marijuana sucks anyway. Get that sh*t outta here.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Hypocrite. He's smokin' SOMETHING.

Josh T
Josh T

Phew thank goodness! I was afraid we were making progress on getting rid of the Black Market and shutting the drug dealers down. Business as usual in the USA and the Mexican Cartels celebrate this exciting news!

JWKARAOKEMAN
JWKARAOKEMAN

214 MILL PPL USE THE STUFF AND oBAMA CAN'T FIND A WAY TO GET US OUT OF DEBT? AND IF WE GREW IT WE WOULDN'T HAVE THIS PROBLEM WITH MEXICO TRYING TO GET THEIR CRAP OVER HERE!

Montemalone
Montemalone

You neglected to mention the deep political donating pockets of Pharma.

And law enforcement has multiple incentives to go after MJ. The money! All those confiscations go right back into the budget. Plus the fact there's no guns involved. Why isn't the Cali AG going after the gangs and cartels? They have weapons and they use them. Much easier to confiscate money and property from people just doing a job and others just using a 100% organic and natural product.

boffo!
boffo!

oh, but they can...

boffo!
boffo!

not so much, really...

boffo!
boffo!

yeah, right. good one...

boffo!
boffo!

oh yeah? then how do you explain pink floyd, then?

David
David

As of now I have absolutely NO ONE TO VOTE FOR! I may still vote a Dem ticket, only to vote AGAINST Republican tyranny. I am definately looking into all the Libertarian candidates.

Umberto
Umberto

Prohibition didn't work the first time, and it will never work.

Umberto
Umberto

Not much difference between Obama and Romney at this point.

Merlin
Merlin

the first thing that jerk did when he got in office was raise luxury taxes.Example cigarettes went $2 a pack among other things!Now he wants to stop a business that could beneficial to some people.I ask you how many laws has he broken? State rights are supposed separate from the federal government!

Debbie Annette Cockerham
Debbie Annette Cockerham

i voted for obama.he promised to leave med marijuana alone,to close gitmo,etc.he has kept none of his pledges.he is just a republican pretending to be a democrat.he has lost my vote due to the medical marijuana issue.sure wish some dems would run against him!!i am voting for ron paul,even if its a write in vote,but would rather have someone that cares about the lower and middle class.and someone that has compassion as well.

John
John

anybody who uses pot is wierd anyway we should just execute all the pot heads and pot growers it would save us a lot of money as a country

cdolson
cdolson

US attorneys answer to the Department of Justice. How then could this not be something the Obama administration is in charge of?

Zpttu
Zpttu

I think this is akin to " don't create laws that you can't or ont enforce" only by coming to light on he ridiculous federal laws in place will America force the issue. The states vs fed is bull. A republican would preach states right then shut down every state that enacted any mm legislation. Decrimilization is the on,y way and forcing the country to see how unjust and un americanh archaic marijuana laws which were derived from racism in post slavery america will hopefully force the public conservative Christian right who are the greatest foes. Signed conservative democrat Texan

cdolson
cdolson

Your post is nonsensicle and provides no factual rebuttal to any of the factual, provable points raised in this article.

Obama is an enemy of state's rights, as this article proves and has completely betrayed his supporters. He sees nothing for individual or state liberty and everything for total government control and individual dependence and servitude to it.

Hail to the hypocrite-in-chief. Support for him is more like religion and less like politics every day in this country.

Guest
Guest

Your lack of education is sickening... kill yourself.

Nrok311nin
Nrok311nin

No wonder you were named John. Boring mfr

Hari Om
Hari Om

Wow, very thoughtful and inspiring. It's like big time wrestling in the comment area

Umberto
Umberto

So you'd be OK with murdering millions of people? Many of whom have children? Who is going to pull the trigger? You? I bet you'd like that.

Serial Killer
Serial Killer

your an idiot. do you realize how much profit is in medical marijuana and if they taxed it? do your research before you post another retarded comment.

cdolson
cdolson

And which branch of the government do you think the Department of Justice falls under? It is a branch of the executive my friend and answers directly to Pres. Obama.

 
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