"I'm just informing you, I'm going to punch you in the face"

The LA Weekly with the latest dispatch from the federal DEA's grim war on LA-area pot dispensaries, against the will of local government. Excerpts:

Within the next 10 days, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to sign what is officially known as the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Interim Control Ordinance.
.....[Meanwhile] On July 6, the Los Angeles branch of the DEA sent letters to nearly 150 of the landlords in Los Angeles County who rent sites to marijuana collectives, pleasantly reminding property owners that selling cannabis is a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in the federal pen, and that even peripheral involvement could trigger the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 — meaning that the property owners’ land could be confiscated by the U.S. government.

.......
The letter triggered a rash of freak-outs among targeted landlords, causing scores of them to phone the DEA office — and their personal attorneys. “I’d say about 80 percent of the people we sent letters to called us,” says DEA spokesperson Sarah Pullen. She says many believed that California state law trumps the federal statute, when, in fact, the opposite is true.

Attorney William Kroeger, who represents some collectives who rent space in L.A., says that if he represented targeted landlords, “I’d tell them, ‘You should be in court five minutes from now filing eviction papers.’ ”

For its part, the DEA claims it simply sent the letters out as a courtesy, “to inform property owners about the law.” Nobody in city government, or among the medical-marijuana activists, really bought it. “That’s like me saying, ‘I’m just informing you, I’m going to punch you in the face,’ ” says one unhappy collective owner.

......on July 25, Los Angeles City Councilman (and former LAPD officer) Dennis Zine held a press conference before the Wednesday City Council meeting, calling for DEA Administrator Karen Tandy to stop threatening property owners and to allow L.A. to proceed with regulating medical-weed distribution without federal interference.
...............

Zine and other council members were furious. “What the feds are trying to do is flex their muscles,” Zine said when told of the raids. “They want to show us who’s boss. We’re not trying to legalize marijuana,” he said. “We’re just trying to regulate it for compassionate use for those who need it.”

Some earlier blogging on the topic from Dave Weigel.

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  • dhex||

    lets all join hands and wish cancerous aids on these fucking scum.

    om mani padme om

  • ||

    Pack of fucking thugs.

    -jcr

  • x,y||

    Why doesn't the DEA just eliminate the middleman and punch cancer patients right in the cock?

  • ||

    RON PAUL would abolish the DEA

  • ||

    The last sentence of the article reminds me why I don't like the medicinal marijuana thing. Framing the argument for decriminalization as a plea for cancer patients ignores the real root of why prohibition is wrong: because I should be able to do whatever the fuck I want with my body, regardless of whether some bureaucrat say it's healthy or not.

  • Rhywun||

    There will be no retreat in the WarOnDrugs! No surrender!

  • ||

    Here's a thought: California can repeal its prohibition against pot. If the feds want to police the whole state themselves, good luck with that...

  • ||

    Wow, I am impressed: the welfare queens at the DEA managed to mail some letters. This means that they are capable of working honest jobs stuffing envelopes.

    Too bad they have no honor.

  • ||

    On the bright side...This War On Sick People is what convinced me that the War On Terror is bogus and converted me from lifelong Republican voter to Libertarian.

  • ||

    We oughta just secede from the Union. I mean, I know that didn't work out so well the last time someone tried it, but we could probably work out a peaceful exit this time.

    It really would be win-win. We could have our Medical Pot and you could go see Transformers and still tell people you went to a foreign film.

  • ||

    DEA spokesperson Sarah Pullen... says many believed that California state law trumps the federal statute, when, in fact, the opposite is true.



    I crack a tooth every time I hear a government official say this.

    Why don't they just and repeal the Tenth Amendment if it means so little to them...

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

  • ||

    I'm guessing that they consider the "to the people" part to mean the collective people, a.k.a. the federal government.

    I'm going to smoke a big fatty when I get off work, just to spite them.

    P.S. To all you law enforcement types out there, that's a big fatty tobacco cigarette, because tobacco is completely safe and legal.

  • ||

    Let's keep in mind an important distinction here, between marijuans prohibition and the raids, threats, and prosecutions being carried out against therapeutic marijuana users and providers.

    The former is the law that Congress passed, comparable to the speed limit laws on our highways. The latter is a policy decision made by, presumably, the administration and the top tiers of the Justice Department, comparable to the decision to have police set up so many speed traps in so many locations during such and such a time period.

    Neither party is going to do anything serious about ending marijuana prohibition, but that's not the only question you need to ask.

    During the first eight months of the Bush administration, the Justice Department reassigned dozens of FBI agents from counter-terrorism to obscenity cases, to better reflect the policy preferences and priorities of the administration. The obscensity laws didn't change when Bush took office, just the decision about how to utilize federal law enforcement resources. How many obscenity prosecutions were conducted under Clinton?

    Same thing here.

  • ||

    Then again, which administration fought tooth and nail to keep the CDA on the books? Poxy Houses!

  • ||

    You mean the CSA? The answer is "none." No administration "fought" to keep the Controlled Substances Act on the books. There is no significant disagreement among the two parties about that issue.

    Now, on whether to use federal law enforcement to close down medical pot dispenseries, there is a wide specturm of opinion in Washington. But that's a different question.

  • tomWright||

    This brings up something I have been mulling for a while.

    What if states that allow medical marijuana were to distribute it from state own dispensaries?

    What would the DEA do to, say, Vermont, should it start to dispense joints to cancer patients?

    Maybe the LA area could rent out some public space to these co-ops just to challenge the feds.

    Hmmm, does that mean that the local cops would be required to defend the co-ops against DEA raids?

    No THAT would be entertaining.

  • ||

    Communications Decency Act. Sorry, I took the tangent you offered.

    Damn abbreviations!

  • ||

    Well, the Democrats certainly are committed to the CRA. And the CDC. Some of them even take the MTA. But if you're looking for a major party that is against the CSA, you're SOL.

  • ||

    WTF?

    When I was an OMB fellow, the folks at OIRA/IPT had a rule that any nonobvious abbreviation or acronym must be expanded during any meeting. If you failed to do so, you owed the jar a quarter.

  • ||

    MikeP,

    The Constitution delegates the power to regulate interstate commerce to the United States, not to the states, so neener on that.

  • VM||

    joe | August 10, 2007, 2:35pm | #
    Well, the Democrats certainly are committed to the CRA. And the CDC. Some of them even take the MTA. But if you're looking for a major party that is against the CSA, you're SOL.



    wow. fantastic!

    worthy of Robin Williams in Good M'ning V'nam.

    and well played, ProGLib

  • ||

    The Constitution delegates the power to regulate interstate commerce to the United States, not to the states, so neener on that.

    I'll remember that when growing a plant in California to be sold to someone in California who consumes it in California becomes interstate commerce.

  • ||

    MikeP,

    That time has already come, according to SCOTUS...

  • ||

    That is why I quoted the Constitution and not the Supreme Court.

  • ||

    To say nothing of those who grown their own while under medical supervision. Not much commerce there, but it's painfully clear that it's power, not money, that drives the war on drugs. Otherwise Californians would have an additional $1bn in their state coffers, courtesy of Let Us Pay Taxes.

  • S.A. Miller||

    I believe that those collectives should be able to sell Marijuana, etc. But please, stop with the "We're not trying to legalize marijuana." nonsense. NO ONE, absolutely no one buys that.

    Medical Marijuana:Ending Prohibition::Partial Birth Abortion Ban:Overturning Roe v. Wade

    Incramentalism

  • pdog||

    Why doesn't the governator show some balls and tell the feds that these collectives are not involved in any interstate commerce and are operating under state law approved by the people of the state and if they interfere they will be in violation of the people's laws and he will protect and defend it with state troopers, local law enforcement and even national guard, if needed.

  • SIV||

    I'll remember that when growing a plant in California to be sold to someone in California who consumes it in California becomes interstate commerce.

    Now where have I heard that before?


    Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything-and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.


    Of course many leading progressive liberal thinkers feel Clarence Thomas is wholly unsuitable to sit on the Supreme Court and have vowed not to let anyone of similar legal opinions get near the Federal bench.

  • ||

    So let's see, Bush is negotiating with Iran, but taking a hard stance with cancer patients. Way to show courage feds.

  • ||

    Maybe cancer patients need to start a nuclear program.

    "Once we have nukes, they won't dare raid our MJ stash!"

  • ||

    The commerce clause trumps the 10th amendment. SCOTUS decided that an Ohio farmer could not grow wheat to feed to his own cattle because that violates the commerce clause. The same reasoning applies to MJ in California.

    Full disclosure: I am citing the the SCOTUS decision from memory, so it could be Iowa, or Indiana or some other state entirely, and it could be corn or soybeans or watermelons instead of wheat. The gist of the decision is pretty accurate though: the farmer could not grow a plant to feed to his animals because the commerce clause gave the Feds jurisdiction to impose controls over what the farmer could grow. The commerce clause covers everything and trumps everything.

    So much for the rule of law.

  • Robert||

    "What if states that allow medical marijuana were to distribute it from state own dispensaries?"

    Under the Controlled Substances Act, state & local cops are allowed to manufacture & distribute controlled substances without having to register with DEA.

  • ||

    Wow! That's brilliant, Robert!

    They had to give cops an exemption, so they could possess and distribute drugs as part of enforcing the law - ie, a public policy exception.

    And if the state declares that making marijuana available is public policy...

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