Who Will Be the Last Baby Girl to Go Fatherless in the Feds' War on State-Legal Marijuana?

Last month, New York Times staff writer Adam Nagourney wrote an article entitled  "Marijuana, Not Yet Legal for Californians, Might as Well Be," which seemed an odd way to describe a state in which meticulously legal pot businesses are still being systematically persecuted by President Barack Obama's Department of Justice.

Today, in a welcome revision, Nagourney is back with a different bite of the apple, this one more accurately headlined: "In California, It's U.S. vs. State Over Marijuana." The article concerns the case of 34-year-old Matthew Davies, a married father of two young girls (including an infant) who had no prior criminal record before being run up on federal charges that could put him in prison for 15 years. Excerpt:

Davies graduated from college with a master’s degree in business and a taste for enterprise, working in real estate, restaurants and mobile home parks before seizing on what he saw as uncharted territory with a vast potential for profits—medical marijuana.

He brought graduate-level business skills to a world decidedly operating in the shadows. He hired accountants, compliance lawyers, managers, a staff of 75 and a payroll firm. He paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits. [...]

The United States attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner, a 2009 Obama appointee, wants Mr. Davies to agree to a plea that includes a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, calling the case a straightforward prosecution of "one of the most significant commercial marijuana traffickers to be prosecuted in this district." [...]

"Mr. Davies was not a seriously ill user of marijuana nor was he a medical caregiver — he was the major player in a very significant commercial operation that sought to make large profits from the cultivation and sale of marijuana," [a letter from Wagner to Davies's lawyer] said. Mr. Wagner said that prosecuting such people "remains a core priority of the department."

Let's underline that last comment. It "remains a core priority" of the Obama administration to deprive little girls of being raised by their fathers. Even in states that have created legal space for pot entrepreneurs to operate. All in the service of a war every sentient adult recognizes is an abject failure.

This isn't just a matter of misplaced discretion. In a climate where pot is now legal in two states, medical marijuana in 18, where public favorability toward legalizing marijuana is spiking northward of 50 percent, and where we're operating on (at least) our third consecutive president who smoked the choom, such prosecutions are analogous to launching a troop surge in 1918, or raiding speakeasies in '32. They are morally obscene.

As (former pot smoker) John Kerry gets ready for his confirmation hearings to be the next secretary of state, let's rephrase his most famous quote: Who will be the last law-abiding father to die behind bars for this mistaken war?

Reason.tv on another California family the Department of Justice recently ruined below:

UPDATE: Read Molly Davies's open letter to President Obama. (Link now fixed.)

UPDATE II: At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf estimates the taxpayer cost of shutting down this one marijuana operation at $1 million.

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  • Randian||

    Rolling Stone's sycophancy makes me literally sick to my stomach. If the whole staff went Heaven's Gate tomorrow, the world would be a marginally less nauseating place.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    The only thing worse than their political views is their taste in music.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    This just in: Barack Obama is a statist and a liar.

  • $park¥||

    Really though, who cares about stupid potheads?

  • Ace Sullivan||

    us other potheads.

    Choom/Purple Ringers 2016!

  • Brandon||

    I care about people like me. Intelligent potheads.

  • Spartacus||

    Welcome to Progressive Utopia, where Top Men do as they damn well please and the "will of the people" is something to be mocked. For The Children. The HuffPo people got what they wanted, so they should be happy now.

  • Andrew S.||

    Urge to kill rising.

  • From the Tundra||

    Just now? Better not read the updates.

  • ||

    Morally obscene is an apt description of almost everything the left has ever done.

  • sarcasmic||

    "he was the major player in a very significant commercial operation that sought to make large profits from the cultivation and sale of marijuana"

    Translation: "He had accumulated all kinds of assets and we're going to take them. Do you know why DEA agents live in mansions and drive luxury cars? Because we steal them! Fuck you, that's why! Muahahahaha!"

  • Robert||

    But they could take them without prosecuting him,

  • Number 2||

    The most galling part of this is that Team Obama is keeping to their word. They are not prosecuting seriously ill people caught using marijuana.

    Of course, anyone who played any role in growing, cultivating, preparing, selling or delivering the marijuana to the seriously ill person in the first place is being prosecuted to the max. But no one can say that Obama is not keeping to his word!

    Marijuana law reformers - are you happy that you supported this guy?
    Gay marriage advocates - are you paying attention?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Did you see the response to the Death Star position? Man, no one with a sense of humor like that could be a bad guy! Come on man!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    At The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf estimates the taxpayer cost of shutting down this one marijuana operation at $1 million.

    That's a million dollars introduced into the economy through Kevlar, black cargo pants and battering ram purchases. Add the multiplier effect of attorneys, replacement doors and dog coffins and you have economic stimulus.

  • sarcasmic||

    Did it mention the value of the assets that they stole?

    I bet they were in excess of a million bucks.

    In cases like this they take everything from real estate to cars to investments.

    Not only are the kids fatherless, but they're probably homeless and without a college fund as well.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Yes but the goodwill from a community that feels safe from marijuana users more than makes up for any lost higher education dollars.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It "remains a core priority" of the Obama administration to deprive little girls of being raised by their fathers.

    Don't worry girls, Barry's your daddy now. Have some WIC, Social Security, and public education. You won't have any armed guards though. Only Sasha and Malia get those because they're special.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Better ten thousand children go fatherless than one get high.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Excellent.

    Is this what the drug prohibitionists mean when they say that a few people may have to be "inconvenienced" to appease their god?

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Until I see evidence that Davies didn't vote for Robamney he and his family get my heartiest Neslonic ha ha.

  • MSimon||

    And Romney would have been different?

    I voted Johnson/Gray.

    Eff all the rest.

  • Robert||

    It's for cases like this that I think we should form a perjury squad: say about 20 people who will testify that this guy was nowhere near the place in question, etc. Who's the jury going to believe -- the gov't's witness or 20 people contradicting hir? And the 20 of us will also testify about each other that we were telling the truth. I'll go first, and I won't even charge much.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Let's underline that last comment. It "remains a core priority" of the Obama administration to deprive little girls of being raised by their fathers."

    Sorry,whatever the merits of ending the federal War on Drugs, that was a rank emotional appeal comparable to the gun control advocates waving the bloody shirts from Sandy Hook. Does anyone accused of a crime get a pass if they have infant daughters?

  • sarcasmic||

    What crime? Where's the victim (other than Mr Davies)?

  • Mickey Rat||

    What Davies did is crime according to the federal government. Whether or not that action should be a crime, or whether or not the federal government should have the authority to make it a crime is a differnet argument than saying the administration' priority is to depriave little girls of their fathers. That argument would apply to every form of crime.

    I am irritated that Welch resorted to a rather crass "for the children" argument than defending the fed's opinion on this matter.

  • sarcasmic||

    How many times have you been given stats about what proportion of the black population is in prison, how many blacks are raised in single parent homes, and how many of those fathers are in prison for violating drug policy?
    A lot I assume. Almost as if there was an effort to undermine black society by putting the men in prison and the rest on Welfare, right?

    Same old song and dance, except this time it's a white guy.

    At least that's how I read it.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Are you suggesting that blacks are more likely to use drugs, just because they are black?

    I read it as a bad faith argument.

  • sarcasmic||

    Are you suggesting that blacks are more likely to use drugs, just because they are black?

    No, but they are more likely to be investigated, charged, and convicted just because they are black.

  • ||

    . . . 34-year-old Matthew Davies, a married father of two young girls (including an infant) who had no prior criminal record before being run up on federal charges that could put him in prison for 15 years.

    And let me guess: the court, hungry for a conviction, will bar him from raising as a defense that he was fully compliant with state law.

  • ||

    *Raising as a defense the fact that he was fully compliant with state law.

  • Mickey Rat||

    How is being compliant with state law relevant, given he is charged with being noncompliant with federal law?

    The feds should not have authority, but until Raich is overturned, they do.

  • ||

    How is being compliant with state law relevant, given he is charged with being noncompliant with federal law?

    It's relevant in that it would fully inform the jury and allow them to reach a just decision reagrding whether or not this man needs to be sent to prison to be beaten and raped for however long, as punishment for something that isn't a crime.

  • Andrew S.||

    You know, for somebody who professes to be sympathetic to the cause of liberty, there's a whole lot of concern trolling I hear from you. The fact that the feds for some reason, despite Obama and Holder's promises, continue to prosecute people who are not in violation of state law doesn't mean that they should do so.

  • MSimon||

    Ever notice a Drug Prohibition Amendment? Me either.

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