A Small Victory in the War on Sick People

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Nice on-the-ground reporting by Ron Garmon of last month's medical marijuana raids in Los Angeles.

Prominent local activist Chris Fusco's California Patients Group dispensary in Hollywood was an apparent high-value target. "We were down at City Hall holding a press conference," said Fusco. "Basically having our day in the spotlight with the City Council officially coming out and supporting medical cannabis. I was getting into the elevator at City Hall when I heard the dispensary was being raided. All the activists were at City Hall because of the event so we immediately drove back. There were about 15 LAPD officers surrounding the front of the building and about five or six squad cars. There were DEA agents in full paramilitary combat gear with M-16s walking around a building that serves sick and dying patients. There were about 10 people inside the building and 30 guys with riot gear and bulletproof shields."

"It was surreal," he added, still bemused. "Imagine pulling up and seeing a full-on military invasion of your office!"

I made a brief note on the raids the day that they occurred.

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  1. I’d like to think that this might be the instance that puts people to thinking that maybe the government isn’t going about this the best way. I won’t hold my breath.

  2. Why were there LAPD officers there? Weren’t they breaking their own governing laws?

  3. outlaws 100-watt incandescent light bulbs after 2012

    Lightbulb bans, right here in the USA.
    What agency will be charged with enforcement and what will the penalties be?

  4. wrong thread sorry

  5. I was just reading The Daily Mail and people wereup in arms about a rock star not being jailed for drug abuse.This in the same country taht was saved by a man who drank himself through WW II.[Churchill]

  6. We made up for Churchill’s indiscretions by throwing Ira Hayes in the clink.

  7. I was just reading The Daily Mail and people wereup in arms about a rock star not being jailed for drug abuse.This in the same country taht was saved by a man who drank himself through WW II.[Churchill]

    If you’re referring to

  8. When we voted to allow medical use of marijuana in California, we omitted a very important detail, which is to prohibit any California state employee from assisting the feds in overriding our state laws. The LAPD should not have been there.

    -jcr

  9. Maybe the LAPD was there to protect the public from the DEA?

    😉

  10. well, regardless of whether or not it’s laid out in that specific piece of legislation, aren’t California state law enforcement officers bound to enforce California state law? Unless they’re doing something laid out in the constitution like killing a pirate?

    Also, if these officers were contravening/forcibly stopping people from doing something that’s legal under California state law, can’t they be sued in California state court?

  11. Business Week has a story on Cal. medical marijuana abuse in the latest issue. Fusco’s group apparently follows all the rules but many other dispensaries don’t. Just the excuses the feds need to lump all medical marijuana providers together and just too bad if the dying cancer patients suffer. The Rohrabacher bill to stop the feds from doing this has picked up support each time it was introduced but is still a long way from passing.

  12. The California law doesn’t ban DEA agents from raiding places, Mr. Carter. It legalizes medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

    There was no law for the LA police to enforce against the DEA agents.

  13. Mitt Romney has a point. Cancer is the gateway illness that leads to more dangerous illnesses and even death. These dispensaries should be stopped at all costs. Don’t you remember 9/11?

  14. There was no law for the LA police to enforce against the DEA agents.

    If the LAPD didn’t want the raid to happen, it would not have happened.

  15. from the description of the scene, it sounded like the LAPD participated in the raid.

  16. Once, during the days of the Reagan administration, I had occasion to go to Madrid. It was a fascinating city, very beautiful in parts. I ventured downtown and noticed that all of what appeared to be the normal police were armed with what we later, in this country, learned to call “assault weapons.” It was just the way things were. In that pre-Waco, pre-9/11 moment, I was very thankful to live in the US, and to know that I would be home in a week.

    We appear to have caught up with Madrid of that era, and even surpassed it (although ironically, pot was more-or-less tolerated in the Spanish city back then).

    Given that my county now resembles a place I was once glad to visit, but even gladder to “escape,” where can I call home now? Benjamin Franklin once said, “Where liberty dwells, that is my country.” I always agreed with that, and always thought the USA was the place. But now? Where does liberty dwell today?

  17. Rex, Randolph,

    I get that. The point I was making is that the fact that the dispenaries are legal under California law doesn’t oblige the local police to defend them from raids by the feds.

    Mr. Merritt’s comment got me thinking – does anyone else remember the funny MTV ad from about 1983, with the bound guy in the suit going through the Eastern Bloc airpott? With the male security agent speaking fake-Russian and the brawny female agent translating?

    “Byorshneyev nervoniev?”

    “Do you have anything to declare?”

    “Byorshneyev nervoniet!?!”

    “Do you have ANYTHING to DECLARE?!?”

    “In this sock, is other sock?”

    Then they cut to a shot of the guy, bound and gagged on the x-ray belt.

    It was funny, because it was so crazy the way their airport security was so over-the-top.

  18. I get that. The point I was making is that the fact that the dispenaries are legal under California law doesn’t oblige the local police to defend them from raids by the feds.

    Really? That’s kind of crazy, I thought it was the job of the police to uphold the laws of a state.

  19. Most state constitutions allow precedence to the US constitution as the supreme law of the land. Even if they don’t, the US constitution makes it quite clear.

  20. right, but there’s no spot in the constitution that the state police would be violating – unless there’s some part I didn’t read about federal administrative agencies being allowed to break state laws.

    Or is it that because there is no exception for medical marijuana in federal law, the local police must obey the federal rather than the local law, federal law being seen as an extension of the constitution?

  21. Randolph,

    In the interpretation of SCOTUS, they’d be interfering with Congress’ constitutionally-granted ability to regulate interstate commerce if they resisted the DEA agents.

  22. Most state constitutions allow precedence to the US constitution as the supreme law of the land.

    Which is fine, but it doesn’t mean that state law enforcement agencies have to take orders from the feds.

    It also doesn’t magically make constitutional all the unconstitutional federal laws, like those in the WoD. I doubt anyone can point to an enumerated power that allows the federal government to criminalize marijuana.

  23. Randolph,

    Really? That’s kind of crazy, I thought it was the job of the police to uphold the laws of a state.

    Sigh. OK, I repeat: There was no law for the LA police to enforce against the DEA agents.

    What’s not to understand here? Are you under the impression that California can, and did, pass a law making it illegal for the fedeal government to enforce federal laws in California? They didn’t, and they can’t.

  24. I understand your point, joe. I’m more confused by the apparent fact that the LAPD were participating in the raid, and acting against the laws of their own state. As far as I know, the feds don’t have jurisdiction over state or local police forces.

  25. I think the LAPD officers should be made to wear Hello Kitty armbands just like Thai cops who misbehave.

  26. Ah, I gotcha, Randolph. I misunderstood what you were asking.

    Local cops can enforce federal laws. There is no law against that, either in the general sense of which jurisdiction’s laws the police and enforce, or in the particular case of California’s law regarding MMJ clinics.

    If California had no cockfighting law, local cops could still help out the feds if they busted an interstate cockfighting ring.

    You in the back, that’s cockFIGHTING ring. Stop sniggering.

  27. aah, ok, I thought the ultimate executive for the state police was the governor, not the president. oops.

  28. OK. I’m done. You’ve got all the information you need to answer your question.

  29. indeed I do.

  30. Randolph,

    The idea of states nullifying federal law had its ship sail off back in the 1830s.

  31. what can I say, I’m just an old-fashioned guy.

    And joe, just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to argue more or anything, I was just stating what I had previously thought. No cold pricklies here.

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