Medical Marijuana

California Cops to DEA: Help Us Undermine State Law

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Perusing material submitted by the DEA in response to a query from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, marijuana reform activist Dale Gieringer catches the the California Police Chiefs Association actively subverting state law. The documents (PDF) received by Conyers, who is looking into the DEA's raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, include an October 2006 letter (page 18) in which Steve Krull, the association's president, urges DEA Administrator Karen Tandy to "become more actively involved in working with local law enforcement to close these [medical marijuana] distribution centers, seize their profits and all marijuana which might be located and to take these cases into the federal judicial system." Krull suggests that "a concentrated effort sustained over a period of time would send a strong message to local and county government that 'medical marijuana' is not allowed and that those who profit from the sales and distribution of marijuana under the guise of 'medicine' will face the consequences."

Under California law, of course, marijuana is allowed for qualifying patients and is considered a medicine. That's why Krull complains to Tandy about the "dangers and frustrations that law enforcement has experienced in California with trying to enforce marijuana laws." He reports, with apparent amazement, that "some situations have reached the point where state judicial officers (local judges) are ordering our members to return marijuana which has been lawfully seized"—i.e., instructing police to give back the medicine that patients are permitted to have under state law. Evidently Krull and many of his colleagues find obeying state law to be an intolerable nuisance, one they want the feds to help them avoid. The DEA has been happy to oblige, conducting 130 enforcement actions and making 365 arrests related to medical marijuana from 2004 through July 2008. Gieringer, coordinator of California NORML, notes that a state appeals court ruled last year that "it is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws." Both the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have declined to hear an appeal of that decision.

Here is the appeals court's ruling (PDF), which said (much to Krull's consternation, no doubt) that police who seize a patient's medical marijuana have to return it. Previous reason coverage of that case here and here.

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  1. How quant. Cops forced to obey there own laws.

  2. Kudos to Conyers.

    It would only take a couple of fired cops to put this problem to bed.

  3. Cops forced to obey there own laws.

    They should have their beer confiscated as well.

  4. You don’t like doing your job, get a new one.

    I despise John Conyers and his bat-shit crazy wife, but I must say “Good job Congressman”.

  5. Cops love, love, love the drug war. It gives them so much more power than they otherwise would have.

  6. Cops frustrated that they can’t apply the law as they see fit, as opposed to what’s truly legal or not? Who would have thought that police officers think they should be allowed to arrest you and seize your assets because they feel like it?

    And people still worship police officers. I know about 10 guys from my fraternity who went on to work for the NYPD. I smoked blunts and got drunk with all of them, did coke and acid with half of them. Go to massage parlors, get into bar fights – you betcha. So what the fuck makes cops so much better than other regular folks? They won’t give each other DWIs? I guess that must be it.

    SO FUCKING SICK OF IT.

  7. Holy shit! My spelling is running towards LoneWacko standards! Yikes! I meant quaint. Rhymes with taint. Got it.

    Ska,

    I think a lot of it is terminology. You’re a civilian. They’re the righteous.

  8. Yo, fuck tha police.

  9. “become more actively involved in working with local law enforcement to close these [medical marijuana] distribution centers, seize their profits and all marijuana which might be located and to take these cases into the federal judicial system.”

    This is why states should have been allowed to maintain their own sedition and treason statutes, as they once did. Steve Krull should be arrested by the order of the governor, charged with sedition against California, and sent to prison for at least 10 years for his crime of using the federal government to subvert the California legal code under the color of state authority.

  10. Krull…was such a shitty movie.

  11. This is why states should have been allowed to maintain their own sedition and treason statutes, as they once did. Steve Krull should be arrested by the order of the governor, charged with sedition against California, and sent to prison for at least 10 years for his crime of using the federal government to subvert the California legal code under the color of state authority.

    The far simpler move is just simply to fire their asses.

  12. Krull…was such a shitty movie.

    So very fucking true.

  13. malfeseance (sp) of office charges should be vrought against him and anyone else who is sworn to uphold state laws and does not, oh wait, thoose charges are brought every day on police who abuse power. Think in Cali they should start at the top and charge on down the line. a few firings and being thrown in the clink for such vile acts, and they might just might start to get the message

  14. Stop right where you are! You know the score, pal. If you’re not cop, you’re little people.

  15. Hey! “Krull” had its moments . . . ummmmmmmmm . . . I’m sure there were some . . . I was high the only time I saw it but . . . okay. I withdraw my objection. Guy from the series “Heracles” right?

  16. May Steve Krull suffer some serious wasting disease, then be prohibited from buying medicine for said condition.

  17. Hey! Krull rocked! I remember it now! Elemenope, how do you expect me to take you seriously when you pay no attention to what you are typing!

    *throws ninja star thing from Krull movie*

  18. The far simpler move is just simply to fire their asses.

    Hah. Do you have any idea how often cops get their jobs back if they’re just fired? Imprisonment, after being fired, is the only way to keep a bad cop from getting their job back in many cases. It’s like the requirement that you cut off the vampire’s head after you drive the stake into it, just to make sure you have all of your bases covered.

  19. Mike T —

    That may be true for lieutenants and below, but high-profile highly ranked guys are the ones setting the policies that are boning the law. They do not shake off being fired so easily, nor are they so easily re-hired.

  20. It would only take a couple of fired cops to put this problem to bed.

    Joe, your optimism is appreciated, but I don’t share it.

    Some people call me a pessimist. I like to think of myself as a realist.

  21. @joe

    It would only take a couple of fired cops to put this problem to bed.

    This may be optimistic even as applied to this single instance. Taking care of the “police making their own policy” pattern, will require some reliable, on-going, oversight with the power and willingness to fire people.

    And then we have the meta-pattern of “watchman-watchers making their own policy”.

    If only we had some kind of overriding law that limited the powers of the government to prevent this kind of abuse…

  22. Paul,

    Sobchak’s Syndrome is how you should view the world, my friend.

  23. Hey! Krull rocked! I remember it now! Elemenope, how do you expect me to take you seriously when you pay no attention to what you are typing!

    *throws ninja star thing from Krull movie*

    What’s funny about that movie is how many recognizable actors are in it. Liam Neeson being the most obvious.

  24. If only we had some kind of overriding law that limited the powers of the government to prevent this kind of abuse

    Natural Rights Law?

  25. Huh, state and local cops in cahoots with federal agents. No one could have seen that coming. Color me surprised that this hasn’t resulted in more raids than it has.

    Apropos of the musical ending to the zombie business thread, I present Mike West with Save Your Seeds (Sample).

  26. Does the loyalty pledge that University of California research assistants have to sign happen to cover police officers subverting CA state laws?

  27. “””The Angry Optimist | December 18, 2008, 3:01pm | #

    If only we had some kind of overriding law that limited the powers of the government to prevent this kind of abuse

    Natural Rights Law?”””””

    Like in a constitution? No one cares about those anymore.

  28. Keep Dope Alive !!!

  29. Alice Bowie,

    I love you.

  30. If I were the governor of a state where medical marijuana were legal, I’d issue an executive order prohibiting any state or local law enforcement officers from cooperating with the feds when targeting medical marijuana users, and I’d fire anyone who violated my order.

  31. If the people and activists drive this issue forward now, it could force a reaction from the freshly-minted Obama administration. It would be an interesting trial-balloon to get him on the record with these types of things at press conferences.

    And for the record, Krull was cool when I saw it as a little kid. The bad guy’s hide-out was this bad-ass flying mountain that would randomly land in various places and was bizarre to see then and still weird now.

  32. Sadly, I don’t think the CA law clearly authorizes marijuana distribution and dispensaries. It seems to be drafted to allow people with prescriptions to possess marijuana and to grow their own.

    If the people and activists drive this issue forward now, it could force a reaction from the freshly-minted Obama administration.

    Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

  33. I agree, if they disobey the court rulings and law of the land they should be fired outright.

  34. and what will happen to this cop that doesn’t like MMJ? notta

  35. Sometimes I just hate this country, what the hell is wrong with these people. It’s been legal in California for 12 years, how long does it take to seep into their stupid thick skulls. Besides, in reality, if we were to just follow our constitution we could all smoke marijuana and not give a crap, why? because the constitution allows us, but NOOOO, America which was founded by the constitution doesn’t want to follow it’s own constitution. WHY? God only knows. Remember people Alcohol is a DRUG also, and just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s OK, funny how people won’t judge people who drink, yet if you smoke you’re considered stupid and stuff. Yet the only known problems with marijuana is that it can bring motivation down and cause short term memory loss, OH NOOOO PEOPLE, lower motivation, short term memory loss, wow, that’s some scary stuff. I better just stick to drinking my alcohol, if I drink too much I can die. Oh wait, Marijuana doesn’t kill people, oh wait, it’s used for medicine, OH WAIT, it’s been used AS MEDICINE FOR OVER 2,000 FRIGGEN YEARS!!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!

  36. reading this article made me want to punch my monitor. thank god i am blazing or i prolly would. i am getting ready to move back to my home state of michigan, where medical marijuana recently passed.(recieved more votes that obama did) i just hope the cops in my state are more in tune with the law than out west.

  37. And in your dreams
    You can see yourself
    As a prophet
    Saving the world
    The words from your lips …
    I just can’t believe you are
    Such a fool

    fz

  38. all of u b glad u don’t live in kern county,ca.
    we got the most chicken white stuff for a sheriff you’ve ever seen.he’s gotta call the feds.hell his son was busted with 7 oz’s.yet i have never heard of any jail time for family.
    oh well keep dream’n.times on our side unless they take our meds.

  39. @mike: ever heard of a little thing called prohibition? they dont want us drinking either

  40. that cop will probably get rewarded for this shit thats what makes me sick… corruption is ridiculous especially when its EMBRACED.

  41. Why can’t the state of California crack down on their police force?

  42. The reporter and critics need to read the US Constitution, partcularly Article VI (not Amendment 6) where it is spelled out clearly that federal law is the “law of the land” when a state law is in conflict with it. Think of the Civil War and segregation. Article VI was invoked to prevent the seccession of Southern states. In 1957, President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered them to protect school children as they entered desegregated schools. In both instances, just as in California, state legislatures believed they could pass and enforce laws that conflicted with the US Constitution and federal law. Californians need to wake up and read some law books and history books and get over the notion that pot can be or should be legalized. All that does is waste time and resources.

  43. Once again we see ideology, however misplaced and born of misinformation (or even worse..religion!) trumping what THE PEOPLE have said and voted for.

    There is no law barring marriage between people of different races in California. What if these cops (and I use that term VERY loosely) decided that even though it was legal they wanted to stop it..for WHATEVER reason they wanted? How about deciding alcohol was an evil mind-altering substance and decided to start arresting customers as they left the liquor store? Or possibly that even though slavery was overturned and laws now protect anyone/everyone from being taken as a slave by the guy up the street…these cops felt that law should be ignored and in fact actively fought against?

    What is clear…..totally clear, is that when these police officers still do the crap they do they are never brought up on charges. Why? Well my friends..the answer is multi-layered with the biggest two reasons being MONEY and IGNORANCE. I can say this with conviction…I was vehemently opposed to marijuana before it LITERALLY saved my life in 2004. Nobody can or ever will be able to change my opinion now. The reason is because I am one of those that now speak up and fight for what I believe not out of ignorance or blind devotion, but out of experience and an anger that so much of what I was taught in D.A.R.E. in the 80s was lies and scare tactics.

    I wonder how much better D.A.R.E. could have been had they only told the truth and not filled our heads with propaganda put together by the religious right and people (Nancy Regan) who felt the best way to help those less “enilightened” than her and her ilk was to scare them into believing what THEY falsley believed. Now, I find it SO very difficult to take any anti-marijuana argument seriously with anyone opposed. They tend to know not what they speak and keep using the same damn tired old arguments that have been disproven time and time again. The funny part is when they realize I am right and they have nothing left to say. It typically makes them order ANOTHER beer!

    I beg anyone and everyone to stand up, say what you believe in and live it outright each and every day.

  44. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Clearly, the local and state police are paid via their local towns/counties/state…….
    if their salaries are cut (big budget crisis in California and the rest of the nation)
    then maybe the message will be sent.

    Hopefully (although I’m not that hopeful) Obama will at minimum keep his promise not to use federal money to fund DEA raids against organizations operating legally under state medical MJ laws.

    Remember, politicians have people they work for that believe they are more powerful than the average American. They are called lobbyists (not to mention secret societies of wealthy people) who have big $ from corporations who do not believe medical marijuana to be profitable.

    The right wing “moralists” in this nation piggyback on that, along with all the money being pumped into Partnership for a Drug Free America by the Tobacco industry.

    Nancy and Ronald Reagan did not believe in Marijuana prohibition, nor that it was bad or unhealthy or evil. They believed in controlling the masses, and doing the bidding of their handlers. Period.

    One of their daughters actually grew Marijuana in her California backyard back in the 80s in protest of her mother and father’s policies.

    Back to cops: one problem is that an extreme militaristic, right wing culture is allowed to go unchecked. That’s how we get bad cops, and cops who don’t really believe in the law, or the constitution.

  45. “The reporter and critics need to read the US Constitution, partcularly Article VI (not Amendment 6) where it is spelled out clearly that federal law is the “law of the land” when a state law is in conflict with it. Think of the Civil War and segregation. Article VI was invoked to prevent the seccession of Southern states. In 1957, President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered them to protect school children as they entered desegregated schools. In both instances, just as in California, state legislatures believed they could pass and enforce laws that conflicted with the US Constitution and federal law. Californians need to wake up and read some law books and history books and get over the notion that pot can be or should be legalized. All that does is waste time and resources.”

    In both instances you mentioned, Civil War and segregation, the Federal government was protecting the civil right its people. This made Article VI an easy sell because the Feds were doing the right thing. During both the Civil War and Segregation science was showing that Blacks were not inferior to whites though the ideology of many was that Blacks were inferior. This is simply not the case now as it is the States trying to protect the civil rights of its residents from the Feds ideology. Federal law may trump State law but that does not mean that the States should not pass medicinal marijuana laws. After enough states pass laws it will eventually force the Feds to bend to the will of the people and scientific fact rather then the Fed forcing its ideology the people.

  46. Article VI was invoked to prevent the seccession of Southern states. In 1957, President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered them to protect school children as they entered desegregated schools. In both instances, just as in California, state legislatures believed they could pass and enforce laws that conflicted with the US Constitution and federal law.

    Olivia
    ………………..

    Best Law Help

  47. Article VI was invoked to keep the seccession of Rebel states. In 1957, Chairperson Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas Nationalistic Safety and ordered them to protect edifice children as they entered desegregated schools. In both instances, vindicatory as in Calif., utter legislatures believed they could reach and oblige laws that conflicted with the US Commencement and federal law.

    Olivia
    …………………….
    BestLawHelp

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