Medical Marijuana

Obama's DOJ: Working Hard to Interfere with California's Medical Marijuana System–For You!


Pro-Obama administration pro-pot legalization folk, you just make me sad. Here's the latest on how Obama's Department of Justice is respecting local option when it comes to pot, via California Watch:

The Obama administration has warned Oakland over the licensing of four giant pot farms, saying the plan is in violation of state and federal law and could trigger multiple legal actions against the city. 

Officials from the Justice Department's civil division and the U.S. attorney's office in San Francisco delivered the blunt message to Oakland City Attorney John Russo, according to two officials who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to talk about the meetings.

"The warning is clear: These are illegal, large-scale pot growing operations, with Oakland planning to get a cut of the illicit profits," said one official….

What are these goddamn narcs so upset about?

At issue is a controversial ordinance, approved by the Oakland City Council last July, to license four "industrial" facilities to cultivate and process marijuana and sell the product to medical marijuana dispensaries around the state. If Oakland issues permits and the facilities are built, they could be the largest of their kind in the world.

In November, Oakland voters approved a measure that imposes a 5-percent business tax on all medical marijuana operators, including future pot farms, opening a potentially lucrative revenue stream for the city.

Remember when that awesome Obama was all "hands off, not our priority" about state medical pot? Yet do not forget that "in unambiguous compliance with state law" loophole, large enough to drive any number of federal raids through:

after closely studying the Oakland plan some federal officials have concluded the ordinance violates state law because it treats pot farms as distinct business entities for tax purposes, thus severing the direct connection between cultivator and patient that underpins the legal standing of a medical marijuana collective or cooperative.

"Oakland would be on the hook for violating state and federal law," said one official who foresees possible civil and criminal litigation if the pot farms go into operation early next year as planned.

And that ain't all for this pot-friendly groovy administration with other priorities:

The Obama administration's challenge to Oakland over large-scale marijuana cultivation appears to be part of a broader federal effort to bring order to California's booming medical marijuana industry following last month's defeat of Proposition 19, the initiative to legalize recreational pot.

Eight days after the vote California's four U.S. attorneys met with DEA and Justice Department officials to develop a plan to deal with some of the loopholes and gray areas in the state's medical marijuana program, according to two officials briefed on the discussions.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said the Nov. 10 meeting focused on a "state-wide federal enforcement strategy" for marijuana but declined to provide details.

And in conclusion: sigh.

NEXT: "He would walk up to one of my friends and say, 'It's good that you guys are getting ready for the jihad.'"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Remember when that awesome Obama was all insert whatever opinion you like about insert your pet issue or something?”

    It’s always a lie. Every goddamn thing he says.

    1. Only the good things he says are lies. He’s very reliable about following through on the bad things.

    2. If O tells me he is lying, smoke will start to pour from my ears. Logic is a little bird, sitting in a tree, logic is a pretty flower that smells terrible…

  2. Isn’t the entire state of California already guilty of criminal conspiracy for collecting taxes from the pot business?

    1. Arguably so. If Prop 19 passed I was dying to see if the Feds would use civil forfeiture to seize tax proceeds realized from pot sales.

  3. Where are all those constitutionalist, federalist, limited-gov’t republicans to step up and say “CUT IT OUT” to big bad Obama on this one?


    1. They are too busy bray for Assange’s blood.

      1. Damn you, gerund! Damn you to hell!

        1. Participle actually.

        2. Gerund = Braying is what Republicans do for Assange blood.

    2. In my fantasy world, a Senator goes to Obama and says he is going to put a hold on every bill Obama deems important until he gets the DOJ under control.

      In the real world, it’s all crickets.

      1. In my fantasy world, that same Senator then shits on Obama’s desk

    3. I’m sure the principled folks in the tea party movement will be marching against big government dea and doj any day now, well maybe not…

      1. The tea party has never been about ending the drug war. I admit it’s a defect of the movement.

        However, you’ll notice that the people who purportedly are against the drug war — leftists — don’t march against Obama either.

    4. I’m one, and I’ve been saying to Obama (not to mention Clinton and a couple of Bushes)since the outset.

      1. I’ll add that, while Obama might be sympathetic to pot growers and consumers, he and his lackeys in DoJ are far more interested in crushing anything resembling federalism. So under the bus go the tokers…

  4. U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said the Nov. 10 meeting focused on a “state-wide federal enforcement strategy” for marijuana but declined to provide details.

    If Federal occupation and nation-building can work in Afghanistan, then California should be a piece of cake.

    1. Because we know how well that strategy has worked at stopping drug production in Afghanistan.

    2. Hey–nation-building at home!

      I like it. I like it a lot.

  5. If you could get a sheriff and elected officials with balls all it would take is the first federal raid being jailed and tried in the cities/counties courts. Fuck federal law enforcement. I have a hatred of local enforcement for several reasons, but I’d side with Barney long before I sided with any DEA assclown.

    1. Violence isn’t always the answer, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t immediately clarify the gravity of a situation in everyone’s mind.

    2. That sheriff would be spending some time in Leavenworth next to Sgt. Wikileaks.

  6. Press release buried in that story has me wondering if Californian entrepreneurs are siphoning demand from Mexico.

    …large quantities of the marijuana to areas in and around Boston, where the drug was sold for about $3,000 per pound, about three times what it sells for in California.

    Are the folks in Mass still getting a good deal when compared to stuff from Mexico?

    1. Well the Mexican brick shit is inexpensive anywhere you go, but my guess is that there is some fluctuation based on local market pressures. So yeah, I’d bet the schwag is more expensive in the northeast just like the dank is.

  7. Ironically, this is good thing in that it means the small mom and pop marijuana grows will be allowed and stops the ‘walmartization’ of marijuana grows.

    further irony, dems rail against giant corporations yet their regulations and laws are so burdensome for small businesses that they give giant corporation a huge competitive advantage.

    1. That’s not by accident.

    2. What’s wrong with the “walmartization” of pot? I’d love it if they could drive down prices even more. Oh, and “Mom and Pop” don’t exist in growing weed. It’s drug cartels or sophisticated large growers who love the lack of a good distribution system to keep prices high.

      1. I think Mom and Pop growers do exist, but it’s like craft beer breweries — an interesting phenomenon and quality product, but their effect on the market gets lost in the noise.

        1. Not so much anymore. Craft is over 5% now. Enough that it is causing the big guys to change their strategy (especially over the last few years when overall beer sales have dropped but craft has been growing even faster).

          1. Growth of the craft brewing industry in the first half of 2010 was 9% by volume and 12% by retail dollars.

            Overall, U.S. beer sales were down an estimated 2.7% by volume in the first half of 2010.

            The craft brewing sales share in 2009 was 4.3% by volume and 6.9% by dollars.

            Any industry growing revenue by 12% is doing fine. Even with the 9% growth by volume, if that holds for all of 2010, then the 4.3% by volume would grow to about 4.7%. And thats assuming the overall volume stayed the same, which is hasnt, its dropping.

            That is also not counting brewers like Goose Island, who would be the 13th largest craft brewer is the Brewers Association counted them as craft. I count them, but the BA is the trade org for craft, and they dont count the Goose.

            1. Fair enough. My point wasn’t to minimize the importance of craft breweries, just to point out that the existence of big industry doesn’t eliminate boutique vendors.

              1. I agree, but Craft is getting larger than boutique.

                Heck, Boston Beer Company may cause the BA to change their definition (right now, their definition requires “craft” brewers to sell under 2M barrels annually, BBC may top that).

        2. And, one more:

          Craft brewer retail dollar value in 2009 was an estimated $6.98 billion

          $7B doesnt get lost in the noise. Unless you are in congress.

    3. Ironically, this is good thing in that it means the small mom and pop marijuana grows will be allowed and stops the ‘walmartization’ of marijuana grows.

      How you can write that under the name “stopdrugwar” is beyond me. Do you want to stop the drug war or stop the drug trade from being dominated by large distributors?

  8. Police and Gaoler unions are big time donors to the Dems, The unions make a lot of money off of and have high social standing because of the drug war. They do not want the drug war to end, therefore, to keep them happy the Dems will never do anything serious about ending it.

    So the Dems prattle on to their useful idiot voting base about being more open about pot legalization while not upsetting a big part of their money base by actually doing anything.

  9. Obama’s record with the bill of rights is rivaling Nixon’s. Just waiting for the wage and price controls to kick in.

    1. A Nixon with a brighter smile and bigger ears. Complete with an enemies list.

  10. some federal officials have concluded the ordinance violates state law

    Shouldn’t that be for state officials to say?

  11. …delivered the blunt message …

    Heh…I get it.

  12. I’m not going to hold my breath, but Oakland should call the bluff. Does the Obama administration really have the political capital to wage a highly publicized court battle with an incorporated city over med-pot? I say bring on the fight.

  13. “…according to two officials who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to talk about the meetings.”

    Hey, hey, hey, that’s classified information, there! Did the “officials” have the right to release that information? Does California Watch have the right to publish information they don’t own? Hell no! Websites aren’t media, they aren’t press (except for websites put up by previously established mainstream press entities, of course). They can just shut the HEEEELLLLL up! And if they won’t we can make them! We will by God WIN this Holy War on Electronic Terrorism! The gloves are off now, buddy!

  14. In other words, the headline is: “The Republicrats Maintain the Status Quo”


    (I’m still pissed, just not surprised).

  15. Pro-pot obama supporters are the apotheosis of the term “useful idiots”

  16. Lost in this is the fact that the USDOJ is dictating to California what California’s state laws mean – without even bothering to ask California. This has implications that go far beyond medical marijuana, e.g., “honest services” cases based on the USDOJ telling a state what its bribery laws “really” mean.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.