Drug War

U.S. Attorney Cracking Down on Medical Marijuana Says 'California Law Doesn't Matter'


"At the end of the day, California law doesn't matter," a spokesman for André Birotte Jr., the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, says in Tim Fernholz's recent New Republic piece about the Justice Department's medical marijuana crackdown. Birotte, you may recall, tried to finesse this question by claiming there is not a single medical marijuana dispensary in his district (which covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Bernardino, and San Luis Obispo counties) that complies with state law, which allows nonprofit distribution by patient collectives or cooperatives. But as Fernnholz notes, it is clear from the feds' indiscriminate enforcement actions that Birotte and California's three other U.S. attorneys do not care about such legal niceties:

The U.S. Attorneys' enforcement actions haven't been limited to…egregious state lawbreakers. Indeed, they've sent letters to non-profit cooperatives warning that they could be prosecuted and their property seized. In Mendocino County, DEA agents raided the farm of a grower known for working closely with the local Sheriff to regulate marijuana, down to individually marking each of his plants with a zip-tie to confirm that it was allowed by state law.

Fernholz mentions the 10th Amendment challenge to the crackdown by Americans for Safe Access, which cites California Attorney General Kamala Harris' recent objection:

While there are definite ambiguities in state law that must be resolved either by the state legislature or [by] the courts, an overly broad federal enforcement campaign will make it more difficult for legitimate patients to access physician-recommended medicine in California. I urge the federal authorities in the state to adhere to the United States Department of Justice's stated policy and focus their enforcement efforts on significant traffickers of illegal drugs.

I traced the twists and turns of the Obama administration's medical marijuana policy in the October issue of Reason. Yesterday I noted that the forbearance promised by the president depends on the whims of federal officials in each state.

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  1. As a Californian person living in California, and a non-drug user, I can safely say that Andre Birotte Jr. Is a fucking twat.

  2. As a Californian person living in California, and a non-drug user, I can safely say that Andre Birotte Jr. Is a fucking twat.

    1. And his boss is a human diva cup.

    2. Yeah, but he’s right in this case. Federal law trumps state law. In theory, intrastate commerce shouldn’t be effected by Federal Law, but the Supremes say the Commerce Cause allows it.

      If you want to legalize MJ, the only proper forum at this point to do so is the Federal government, not the individual states.

      1. Of course, our system wasn’t really designed to have crimes being enforced at the federal level, beyond those inherently connected to federal matters (e.g., treason, interference with the mails, etc.).

        I think virtually all crimes should be a matter of state law, not federal.

        1. I think virtually all crimes should be a matter of state law, not federal.

          You and the Founders, both, Pro L.

        2. Hmm. What about the Equal Rights Act (and other federal protective laws that followed)? Should it be okay for a state to decide restaurant owners have the right not to serve African Americans? Employers the right not to hire African Americans?

        3. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

          With no gold or silver, do the States exist? By State I mean “New Hampshire”, and not the federal franchise that is “The State of New Hampshire”. If “The States of” are but subjects and agents of a bigger “Government”, why do people pay taxes to both, would this be double taxation? Perhaps the Constitution was the abolition of the states, “a more perfect union”?

        4. . the Constitution of the United States, having delegated to Congress a power to punish treason, counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States, piracies, and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations, and no other crimes whatsoever; and it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that “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,” therefore the act of Congress, passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, and intituled “An Act in addition to the act intituled An Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States,” as also the act passed by them on the — day of June, 1798, intituled “An Act to punish frauds committed on the bank of the United States,” (and all their other acts which assume to create, define, or punish crimes, other than those so enumerated in the Constitution,) are altogether void, and of no force; and that the power to create, define, and punish such other crimes is reserved, and, of right, appertains solely and exclusively to the respective States, each within its own territory.

          -Thomas Jefferson
          Kentucky Resolution

      2. There is no reason to bother with formalities when dealing with laws that are wrong. Fuck that.

      3. no, there is a third option

        a state legalizes medical mj (or legalizes MJ period) and then a fucking governor


        that is the third option

        the governor of the state is the HEAD of the executive branch and is in charge of being the one that sees that the will of the people/legislature is carried out, as per law, and if the feds interfere with what the governor sees as state’s rights , it’s the governors JOB to resist it.

      4. Hey pal, better go read the 10th Amendment again.

        1. i’ve read it, thanx. commerce clause has been expanded beyond all reasonable meaning. time for a state governor to have some fucking sack and stand up to the feds vis a vis medical MJ

    3. You can say that again.

    4. What are you a Mormon? I have a hard time believing you don’t use any drugs at all. Plus even Mormons can use asprin and stuff (right?).

      1. mormons can use dilaudid, percocet or whatever as long as it is prescribed

  3. Marijuana advocates are largely skeptical of the Obama administration’s intentions, saying that its crackdown is motivated not by a desire to fight criminality, but by a fear that the burgeoning medical marijuana industry was threatening its own authority.

    Yeah, no shit. Federal authorities easing off the necks of marijuana distributors meant more of them sprang up in state that allowed them. That kind of bottom-up development is not central planning. Central planning is key to utopia.

  4. It is about time. It is illegal after all and like it or not the law’s the law and must be enforced. This will save California, the whole state is going to pot because all the people who take the pot for ‘medical’ reasons. It is why they are broke, the experts all agree. There are many safer drugs available by prescription than ‘medical’ pot. I agree with the libertarian philosophy but not when it comes to drugs, they are not good for us and cause violence and accidents, that is why society is protected by keeping them illegal so no one uses them. Even if not fully effective it is the morally right thing to do, no intoxicant should be legal, except alcohol because it isn’t a drug and it has a long history of safe use in western society. You should forget about drugs and get on the war on drugs bandwagon if you want anyone to take your philosophy seriously.

    1. California is not broke because medical MJ is legal. Stop being stupid.

    2. I’m sorry, the troll-name Joe has been retired. Please choose another troll-name.

      1. Further, when writing this type of tripe you must use the proper troll name of Juanita.

    3. “Going to pot.” Ha! I just got that.

      1. What he did? I saw it.

    4. Don’t do drugs. Drugs are bad, m’kay?

      1. Stay out of this Mackey

    5. Amusing but a bit obvious that it was trolling, especially the “except alchohol because it isn’t a drug” part.

    6. You really need to review your point of view. All prescription and otc pain relief involves the liver. Pot doesn’t. That’s the only point I’ll bring up to you since you have no idea what you are speaking about.

    7. Obviously you have never had a loved one sick with cancer and the only thing that made him feel better was MJ. I have been around people who smoke marijuana, they are very mellow, happy, hungry, but not violent. I have also been around people who are intoxicated with alcohol, they were violent, nasty and disgusting.

  5. Oh, and alcohol is most certainly a drug.

    (Maybe you are trolling. So hard to tell these days.)

  6. A United States Attorney publicly declared that state law doesn’t matter. Unitary democracy, or a constitutional republic of federalism? You decide!


      1. You forgot the STOP RESISTING!

  7. So this is “Fucking Stupid As Shit Wednesday!”, isn’t it?

    1) FUCK California
    2) FUCK Andr? Birotte Jr. even more

    It used to be such a great country – so much hope. Now, just the slide into irrelevence, turmoil and history. 🙁

    1. Great, world-defining civilizations usually self-destruct. Outside our borders, nobody can challenge us. We’re supreme. But from within, we’ve been sinking deeper and deeper since Jefferson’s last years into a shithole we might now be too deep in to escape. Our country is rotting from the INSIDE. I hope to God we can reverse the trend, and soon.

  8. Andr? Birotte Jr.
    Suck a donkey dick, you donkey fucker.
    You or someone like you ever interfere with my individual freedom the way you are fucking with these people, it will be donezo.

    Google your name, motherfucker.

    1. Colony Burger, well put my friend.

  9. “At the end of the day, California law doesn’t matter,”

    It’s honesty; just not the “refreshing” kind.

  10. So is it just that Obama’s administration really has no control at all over career Justice attorneys, or is it that everyone from Obama on down is lying through their teeth about their policy on medical pot?

  11. There is a way to ensure the federal government doesn’t raid any more medical marijuana dispensaries. We need to remove its power via legislation. Pass H.R. 2306 and limit the federal government’s power to enforcing only cross-border trafficking.

    Regardless of how you stand on the marijuana debate we can all agree it should be left up to the states and the federal crackdown is an abuse that California should not have to tolerate.

    Tell your representatives -> http://pvox.co/CdiFqY

    “[Prohibition] attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes.” – Abraham Lincoln

    1. HR 2306 is already dead in the water. It was sent to House Judiciary whose chairman, a rethuglian, has already stated it will not be heard in committee. So it will go nowhere.

      What needs to be done is to have the CSA changed to direct the head of the ONDCP (drug czar) to only tell the truth based on science. As it stands right now, Drug Czar is required by law to lie, and it’s perfectly legal to spend taxpayer money to lie to the taxpaying public.

  12. Yep, Its finally time one of these government goons admitted the truth. Your vote, your participation do not matter to the government. Tenth amendment begs to differ and the governors of these states need to get a backbone and stand up and defend their state from the feds. If your governor or legislators do not stand up to the feds and tell them to gtfo, vote them all out of office. All D’s, all R’s. vote for the greeneyed monster first if you have to but lets get these people out of office and get someone in who will support the people of their state.

  13. An appeal to Prohibitionists:

    Most of us are aware by now that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high, ‘no matter what.’ So why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future. If you remotely believe that people will one day quit using any of these ‘at present’ illegal drugs, then you are exhibiting a degree of naivety parallel only with those poor wretches who voluntarily drank the poisoned Kool-Aid in Jonestown.

    Even if you cannot stand the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and over a trillion dollars on this dangerous farce. Practically everybody is now aware that Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results. So why do you wish to continue with it? Do you actually think you may have something to lose If we were to start basing drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies?

    Maybe you’re a police officer, a prison guard, or a local politician who’s scared of losing employment, overtime-pay, kick-backs or those regular fat bribes? But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies and marauding thugs brandishing gold-plated AK-47s?

    Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your ghastly prohibition-engendered mayhem!

    Prohibition Prevents Regulation : Legalize, Regulate and Tax!

  14. I’m glad I’m not a cancer patient in need of this medicine – shame on the Feds.

  15. Hope this country gets all thats comming ! Founding Fathers betrayed by shiteaters in the whithouse !

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