Feds Now Fight War on Medical Marijuana with Passive Aggressive Strategies

Categories: Marijuana
WikiLeaks_Holder_CAPS107.large.jpg
US Attorney Melinda Haag, weed-killer
Hard to believe it's been only two years since Attorney General Eric Holder shocked -- and relieved -- California's medical marijuana users when he said the federal government had no interest in prosecuting state-legal cannabis activities. The Bush Era was over -- no more doors kicked in by Kevlar-clad storm troopers or cancer patients dragged into court for six plants.

There have been indeed fewer boots through doors, but it appears the federal government's goal hasn't changed -- merely its tactics.

This year alone, the Justice Department has imprisoned a growing number of state law-abiding growers and dispensary operators. The Internal Revenue Service has determined that dispensaries can't claim the cost of their product on their taxes; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms decided medical marijuana users can't use guns; every major financial institution has closed down medical marijuana-related accounts, leaving dispensaries with no banking options, and just this week, a cease-and-desist letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag showed up in some dispensaries' landlords' mailboxes. It informed them that their properties could be forfeited and their tenants could be thrown in prison for 40 years unless the dispensaries close.

Welcome to the new war on medical marijuana, waged by lawyers and accountants instead of police.
According to a copy of Haag's letter obtained by SF Weekly, all the dispensaries told to shut down or be seized within 45 days are within 1,000 feet of a school. That's perfectly legal under state medical marijuana law, but subject to a federal penalty enhancement, which was passed to punish street dealers operating near schools, parks, colleges, and a variety of other public spaces.

Haag throws down the gauntlet on both the dispensary operators and their property owners. "Violation of the federal law referenced ... is a felony crime," Haag wrote  "An owner of real property with knowledge or reason to know of illegal drug sales on real property that he owns or controls may have his interest in the property forfeited without compensation."

In San Francisco, dispensaries opened since the 2005 Medical Cannabis Act must be 1,000 feet away from a school, but there are a number of dispensaries which opened their doors prior to the law, and are ergo "grandfathered in." Landlords for at least three of these dispensaries -- those of 208 Valencia Caregivers, Mr. Nice Guy, and Medithrive -- received Haag's letter, according to sources.

Dispensaries in Marin County and Sacramento also received the letter, according to NORML. One, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, is the state's oldest dispensary, and is subject to penalization under the federal law Haag cited because it's within 1,000 feet of a park, NORML said.

Jack Gillund, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, said the office has no comment. Haag could not be reached.

To the local medical marijuana community, these new set of tactics are more "passive aggressive" than the broken-door cowboy policy of the Bush days. Yet in many ways, they're more effective. "If you can't declare your business expenses on your taxes, and if you can't open a bank account, how can you run a business?" asked one local attorney specializing in medical marijuana, who asked not to be identified.

Doing it this way also robs the medical marijuana patient community of its best offense: Public outrage. With no raids, no protest or photo opportunities present, "They've systematically changed their approach -- probably after talking to a PR professional," the attorney added.

It appears no local dispensaries have yet taken any action on the Haag letter. Brendan Hallinan, an attorney representing one of the affected dispensaries, said he hoped to contact Haag's office before commenting to local media.

In a news release issued Wednesday, California NORML declared that the Obama Administration had ramped up its war on medical marijuana.

"It's an outrageous abuse of law enforcement resources for the DOJ to use property forfeiture to enforce meddlesome, nanny-state regulations," Cal NORML Director Dale Gieringer said. "The federal government has no business dictating local zoning decisions. No one has any problems with [the affected dispensaries] except the bureaucrats in Washington."

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly


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peter l. davis
peter l. davis

how can the federal government step in and arrest someone who is selling a state approved product? if the majority of a state pass medical marijuana, and has the approval of more than half of the people of a given state, how is it that the government can step in, and say no? can someone please tell me.

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Oldbillmillsaps
Oldbillmillsaps

I read every comment and as much as I hate to say it, The Enemies of Freedom, will use every ounce of misinformation, and outright lies to prevent the legal consumption of marijuana for as long as they possibly cam Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and the Alcohol industry, really do not want to see marijuana ever legal...ever. We must educate the public...it will take a long time, it's a big fight. Of course it should not be, but it will.  Just keep on keeping on...that's all I can say.

l_yard
l_yard

I'm afraid there are probably too many comments here, so my message may go unheard. It is important, so I'll give it a shot...

The reason cannabis is illegal is because of propaganda and disinformation. The three major industries that fund this disinformation are big pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and tobacco industries. They have the most to loose from marijuana legalization, and they have have the cash to buy all the political figures they need to make sure it remains illegal.

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VincentVonDudler
VincentVonDudler

This two part plan is the only action the citizens of the US need to take to end federal marijuana prohibition:1) EVERYONE that sees these links sign up at both sites and weigh in on the debate- http://pvox.co/CdiFqY- http://wh.gov/gDQ2) Propagate those two links and ensure that everyone that sees them go to both those sites.

Too many people are blaming the President for enforcing the federal marijuana prohibition. Contact Congress (the LEGISLATIVE branch [that's the important one when it comes to law]) via the first link. Contact Obama (the EXECUTIVE branch [until Obama vetos a passed H.R. 2306 it's on Congress - but tell Obama anyway]) via the second link. It really is THAT easy. Participate in democracy!

Hogmeister
Hogmeister

When incarceration, like war, becomes as profitable as it has (remember, correctional facilities are being privatized all over), you're going to see more of it.  So sad to see what's become of our republic.  Change we can deceive in? 

john michalski
john michalski

violence has went down sooooo low now u want to say marijuana is bad thats bullshit!!! i think its good for u. and layers cops and every god damb goverment agent can suck a dick i smoke it and wont stop smoking it. legalize it bitch.

ValidMesic
ValidMesic

yes that is truth. Marijuana is a plant, not a drug. Just because U can use the plant as a drug, doesn't make it a drug. It's a plant.

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Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

So when are the Feds gonna go after the politicians, lawyers, and "advocates" collecting billions in taxes, "fees" and "campaign donations?"  Come on now, if it's illegal to sell it, to grow it, why is it legal for them to "tax" it?  NO TAXATION WITHOUT TOTAL DECRIMINALIZATION. .

Tfunkfizzle
Tfunkfizzle

Glad they fixed the borders, america is debt free the war is over and meth is nowhere to be found, way to go! If u wont stand by me who will? Unite, revolt! Dont be a jolker,vote for Kyle Kolker 2019!!!

Jon Popow
Jon Popow

Fight marijuana with lawyers and attorneys and force it into the hands of drug dealers and the black market.

Libertado63
Libertado63

Get over it:drugs war doesn't work and cost billlions:make money withe the weed and let peoples free of their choices!!!It's like melinda can use one doobie:she's freaky!!

Rsteeb
Rsteeb

The Federal law, Schedule I Cannabis is a damned lie.  It is time to eradicate THAT.

This crime against humanity has long outlived its time.  END it.

lee prew
lee prew

Fucking sick how brave troops are off fighting oppressive groups in foreign lands when it seems the true oppressors are running their own country (and the world). Bring the troops back home and put them to work taking down the real enemies to freedom. Our fucked up money hungry governments! Viva la revolution!    

Nicole Morgan
Nicole Morgan

I think our government could be doing something else besides picking on dispensaries and pot. i mean there are so many things thats are more apparent in our society, and i don't think pot is one of them. think about it we have racism which has been going on for decades, and from that people are killing each other all because of skin and what they perceive is right. people are hateful against one another because of others religion. there are more pressing things to change and to fix. and pot isn't one of them. that is jus a small issue that just needs to be watched and regulated within the states laws. i mean if our country is a democracy and we the people choose who we want to have in office or what we want in our cities laws, and who we choose as our state officials. where in the hell does the FEDS come in at?? NO WHERE THATS WHERE!!     and another thing yes i agree not to have the dispensaries close to schools and parks, but that doesn't mean they should close them. heres a solution......move them.     With the FEDS saying people will be arrested for not closing them down, that´s just crazy. so in a way they´re saying people should stock pile per say before they all close, with underground bunkers to hide it all. thats jus crazy for people to even think they would have to think that way or anything of that nature. and for the FEDS to just come in and say ok close down or  you will go to prison within 45 days. when its been 2 years in the making to make it a STATE ISSUE NOT A FEDERAL ISSUE. and since when did they run the states? since when did they get the ok to dictate how we people should live our lives to their liking????? 

Artbylas
Artbylas

Today we are witnessing another reason why the people are so mad at their government and institutions they appear to act only in their best interest. In simplest terms they are trying to preserve their way of life that is supported by a blotted war on drugs budget. And they will do so at any cost even keeping life saving medicine out of the hands of their own citizens, They do this like any war with propaganda, Lies and distortions. We the 99 percent can demand an end to this craziness by Calling on congress and tell your Representative to support these three bills which will correct this madness an chase the fed out of our Dr.'s offices and our dispensaries before someone else dies at their hand.1. HR 2306: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, 2. H.R. 1985: Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2011, 3. H.R. 1984: Small Business Banking Improvement Act of 2011

contact congress today at 202 224 3121 or http://www.contactingthecongre...

PrettyBoyRoy
PrettyBoyRoy

 She looks like shes doped up on cocaine that she gets from the mexican cartels! Shes probably a pill poppin junkie too. END PROHIBITION fuck all these dickheads legalize my medicine! My body natrually produces cannabinoids! They want us to have tumors, not me i smoke weed! I will never take pills ever, they want us to be pill poppin zombies!!!!!!

Seventhtragikpoet
Seventhtragikpoet

The legal dispensaries should pool thier money and start their own bank... just a thought..

Psych917
Psych917

Marijuana is a plant, not a drug. Just because U can use the plant as a drug, doesn't make it a drug. It's a plant.

A hammer is a tool, not a weapon. Just because U can use the tool as a weapon, doesn't make it a weapon. It's a tool.

guest
guest

that's why tobacco isn't illegal, because it's a plant. it contain's nicotiene plus an array of other chemicals (drugs). Marijuana is a shedule 1 drug A SHEDULE ONE, that's outrageous and completely innacurate of what a Shedule 1 drug is defined as. A schedule one is Highly addictive.... Has no medicinal usage.... Has A high rate of fatalities cuased by it's usage..... um.... tobacco?  cough hhrrrrrm 

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Well, then tell the doucebags in Congress to get rid of the Schedule law.  Turn it back to the States.  But they won't and their pals still in the state are getting a lot of $ in taxes, fees, campaign donations from dispensaries . .. and we, the patients, are getting screwed.  The courts can't change the law.  The prez  can't change the law.  Stop voting for those Demodouches who won't do anything at all in Congress, but would rather interrrogate baseball players. 

Guest
Guest

Big Pharma putting pressure on Feds. Same reason it is classified as a Schedule 1. Make it legal and the drug companies sales and stocks take a nosedive.

guest
guest

It just makes no sense, the laws really make no sense concerning weed and it feels like I'm in a fight against a group of a different breed of retards (no offense to retards) but getting into an argument with one is like trying  talk without a vocal box or trying to fit a shoe inside a foot

Sandra K Bondell
Sandra K Bondell

Time is here to stop the prohibition on medical marijuana/cannabis,,,the medical uses for cannabis are amazing, killing cancer cells, inhibiting the growth of brain tumors and breast tumors, it releases the pressure behind the eyes for glaucoma patients, it stops the nausea that people experience when receiving chemotherapy, it stops the tremors in patients with M.S., marijuana has NEVER killed anyone,,if you want to look at dangerous drugs, begin with alcohol, THE MOST dangerous drug in the world, can kill within hours from alcohol toxicity, tobacco kills over 5 million per year,,,let's stop this nonsense now,,and this will also decrease the crimes of smuggling drugs from other countries. I live in Arizona, we deal with the drug cartels daily,,,,and they have become much more dangerous than before,,,they are killing people, beheading them, we have warnings daily not to cross the border,,,so lets put an end to this now, without further delay, and without the daily lose of lives.....

Theboss
Theboss

Now here is someone that makes a lot of sense. We need about fifty million more who think like you do.

Jerrylamano
Jerrylamano

so the federal government gives these people a month and a half to pack up everything and leave or they'll be jailed for 40 years... I think its time we head to wall street and really turn the party up a notch.. because all i smell for americas future is a police state with curfews in place and jails filled to the brim with innocent people. time to take down wall street, washington, and corporate america before all the sheep are in the pen.

Theboss
Theboss

Your just now 'smelling' a police state in America's future? Wake up and smell the coffee. The US has been a police state for some time. It only overtly became so after 911 when Bush signed the Patriot Act into law. Haven't you noticed the consolidation of police powers under Homeland Security? There was a reason the agencies were set up separately to begin with. Remember checks and balances?  Have you seen the statistics on our jails and prison systems? We are incarcerating more people in this country than any other in the world. Guess what else? A great deal of them ARE innocent. Their only crime was copping to a lesser crime for less time so the prosecutors could advance their almighty conviction rates. All the sheep are already either in a pen or completely asleep.

Nschrader12
Nschrader12

bull, NO CONSTITUTION! since when do we look at that thing anymore?? She is a Hag, that needs to sit and smoke a doobie and chill out. This damn country is corrupt. i think we need to replace every politition in America and start over with the new ones. Or we could pull out the CONSTITUTION and go with what Americans are SUPPOSED to do and follow that document! I apologize to our founding fathers that our nation doesnt go by the rules that were set for this country. Isnt the state able to be able to do what they want without the feds stickin their damn nose in everything! Thats what i thought was the rule.  PROHIBITION is rediculous! peoples lives get ruined everyday because of a fuckin plant. why dont we let the people do what they want to do for once! In 2012 Cannabis will be either decriminalized and or legalized. then the gov't can sit on it and spin!

12345
12345

MS. HAAG IS AN OLD BAG... GET THE WOMEN OUT OF THE OFFICES!!!!! THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GONNA HAVE TO FIGHT MILLIONS OF US, WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UNITED WE STAND, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS NOTHING MORE THEN HOMELAND TERRORISTS, AND WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS LIKE THOMAS JEFFERSON AND GOERGE WASHINGTON DID... WHERES THE COURAGE THESE DAYS??

hot babe
hot babe

 here's some courage--the courage to call you out as a sexist douche bag who needs to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. "get the women out of the offices"??? are you kidding? are you really blaming someone's gender for the mess we're in with the feds? you're a cockless tool. if you don't like women, then go gay. get the fuck outta here.

Steverain
Steverain

just disgusting  the tactics change but nothing else. GROSS!!!  Eric Holder is a passive aggressive douche!

12345
12345

STAND UP PEOPLE!!!

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