Medical Marijuana Crackdown: U.S. Attorney Has No Regrets

Categories: Marijuana
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Benjamin Wagner, the explainer... sort of.
A flurry of media reports accompanied the Justice Department's crackdown on medical marijuana, announced at an October 2011 press conference in which California's four federal prosecutors outlined plans to attack the state's marijuana industry.

But since that media appearance, little information has trickled out of the federal government, and a "no comment" is the best Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for Northern California, has offered by way of explanation for her office shutting down six medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco and Marin counties.

And that's by design, said Benjamin Wagner, Haag's Sacramento counterpart, in an interview given to Hearst Newspapers' Washington bureau.

"As U.S. attorneys, it's not our job to go out there and engage in public debate," said Wagner, who added that he and other officials have "no regrets" over their campaign, which has to date shut down hundreds of dispensaries statewide.

State law in California allows for the use of medical marijuana, and legislation passed at the state level in 2003 allows for patients to "organize collectively" in order to grow and distribute the drug. This has led to storefront dispensaries which pay taxes, acquire business licenses, and in the case of San Francisco and other cities, operate within a local legal framework.

These businesses are "huge dispensaries, operating for profit," according to Wagner, who has to date offered no proof of these profits. In San Francisco at least, one of the city's smallest dispensaries was shut down by Haag, and all dispensaries must submit to annual inspections to ensure that they are operating as nonprofits.

Nonetheless, "[the crackdown] wasn't a lack of good faith on our part," Wagner said. "We were alarmed by explosive growth of these large commercial operations. These huge dispensaries are focused on profits, not helping sick people."

No dispensary has been charged with a crime during the crackdown; dispensaries have voluntarily shut their doors or been evicted by their landlords, who were told that they would face property forfeitures or long prison terms otherwise.

The medical marijuana industry in the state blew up in 2009 following a Justice Department memo that said state-legal medical marijuana cultivators, operators, and users wouldn't face federal prosecution for obeying state law. That memo was seen as a green light to get into the cannabis-growing game, which crashed the wholesale price of pot. Later, the memo was proved to not really be Justice Department policy.

"Conditions on the ground" have changed from 2009 to 2012, Wagner said, probably referring to the growth of the industry -- now one of the state's biggest -- as well as cities' willingness to tax and regulate it.

"A lot of people had a financial interest in promoting marijuana and were probably quite deliberate in misreading [the memo]," Wagner told Hearst.

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Bankruptcy attorney norman ok
Bankruptcy attorney norman ok

 Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.

Slpshtjcksn
Slpshtjcksn

Ahh, it's fine for big Pharm to make record profits marketing drugs to the children of unsuspecting parents, and holding poor seniors hostage with inflated prices and drugs that cause more problems then they cure!

Jalexjohn
Jalexjohn

yes - let's remember that the pot growing counties in california opposed statewide legilization - I guess they want it legal enough for their huge profits but not completely legal - sounds like big business to me

medical alarm
medical alarm

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Bleh
Bleh

I like how its ok for pharmaceutical companies to be FOR profit while _medical_ marijuana dispensaries have to be non profit.

David K
David K

Medical marijuana - from its inception - was always a ruse to legalize pot.  Everyone knows this.  The government knows it.  The "patients" know it.  The voters know it.  We in California have been playing this little game called "how do we legalize pot without actually admitting that we're legalizing pot?"  It's not like the feds weren't going to figure this out at some point.

I don't know what I'm trying to say here, exactly.  Maybe just give us a break with the whole "hurting sick people" line of crap.  Everyone knows that the whole point of medical marijuana was always a trojan horse to legalize pot for everyone.

Kerriganm
Kerriganm

I live in pain every day. A LOT of pain. I wake up with it. I live with it all day. I go to bed with it (if the pain lets me sleep). I didn't do anything wrong to get this way- it just happened. I take pain pills every day and they don't help very much. Plus, they have unpleasant side effects. Plus, they're addictive. Plus, they make my constant nausea even worse.

Forget any underlying "schemes"- what is legalized marijuana doing? It's helping me get through today without wanting to put myself out of my misery. That's what it's doing. What did it do for my grandmother, who died of cancer? It helped her pain and nausea, as well. It made her life a little better while she waited to die. What did it do for my friend, who died of AIDS? It made his last weeks and months somewhat less terrible.

Forget conspiracies. What is legalized medical marijuana doing? It's helping people who desperately need help. That's what it's doing.

GanjaFarmer
GanjaFarmer

Wtf are they gonna do when Michigan legalizes weed for everyone 21 an older this Nov? They ain't gonna do shit , what these fuckheads need to do is start shutting down pharmaceutical companies that make poison painkillers! Fucking dumb asses

GanjaFarmer
GanjaFarmer

These dumb bastards should be deported, send their punk asses to Cuba, they are not wanted here, smoke weed every day and overgrow this piece of shit government!

Gyrogearloose108
Gyrogearloose108

In My Opinion,  They have no regrets because they are psychopaths.  Psychopaths don't experience guilt or shame, they have simply not evolved to that point.  Psychopaths are also called moral imbeciles.  They also don't engage in public debate because they are going to lose.  These individuals do not think, that is why they are valuable to the cowards who think they are the tyranny of God, and have authority over you because they are afraid of plants and life itself.  These lying parasites would not do well in the real, free world, that's why they are so afraid and work so hard to harm others and force themselves to live psychotic lives.  These are the worst people in our society, they feed their families by harming the sick, and living a life where lying is the norm, that's about as far away from justice as you can get.

Guest
Guest

These guys make me so gosh darn angry.Wagner, but it's ok for Florida to have tons and tons of Pain Management clinics without tracking records? Where as these Pain Management clinics distribute narcotics that actually kill people from overdosing.I'm not from Florida, but Current TV does reach my television set.http://current.com/shows/vanguard/911...While they are closing the Marijuana dispensarieshttp://www.utsandiego.com/news...These pain management clinics keep and stay opened for business.http://current.com/shows/vangu...Ridiculous and I am furious at this govt.

Flub
Flub

 I hope you die of cancer.

hyaregf
hyaregf

"As U.S. attorneys, it's not our job to go out there and engage in public debate," said Wagner

He's right. They are basically police and they have their mission statement. Don't expect them to start thinking for themselves and questioning their actions. They are not getting paid to think. THAT is supposed to be the responsibility of the voters and the legislative branch... 

Gyrogearloose108
Gyrogearloose108

In My Opinion,  They have no regrets because they are psychopaths.  Psychopaths don't experience guilt or shame, they have simply not evolved to that point.  Psychopaths are also called moral imbeciles.  They also don't engage in public debate because they are going to lose.  These individuals do not think, that is why they are valuable to the cowards who think they are the tyranny of God, and have authority over you because they are afraid of plants and life itself.  These lying parasites would not do well in the real, free world, that's why they are so afraid and work so hard to harm others and force themselves to live psychotic lives.  These are the worst people in our society, they feed their families by harming the sick, and living a life where lying is the norm, that's about as far away from justice as you can get.

hyaregf
hyaregf

"As U.S. attorneys, it's not our job to go out there and engage in public debate,"

He's right, it's not their job. They are basicially, police. Their mission is simply enforcement. Don't expect them to start thinking for themselves and questioning their mission, it's not their job.   

Stupidity.
Stupidity.

Spiderwoman71,

You are either not very bright or work for (or are in close proximity to) the government.

Have you stopped to ask yourself this?

 Why is everyone so damn upset about a plant, ...that science has PROVEN has little to no ill effects, has never directly killed ANYONE and has multitude of positive medical benefits that the government has not only denied and/or refused to admit, but has actively suppressed and launched disinformation campaigns about ?

 If there are some people that smoke it just because it makes them feel good... so what? I would rather deal with someone that has smoked a little pot then an annoying drunk.

It comes down to personal choice, alcohol and tobacco are a cancerous blight on humanity... where is the governmental outrage about those substances?

 Hiding behind the money from those industries lobbyists and tax dollars, that's where.

 The real profiteers here are the government and law enforcement... this is a simple case of protecting financial interests, and securing/creating  law enforcement jobs.

States are letting their prison systems go to the private sector, and GUARANTEEING occupancy rates.... It's prison for profit.

Read The Emperor Wears No Clothes, get a clue.

Sharon A Richter
Sharon A Richter

They are 2 faced bastards all of them!! On one hand Our Gov has a patient of the medical benefits of Cannabis( look it up ) yet still on the other hand they continue to deny it and they continue to ruin lives! 

Sharon A Richter
Sharon A Richter

I say we pass a law that says all BIG PHARMA CORPORATIONS HAVE  TO BECOME NON-PROFITS TOO!!!!!!

Gyrogearloose108
Gyrogearloose108

In My Opinion,  They have no regrets because they are psychopaths.  Psychopaths don't experience guilt or shame, they have simply not evolved to that point.  Psychopaths are also called moral imbeciles.  They also don't engage in public debate because they are going to lose.  These individuals do not think, that is why they are valuable to the cowards who think they are the tyranny of God, and have authority over you because they are afraid of plants and life itself.  These lying parasites would not do well in the real, free world, that's why they are so afraid and work so hard to harm others and force themselves to live psychotic lives.  These are the worst people in our society, they feed their families by harming the sick, and living a life where lying is the norm, that's about as far away from justice as you can get.   total agreement

Johnny15150
Johnny15150

"As U.S. attorneys, it's not our job to go out there and engage in public debate," said Wagner, who added that he and other officials have "no regrets" over their campaign, which has to date shut down hundreds of dispensaries statewide."

A majority of people voted for prop 215 ,the minority who oppose are either ignorant or work for the government or both.Hundred of jobs sent underground ,taxes no longer collected empty store fronts. Just to make sure a few recreational cannabis users dont get high.newsflash  THERE HAS NOT BEEN A SHORTAGE OF CANNABIS IN CAL OR THE USshutting down hundreds will never stop the flow ,hundreds more will open.supply and  demand. This to a normal un-biased person this  seems ludicrous but to the med mj crowd its the nothing new,hypocrisy at its finest.

The people in Ca and 15 other states have voted for this ,how about the US att. ackowledge that in a "public debate"

This is just a last ditch effort of die-hard prohibitionists ,kind of like a a fish in fry pan.All paid for by the people who voted yes on cannabis, to the point of bankruptcy and beyond.

Rick Rosio
Rick Rosio

Where is the compassion ?Listen to the dying pleading for safe access:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...Hang your head in shame and weep for the continued suffering this immoral position continues to cause.Because it is legal does not make it moralWe are all citizens together and must work together to better our communities and ease suffering

Rick Rosio
Rick Rosio

To my fellow American citizens who currently are the US Attorneys:I will not call you names and I will not insult you BUT I ask that you consider the following:Cannabis was made illegal out of a bigoted law desigend to suppress minorities in the 1930's. It has been used as a tool against the "counter-culture" of the 1960's and since. Time after time scientific studies have recommended its medical applications and yet your positions are not sound or logical. It is like listening to the Nuermberg trials of 1940's when citizens who where only following the law where held accountable for their persecution of their fellow citizens because of their faith or political beliefs. Their position that what they did was legal and supported by branchs of the government did not bode well with those they had supressed and caused so much pain and suffering to and the rest is history.I am not saying you are evil, I am saying that what you support is wrong and causing so much pain and suffering to the sick and dying. Why if a business model is successfull and the corporate citizen is paying their taxes is it so wrong?It is expensive to provide care to the sick and dying and in order to do charitable work one must have an economic driver to provide the charitable giving and that is what a majority of the cannabis patients provide. An economic means to do charity and to be compassionate.I acknowledge that there are many who were only in this for the money, BUT NOT ALL OF US ARE and those of us who provide livable wage jobs, tax revenue and charity to our communities should not have to live in fear. All I ask is that your departments become honest and work with your fellow citizens who desire a less toxic method of dealing with sickness and death. Cannabis is not going to ruin society, and we need mutal cooperation from law enforcement to design business models that are transparent, honest and  good members of their communities.Here are the voices of the dying pleading for safe access:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...Thease are the people you are allowing to live in fear because there can be no honest discussion of a practical cannabis policy in the America.Please think about what you are supporting and its morality.When  you refuse to engage in the public arena of ideas you do a great diservice to the community and your profession, We are better than that as a society.

concernedparentandtaxpayer
concernedparentandtaxpayer

Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us.None of us would want our child or grandchild thrown in jail with thesexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an olderfamily member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing acouple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains.If the peoplewho want to use marijuana could grow a few plants in their own backyards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes; it wouldput the drug gangs out of business and get them out of ourneighborhoods. 

John
John

These guys make me so gosh darn angry.

Wagner, but it's ok for Florida to have tons and tons of Pain Management clinics without tracking records? Where as these Pain Management clinics distribute narcotics that actually kill people from overdosing.

I'm not from Florida, but Current TV does reach my television set.

http://current.com/shows/vangu...

While they are closing the Marijuana dispensaries

http://www.utsandiego.com/news...

These pain management clinics keep and stay opened for business.

http://current.com/shows/vangu...

Ridiculous and I am furious at this govt.

joeyrockx
joeyrockx

Wagner is an idiot. He can't stand up and defend his stupidity so he hides behind "no comment". He is a piece of trash.

bossanova
bossanova

I wish all of them would get out of our state and go back to wherever they came from. It must have felt this way to our country's forefather's when the stinking British occupied our land. Go away you lazy leaches you won't be missed...seriously nobody in the great state of California wants your occupation here anymore. Federal employees are all tax leaches looking for new ways to secure their parasitic employment.

red
red

Sorry, are you an american indian... if not, I think it is you stinking yanks that occupied their land first!

Muzzy Lu
Muzzy Lu

Seems like federal, state and local governments are trying to force medical marijuana patients back into the arms of big pharmaceuticals and the liquor industry! How is marijuana worse than opiates or booze? But the government has to protect us from the evil cannabis.

Great e-book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Candies to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis, Second Edition. This book has great recipes for easy marijuana oil, delicious Cannabis Chocolates, and tasty Dragon Teeth Mints!  

Hppy Hippi
Hppy Hippi

Shame on pot prohibition. Wagner, get a conscience, will ya? Humans domesticated pot over 6000 years ago, it has always been a normal part of the human experience. George Washington grew pot, traded seedlings with Thomas Jefferson. Back then pot was used for medicine, fiber for clothing and sails, fuel and food products like tea. Pot is our genetic and cultural heritage. The anti-pot crowd that fear mongers the public, so that they can justify spending our tax dollars, are the real criminals. People like Wagener should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. The very slim majority of people who are anti pot do not have the moral right to put pro pot people into government cages and other- wise harrass them. Shame shame shame !!!

esotericknowledge
esotericknowledge

In My Opinion,  They have no regrets because they are psychopaths.  Psychopaths don't experience guilt or shame, they have simply not evolved to that point.  Psychopaths are also called moral imbeciles.  They also don't engage in public debate because they are going to lose.  These individuals do not think, that is why they are valuable to the cowards who think they are the tyranny of God, and have authority over you because they are afraid of plants and life itself.  These lying parasites would not do well in the real, free world, that's why they are so afraid and work so hard to harm others and force themselves to live psychotic lives.  These are the worst people in our society, they feed their families by harming the sick, and living a life where lying is the norm, that's about as far away from justice as you can get.

Stockmaster23
Stockmaster23

We are ruled by a Psycopathic Corporatocracy intent on only their self-perpetuation by any means necessary and devoid of human compassion or appeal to reason. Great comment!

Muzzy Lu
Muzzy Lu

The government hates the idea of growing your own natural medicine. How about just $2.99 for great e-book on medical marijuana: MARIJUANA - Guide to Buying, Growing, Harvesting, and Making Medical Marijuana Oil and Delicious Candies to Treat Pain and Ailments by Mary Bendis, Second Edition. This book has great recipes for easy marijuana oil, delicious Cannabis Chocolates, and tasty Dragon Teeth Mints. 

goo.gl/iYjPn  goo.gl/Jfs61

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