Obama Arrives in Oakland, Protesters Waste No Time Making Him Feel Unwelcome (Update)

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Kristin Long
The unwelcoming committee
Update (5:10 p.m.): Some 400 protesters took over downtown Oakland, with the crowds extending for more than a city block in anticipation of the president's arrival. SF Weekly writer Chris Roberts was at the scene and tells us that protesters had giant posters emblazoned with the faces of Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag, whose office made the move to shut down Oakland's Harborside pot club.

The protesters are "ask[ing] President Obama to ensure federal enforcement actions are consistent with Attorney General Eric Holder's sworn testimony to Congress" that only organizations who break state law face prosecution, said Stephen DeAngelo, Harborside's CEO.

Check out SF Weekly's slideshow of the rally.

Harborside would be the biggest and highest-profile casualty of the Justice Department's marijuana war, which will have claimed nearly a dozen Bay Area dispensaries by the end of July. In brief comments Monday, DeAngelo said that Harborside did not receive a warning letter from Haag's office like the ones sent to upward of eight San Francisco dispensaries -- all of which have closed or plan to close.

"There was no warning," said DeAngelo, whose landlord, security executive Ana Chretien, must deal with the forfeiture action, and may move to evict Harborside as well. "But we're eager for our day in court.

"The mission is clear," he contined. "They're going after the most visible, most politically active players in the movement. They're trying to silence our voices."

Some friendly faces from Occupy Oakland also made an appearance: A few bandanna-wearing, black-flag-waving characters from Black Bloc joined the march. Aside from tarrying to pester police posted along the parade route, their participation was without incident.

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Those were the days
Update (3:35 p.m.): Media reports confirm that the president has landed in Oakland. Among the throng of people ready to greet the president are some 200 pot smokers/activists who have a few choice words for him. According to the Mercury News, the protesters are currently rallying outside Oakland City Hall, but are planning to end their march before the president is scheduled to speak at 8 p.m. to "avoid conflict." But don't worry, Occupy Oakland will pick up the protesting where the pot smokers leave off.

Original story (9:10 a.m.) As we warned you last week, Obama is making an appearance today in Oakland, where in some circles, he's persona non grata -- specifically those circles where there's a lot of puffing and passing going on.

If you don't believe us, then head down to the Fox Theater in downtown Oakland right now (well, after you finish reading this article), where media vans and protesters are already milling around hours before the president is scheduled to arrive. Many of those protesters are pot smokers, who are not happy with Obama's about-face on medical marijuana.

As East Bay papers note this morning, several businesses have posted green signs in their window to protest Obama's nonstop crackdown on medical cannabis dispensaries, most recently the Harborside Health Center, which found property forfeiture notices posted to its building one morning before work.

The notices were signed by the office of United States Attorney Melinda Haag, whose office will shut down another two dispensaries in San Francisco by the end of the month, bringing her Bay Area total to 10.

Obama is scheduled to appear at 4:30 p.m. at the Fox Theater, just a few steps from Oaksterdam University, which was raided by the feds back in April.

So here's the plan: Cannabis advocates will meet outside City Hall for a rally at noon to protest the president and all his policies against pot. If medical marijuana isn't your cause, anti-war groups, including World Can't Wait, Afghans for Peace, and Code Pink will hold their own we-don't-like-Obama protest at 3:30 p.m.,  with demonstrations continuing until 9.

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7 comments
DontComeBack
DontComeBack

This article actually made me LOL!!! Love it!  :D

Votersfirst
Votersfirst

Obama and the Democratic Party can handle some chastisement,  it's important that they are accountable to their base.  A timely reminder,  that they got into power, with the help and support of ordinary American working class voters.

jessicagolden87
jessicagolden87

ugh, SF weekly, you are so patronizing. those "pot smokers" are mostly sick people and invalids who smoke to curb the symptoms of their illness or the side effects of their other medications. why do you have to be so condescending when you address your friends, family, and neighbors? if it was just a bunch of unemployed pothead 20-somethings, don't you think those people would be at home eating frito pies and watching cable? these "potheads" you are referring to are out on the streets, risking life and limb at the hands of the trigger-happy OPD, to fight for what they believe in. show some respect.

jessicagolden87
jessicagolden87

SPELL IT WITH ME NOW: O-A-K-L-A-N-D. DONT U HAVE EDITORS?

Pascal Christeller
Pascal Christeller

? why do people think Obama could change any of this?? he can barely get healthcare passed (a real priority). maybe we should be protesting the voters and stoners who dont go out and vote when there is a marijuana issue on the california ballot? maybe we should protest gerry brown for not prioritizing schools or how about gray davis for putting us into an economic hole? while we're at it lets just protest everyone because everyone is kind of a dissapointment.

DontComeBack
DontComeBack

 @jessicagolden87 You've GOT to be kidding me, right?  Some loser potheads don't slip through the supposed "medical marijuana" crack? You think that this program is all on the up and up?  Pfffft!

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