Medical Marijuana Crackdown: Rep. Barbara Lee Tells Feds to Back Off

Categories: Marijuana
Thumbnail image for 220px-Barbara_Lee_official_photo.JPG
Upset with the feds
Last week was one of the the darkest for the medical marijuana movement, with the federal Justice Department picking two of San Francisco's best-known and best-behaving licensed medical cannabis dispensaries for closure. This came mere weeks after U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag moved to close Harborside Health Center -- the nation's biggest pot club and Oakland's second-biggest taxpayer.

Could things get much worse? Well, sure -- Haag could close all of San Francisco's dispensaries, as she is rumored to be considering to do by Christmas, according to sources.

Enter Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the Oakland Democrat who is mad as hell. She introduced legislation in Washington that would halt Haag and her three California counterparts in their tracks.

Lee on Thursday introduced a bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from using asset forfeiture laws against the landlords of state-legal medical marijuana clubs, according to Americans for Safe Access.

The bill would remove from Haag's arsenal her most reliable weapon -- shutting down clubs with nothing more than a letter sent via certified mail. It would also force her to escalate or abandon the war on those pot patients who suffer from AIDS, cancer, or chronic pain.

The forfeiture laws employed by Haag and her counterparts in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego were crafted in the 1980s to punish narcotics traffickers, but have been handy tools in the statewide crackdown on medical marijuana,which began last fall.

About a dozen dispensaries have been shut down in the Bay Area since Oct. 7, 2011, and "hundreds" more across the state have moved voluntarily or been evicted by landlords, according to ASA.

In very limited public comments made since the crackdown began, Haag has said that clubs are being targeted for vague and inconsistent reasons: They're too close to kids, they're violating some unspecified part of state law, or, in, Harborside's case, they're simply too big.

Lee's bill, H.R. 6335, is called the Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act. It would prohibit the feds from using asset forfeiture proceedings to threaten, intimidate, or otherwise close state-legal cannabis dispensaries, and "begin to align federal law to states' laws that allow for safe access to medical marijuana," she said in a statement.

Will it be too little, too late? Or will it even make it out of committee? In any case, Lee's is the first direct reaction by a member of the federal government to the Justice Department's arbitrary crackdowns.

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Go Barbara. If I lived in CA, I would vote for you..


Nice post. One small error, the title of HR 6335 is missing the word "States'" (plural possessive) before the word "Medical". 


take a close look at who is still saying time coming, get rid of them


Three Cheers for Congresswoman Lee's bill, H.R. 6335, the Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act.  The US Government must stop waging  war on patients who suffer from AIDS, cancer, chronic physical pain and  veterans with post traumatic stress.   Personally, I don't use any drugs including alcohol, but  recognize pain and suffering, and believe that medical (natural) marijuana is a better choice than a toxic high dose prescription drug. 


It always comes down to taxes as a reason to legalize the use of drugs. For that reason alone, this issue is an issue. First, there isn't enough medical evidence that other solutions aren't as effective or that would be the fight. Instead it always comes to tax revenue.


Okay, lets tax immigration. Put up human toll booths along the borders and start taxing those entering the US. On out southern border, the tax revenues would easily pay for the infrastructure and personnel needed to enforce this action.


Next, lets just tax water. I mean if using marijuana is good for tax revenue because it is essential for some, why not tax water because it is essential for all? Tax problem solved.


Do we tax other things of highly questionable public benefit? Yes but as so many are fond of saying, two wrongs don't make a right...unless you are directly benefiting from the second wrong, right?

malcolmkyle16 topcommenter

Scientific fact: Marijuana is less addictive than a cup of tea.


Dr. Jack E. Henningfield of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Dr. Neal L. Benowitz of the University of California at San Francisco ranked six psychoactive substances on five criteria.


Withdrawal -- The severity of withdrawal symptoms produced by stopping the use of the drug.


Reinforcement -- The drug's tendency to induce users to take it again and again.


Tolerance -- The user's need to have ever-increasing doses to get the same effect.


Dependence -- The difficulty in quitting, or staying off the drug, the number of users who eventually become dependent


Intoxication -- The degree of intoxication produced by the drug in typical use.


The tables listed below show the rankings given for each of the drugs. Overall, their evaluations for the drugs are very consistent. It is notable that marijuana ranks below caffeine in most addictive criteria, while alcohol and tobacco are near the top of the scale in many areas.


The rating scale is from 1 to 6 --- 1 denotes the drug with the strongest addictive tendencies, while 6 denotes the drug with the least addictive tendencies.





Substance Withdrawal Reinforcement Tolerance Dependence Intoxication


Nicotine 3 4 2 1 5


Heroin 2 2 1 2 2


Cocaine 4 1 4 3 3


Alcohol 1 3 3 4 1


Caffeine 5 6 5 5 6


Marijuana 6 5 6 6 4





Substance Withdrawal Reinforcement Tolerance Dependence Intoxication


Nicotine 3 4 4 1 6


Heroin 2 2 2 2 2


Cocaine 3 1 1 3 3


Alcohol 1 3 4 4 1


Caffeine 4 5 3 5 5


Marijuana 5 6 5 6 4



 @MackKnife If you have actually been paying attention the last couple decades, you would have noticed the people that are in overwhelming support of medical marijuana, are all about legalizing it for its benefits, not the tax. in fact, the propositions that have been voter passed, are the ones that are NOT focused on taxing, but instead on the medical value of the God given plant. Cannabis is no more a drug than sugar, yet much less harmful than sugar, and the government heavily subsidizes sugar beat farming. So, no real anti-prohibitionist want anything to be about tax, we want it about the people, which cannabis can actually help in a natural way, not some set amount of foren chemicals pressed into pill form.


 @MackKnife apples and oranges!     there is a lot more at stake than just tax revenue,  how about freedom to do what i want in my own head?


 @MackKnife There is LOTS of evidence to show that marijuana can be used medicinally. Read a book. Or better yet, turn on your TV, and in between the advertisements for new types of drugs with terrible side effects, are advertisements for law firms offering to help you sue drug companies because of the terrible things that their "legal, safe" drugs can do to you. It seems these are the only two types of commercials on nowadays.

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