Unlike in 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder Stays Silent on Marijuana Legalization
It was Attorney General Eric Holder who delivered Tax and Control Cannabis' October surprise. At the request of former heads of the DEA, Holder issued to an overeager California (Oakland was preparing to license and tax 100,000-square-foot grow facilities) a letter promising federal law outlawing cannabis would be "vigorously enforced." The subsequent chilling effort killed Prop. 19's momentum and sent it to defeat, 52 percent to 47 percent (a better showing than Meg Whitman, but still).
Now, two years later, three states will try do to what California couldn't. In response to the legalization efforts on the ballot in Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, the same former DEA heads wrote to Holder again, asking him to warn off legalization a second time. But as of midnight Tuesday, cannabis advocates note, the attorney general's stayed mum.
Why the silence at a crucial hour, with arguably more -- such as the presidency -- at stake?
Lanny Swerdlow, a registered nurse in Riverside County and founder of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club (named after the late San Francisco legend who brought baked treats around the AIDS ward in San Francisco General Hospital) pointed out that in Colorado, Amendment 64 is winning at the polls and out-polling President Barack Obama. As Gary Johnson can tell you, Colorado hangs in the balance, and cannabis-minded voters could easily tip the state one way or the other.
And then there's the "second term" theory. This summer, GQ was the first to report that Obama was planning to go liberal on drug policy after the election. This would be news to some Californians like Steve DeAngelo, CEO of Oakland's Harborside Health Center. The biggest dispensary in the nation is the subject of Haag's latest closure efforts, this one an actual forfeiture action filed against the property owner who rents to Oakland's second biggest taxpayer. The hearing on this case has also been delayed until after the election.
Cannabis: too hot to handle. With an election on the line.