"Know what I think?" he adds. "Barack Obama and Eric Holder are lying sacks of shit."


Most Democratic politicians swing to the center when taking their games national. One of Obama's sharpest shifts may have been on marijuana. There was a time when he thought pot should be decriminalized — sort of. "The war on drugs has been an utter failure," the newly elected senator told a Chicago audience in 2004. "We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws." That remark drew a smattering of applause before he amended it with, "but I'm not someone who believes in legalization."

On the presidential campaign trail in 2008, Obama displayed a "practical view, more than anything else," he said, when asked about medical pot when he and Hillary Clinton were jockeying for liberal votes. If his position had shifted, he said, it was still one from which he could still dispense his favorite tonic — hope — to medical marijuana users. "If it's an issue of a doctor prescribing medical marijuana to a glaucoma or a cancer patient... really, there's no difference between that, and the doctor prescribing morphine or anything else," he said. Spending "political capital" on marijuana reform was "not likely ... but what I'm not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to circumvent state law on this issue."

It wasn't long into the administration — February 2009 — before Obama and Holder were forced to address the marijuana question again. A few weeks earlier, the DEA had raided four California pot clubs. "Was that a decision by you, by the Justice Department?" a reporter asked Holder. "As a prediction of policy going forward, do you expect those sorts of raids to continue?"

The attorney general had an answer ready. "What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing here in law enforcement," he replied. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy."

The media reacted. "DEA to end medical marijuana raids," MSNBC reported the following day. "U.S. to yield marijuana jurisdiction to states," a report in the Chronicle read, in which a White House spokesman was quoted as saying, "The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state law."

Smokers and squares alike loved what they heard. "February 25th, 2009," wrote Russ Belville, outreach coordinator of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "Mark it as the day on your calendar when the beginning of the end of adult marijuana prohibition happened." Even Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was feeling it. "It's good news for people in California who are so ill that they have gotten a doctor's note in compliance with the law," she said "If you have a doctor's note, you should be able to get whatever medicine you need."

The change, however, was not in federal law — Congress declared marijuana a dangerous illegal drug in 1970, and so it remains — but in federal policy. Only marijuana operations in violation of both federal and state law would be on the feds' radar, as Holder told The Los Angeles Times in March 2009, which duly repeated the earlier headline, "Medical marijuana dispensaries will no longer be prosecuted."

A new day had dawned, though at first it was strangely similar to the old day. About a month after Holder's announcement, the DEA raided Emmalyn's, a San Francisco dispensary South of Market, for alleged problems with taxes (no charges have yet been filed). This was an indication that Holder's remark wasn't binding policy, even in San Francisco. It was merely a "sort of offhand comment," Russoniello told a UC Hastings discussion forum on medical marijuana shortly after the raid.

Other judges and prosecutors on all levels were similarly unmoved. Anyone trying to use Holder's statement as a legal defense was getting laughed out of federal court, according to one criminal defense attorney who asked not to be named. "They said, 'You can't rely on what some guy said at a press conference,'" he recalls.

Meanwhile, 2009 proved the biggest year on record for federal marijuana busts. In California alone, the DEA reported the seizure of 7.5 million illegal pot plants and 1,738 arrests, up from 5.3 million and 1,313 the year before. Some saw this as an aberration; Holder and Obama playing tough for the FOX News crowd. Meanwhile, Feil, who was waiting for the Ninth Circuit's decision on his forfeiture case, was raided by the DEA at his Lake County home for the dispensaries he'd run in Ukiah and Los Angeles four years earlier.

The administration still hadn't provided medical marijuana users with anything they could use in court. Then the Justice Department came back in October with a memo. Maybe this was finally it. "Investigations and Prosecutions in States Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana," read the header for what was presented as "formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes." It was penned by Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden — who would be out of the Justice Department and back in private practice within six weeks — and so became known in medical marijuana lore as the "Ogden memo."

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56 comments
nazmunnaher
nazmunnaher

We have recently begun to accept new members for 2011-2012 and walk-ins are always welcome. We have lowered our pricing and now offer a 10% discount for Veterans & Students (with valid ID) and HIV & Cancer patients. (All our TOP SHELF 1/8’s are capped at $40). Since opening our doors in 2009 our Denver dispensary has stood by our product and offered a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. http://www.tgtree.com/

sdf
sdf

If you believe in freedom, you kill cops and DEA agents. Go ahead, do something with your life.

sdf
sdf

when is this country going to get a real candidate that actually believes in change? This really pisses me off - I hope Obama cleans his act up when reelected because the sad truth is that we can't elect a Republican in and the American public is too stupid to vote or come up with a third party candidate.

jerry2919
jerry2919

With Obama you were promised hope and change. Sure looks like you got it. I proudly say that I did not vote for this liar and will not next year. God help us if he gets 4 more years.

Nschrader12
Nschrader12

prolly cuz hes black and then people would be sayin its racist to call a black man a lier. then it would blow outa proportion. He wont be pres anymore when his times up. He is smart but dont know how to run a nation and keep his words. Lies, and this so called "change", isnt what we wanted. This nation is wayyyyy to politically correct, or wrong in my opinion, it aint even funny its ridiculous.

Exquisite Corpse
Exquisite Corpse

So, why cant we sue Obama for making fraudulent claims (broken campaign promises)?

Jasond2356
Jasond2356

Talk about corruption this is the epitome of it. Let's talk about Brendan Burkhart, local Northern California DEA agent, close friends with David Garzoli, former Lake County Sheriff Deputy, accused of taking illegal helo flights on the taxpayer dime. Burkhart was in collusion with his best friend Garzoli, and former Sheriff Mitchell Lake County Sheriff. The local sheriff who was recently thrown out of office by the Lake County citizens, had a record of going after citizens in Lake County whom he thought posed a danger to him. Burkhart, is known to be a corrupt agent, who participated in the illegal Garzoli flights, which by the way were used to do fly overs on small local growers in Lake County. The connections go very very deep, and includes a number of current local and former Lake County deputies. Already the leaking of information is starting to surface in the Feil/Carter case as an example. There is a couple of snitches in the woodwork, and some how sealed court informant information is leaking out concerning recent roll-overs by snitches. It is suspected Burkhart may have a big mouth for a DEA agent, and it appears one of the snitches may as well. Time will tell on this one,But it does appear that highly improper practices are taking place. There is also information surfacing that the DEA may be protecting a snitch who has just been discovered to be a known Herion addict and distributer. This person may be the lynch pin who rolled over for the DEA to save his ass, and the DEA did not want this information to surface. I feel sorry for Carter and Feil, although I do not reside in the county, I have many connections there and some are in law enforcement. This is not BS this is the truth of this and many other DEA cases on the books right now that should not be. Good luck to all involved.

Pangolin
Pangolin

Clue, Obama is actually a moderate Republican sold to the american people by Wall Street in order to demoralize the Left. There you will find the sense in all of his actions.

Fitnotfat
Fitnotfat

You can bet the illegal drug dealers voted against legalization. Medical Marijuna is a safer alternative then many dangerous addictive prescriptions prescribed by different kind of drug dealer, this observation comes from sitting in meeting rooms for addictive personalities.

Scaredgoat
Scaredgoat

This story is important. Mainstream press doesn't want to go near this because it shows that government is allowing suckers to get sucked into industry that has no real ground to stand on. That's ok with them. They will take the taxes, property seizures, drugs to destroy (or resell). They will take penalty fees, while lawyers, prison industry also rake in the suckers' money. Atty Generals guidelines are worthless even when followed. Who does come out unscathed? Maybe those who get cozy with cops, DA, or politicians. Maybe those related to sheriff? This whole thing stinks of corruption and scapegoating.

Claude DeMoss
Claude DeMoss

Personally, I am against any illegal drug, but if the CA state law allows medical marijuna providing patients have a CERTIFIED prescription - THE FEDS SHOULD BUTT OUT!Claude DeMossSan JoseFormer Police Officer

curtis weishapt
curtis weishapt

I would urge you to look into LEAP...law enforcement against prohibition..I am against the abuse of drugs myself and prohibition only gives criminals the profit from this affliction

TheDeacon
TheDeacon

Thank you for your honest experienced opinion. I have Diabetic Neuropathic Gastroparesis (Paralyzed Stomach.) This causes Chronic Nausea & Vomiting due to eating for which there is no treatment in today's pharmacopoeia. My Family Dr & my Digestive Disease Specialist both tell me to move to a legal Medical Marijuana State for that is my only hope for Chronic Nausea and Vomiting relief. I truly am shocked that a legal dispensary would sell that junk.

scaredgoat
scaredgoat

Police seem just interested in taking cash, drugs, no matter what documentation. Many in the system smear mmj, blaming it for the crimes such as burglary, robbery, and home invasion, when it is the justice system that prevents businesses from operating safely. Banks won't allow business accounts, making security impossible and forcing cash transactions. The situation is getting worse, attracting naive, honest newcomers who are being used by illegal profitmakers, organized crime, corrupt police, you-name-it. Something should be done so that the honest mmj workers are not being run over by both true criminals and a corrupt, opportunistic justice system. Please tell Atty General Kamala Harris, don't let us be the sacrificial lambs!!

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Russ
Russ

you guys, please support Ron Paul in his next bid to become President. You will not be sorry after he gets elected. Please!

TheDeacon
TheDeacon

To those political idiots who think the Mexican Drug Cartel is supplying Medical Marijuana to Dispensaries. You must realize that the Mexicans do not have the knowledge, experience or expertise to grow the quality marijuana found in our dispensaries throughout the U.S. They only grow whatever pops up, mostly dirt Schwag that will give you a headache rather than a pleasant euphoria. Not to mention it has no or very little medical value. I'm talking brown, brick weed with stems and seeds that you don't need.

Scaredgoat
Scaredgoat

You are the idiot. Mexican weed is sold through many dispensaries. It is cheap,brown weed that sells just like cheap beer. The cartels are growing on public land in almost every county in California. Only an idiot would believe it is not being sold in legal dispensaries. They pollute land use illegal, dangerous pesticides and fertilizers. What rock have you been hiding under?

TheDeacon
TheDeacon

You are right. I do not even live in a legal state yet, just a short time left. But I travel a lot and have family in Sacramento and Davis. I have never heard of a Real Dispensary selling Mexican Schwag. Are you seriously telling me they sell that crap? That stuff is not only worthless its of no medical value as the content of THC is under 2% at best and indeed may be harmful for there is sometimes mold and/or pesticides on it. I've even seen weed that smells like gasoline because of where it was placed to bring in. To be medical it must be 10% THC minimum and contain CBD's and CBN's, etc,. Forgive my ignorance and thank you for opening my eyes. I agree with you regarding the way they treat the land and are of no good whatsoever. I honestly believed that the only weed they were capable of growing was weed that ranges from pure trash to good mid grade. But for a dispensary to sell this kind of product should be shunned if not worse. I certainly would never give them any of my money.

P0rtal00
P0rtal00

considering you lot are so dumb that you thought anything would actually change, i guess you deserve this

Tercat66
Tercat66

Wow...... How nasty can you be!! Medical marijuana is some peoples only relief from pain and cancer!! Life is so much better with an open mind!!

movementinaction
movementinaction

We at Hemp for Jobs a non-profit are working to get Hemp/Cannabis REMOVED from the Controlled Substance Act and reform the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act to reasonable levels for Non-medical use. Anything short of that and we will all still be the DEA's targets.www.hempforjobs.org or find us on facebook.James Dean Stacy former Federal Defendantread about me:http://www.nctimes.com/news/lo...

Jimmy Thome Möhler
Jimmy Thome Möhler

Watch as our rights and freedoms continue to get ripped out from under us... Fuck Obama and fuck this country.

Jedi
Jedi

No more Obama for me. I just can't stand hypocrisy... realizing that every level of government says one thing and does another... but I can continue to vote them out when they do.

I thought Obama would be different. My mistake!

Michael Bauer
Michael Bauer

You can complain all you want but the biggest opponent to the legalization of marijuana in California were the growers themselves. Also you are misinformed about encroaching on state sovereignty. I am assuming you are referring to the clause whatever is not explicitly stated in the Constitution deffer to the states? There is another clause in the Constitution called the necessary and proper clause and the interstate commerce clause which allow the federal government oversight.

Anonymous_Reader
Anonymous_Reader

Also, there's this: "The government argued that if a single exception were made to the Controlled Substances Act, it would become unenforceable in practice. The government also contended that consuming one's locally grown marijuana for medical purposes affects the interstate market of marijuana, and hence that the federal government may regulate—and prohibit—such consumption. This argument stems from the landmark New Deal case Wickard v. Filburn, which held that the government may regulate personal cultivation and consumption of crops, due to the effect of that consumption on interstate commerce, however minute it may be." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R...

Anonymous_Reader
Anonymous_Reader

Obama isn't the one in charge. Money is the boss. So-called "marihuana" is a smoke screen. Cannabis is illegal because of cellulose. Period. It produces four times the cellulose, per acre, compared to trees and takes a fraction of the chemistry to turn into paper. Cannabis is illegal to protect the interests of the tree-paper chemistry industry. Obama could easily sign an Executive Order, stopping the DEA's enforcement actions, but HE ISN"T THE BOSS. He's a PUPPET. He's a TOOL. Step N. Fetchit. The Great Black Hope is a figurehead. Money rules all. The Golden Rule: He with the gold makes the rules. Period. Read this: http://www.jackherer.com/thebo...

fedupwiththefeds
fedupwiththefeds

Every once in a while AXIS will come out of its hole hold a press release and act like they are doing something good while most of the time they sit around and vaporize while mooching off of good people that provide for them to be a bunch of BUMS!

NoReply
NoReply

Obama like Axis are both UNTRUSTWORTHY!

NoReply
NoReply

IF anyone else out there has a reply regarding how messed up AXIS is PLEASE let the WORLD know!

NoReply
NoReply

Plus her group has HARMED many a good Cannabis Activists while they get away with doing so--Axis is what it is an AXIS!

NoReply
NoReply

Shona is dispensing the stuff without a permit when everyone else is forced to have one--talk about unfair! Who in the hell does she think she is HARMING the cause this way?

robin
robin

you're damn right, its bullshit. i have to start chemo in July and im scared to death. i live in alabama so you know ive got a snow balls chance in hell. i sure wish i could move before then. but its not in the cards.what to do, what to do?

Mark Adamson
Mark Adamson

Amazing piece. Thank you for writing it. This needs more coverage.

Tess
Tess

Barack is a politician first so let us not forget that! Second, the person he put in charge is the same guy that Bush had in charge. But imho I think that in 2012 his trump card might be legalizing marijuana to get the young people to vote for him. It wouldn't hurt him to do it then because it will be his last term if he gets elected. I see the method of his madness, not a pretty one, but I have hope.

Shanon Greever
Shanon Greever

"When governments fear the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny."*1“If the words “Life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness” don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.”*2 "The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this."*3“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God cannot long retain it.” *4 "Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."*6 "If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."*1 “Penalties against possession of a substance should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of that substance; & where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana in private for personal use…”*7 "In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. It is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man."*11 “When a private enterprise fails, it is closed down; when a government enterprise fails, it is expanded. Isn’t that what’s been happening with drugs?”*8 “It will be found an unjust & unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”*10 “America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums but normalcy, not revolution, but restoration.” *13 Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit… unnatural?*14 "We in this country have to make up our minds -- -- we can not have it both ways: we cannot be both drug-free and free." *16 "Marijuana gives rise to insanity -- not in its users but in the policies directed against it. A nation that sentences the possessor of a single joint to life imprisonment without parole but sets a murderer free after perhaps six years is in the grips of a deep psychosis."*17 Hundreds of thousands of "jobs for American workers throughout the land.”*18 http://www.ipetitions.com/peti...

Briansays
Briansays

why should this be any different from any dozen or so policy so called spun achievements?

the overseer
the overseer

yeah a politician lied, what a surprise. shame on the masses for falling for this crap

TxGrandma Four-Twenty
TxGrandma Four-Twenty

He lied, he continues to lie and I am totally put out with him and his and Bush's puppets. The rules aren't clear, nobody in the obama admin wants to make them clear. It's continuous bait and switch. There are more of us than them.

Lightenup
Lightenup

Reading about the persecution of decent, law abiding people that has taken and continues to take place in the U.S. has angered appalled me for decades...

Weedbay Guy
Weedbay Guy

It's blatant bad journalism that the article doesn't mention raids are down 40% from the last years of Bush's administration. While the deck is still stacked against us, it's not as stacked as it was a mere 4 years ago.

SFC415
SFC415

Where are you getting your figures? Raids were at an all-time high in 2009, Obama's first year in office. http://www.albany.edu/sourcebo...

Guest
Guest

Do you realize that showing data from one year doesn't demonstrate an "all time high". Do you realize that the bureaucracies at work in 2009 were part of the Bush Administration? Do you realize that the legality of medical dispensaries doesn't make all marijuana activity legal?

Lightenup
Lightenup

Perhaps, but should there be ANY raids???

 
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