Friday, May 10, 2013

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Visit Berkeley, Marijuana Supporters to Protest

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 2:33 PM

click to enlarge Trying to find a friend - ALLVOICES.COM
  • Trying to find a friend

Eric Holder is a survivor. The United States attorney general's record during President Obama's first term was more than a bit spotty: Holder angered the left when he defended Obama's use of drones to kill suspected terrorists without court proceedings and when he said he couldn't prosecute the banks that gambled away Americans' wealth (and then received more of their money via a taxpayer bailout).

Meanwhile, the right called for his head for his role in the "Fast and the Furious" "gun-walking" scandal that put assault weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartel gangsters.

There was talk that a second-term Obama would find a new man to be AG -- yet Holder has held on. And he will visit the University of California Berkeley tomorrow -- or, in other words, he'll visit the epicenter of the other constituency he's infuriated: medical marijuana users.

Holder's Justice Department is at this moment busy trying to shut down dispensaries in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, and activists plan to crash his commencement speech tomorrow morning.

Many were surprised when Colorado and Washington, and not California, became the first states where adult use of marijuana became legal. Many blame Holder -- and a few years on, it appears he more than anyone else is responsible. California's 2010's marijuana legalization effort, Prop. 19, was polling roughly even until October, when Holder issued a warning to California cities and counties eager to cash-in on legal adult weed that federal law still mattered and he would "vigorously enforce" statutes outlawing cannabis. This "October surprise" helped Prop. 19 go down -- by five points; he did not repeat the trick in Colorado and Washington two years later where voters approved legalization in both states.

In fall 2011, Holder's four United States attorneys in California announced a coordinated crackdown on California's law-abiding medical cannabis dispensaries. It's been erratic and it's been selective, but "hundreds" of tax-paying pot clubs statewide have closed. At this moment, U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag is moving to close down the Oakland's biggest taxpayer: Harborside Health Center -- the state's largest pot club.

It's not known who at the Obama Administration is calling the shots on pot. Early in Obama's term, a memo from former Deputy Attorney General David Ogden stated that the Justice Department should not use "limited resources" to prosecute state medical marijuana law-abiding pot users; California responded with a boom in dispensaries and cannabis grows. In 2011, a second memo from Deputy Attorney General James Cole contradicted that message, saying the federal Controlled Substances Act would be enforced; soon thereafter, the crackdown began.

Members of Americans for Safe Access plan to greet Holder in a unique way. They're dressing up as Justice Department employees and trying to recruit the cap-and-gowned Berkeley graduates to work on Obama's drug war.

They'll be out at the Greek Theater at 9 a.m. tomorrow "to hand out our recruitment fliers" while trying to find the one person in the Bay Area who can say Holder's done a helluva a job.

  • Pin It

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.