Just a week after Attorney General Eric Hold announced he was calling off raids on medical marijuana dispensaries so long as the complied with state law . . . another medical marijuana raid:
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided Emmalyn’s California Cannabis Clinic at 1597 Howard St. in San Francisco’s South of Market district mid-afternoon.
They hauled out large plastic bins overflowing with marijuana plants and loaded several pickup trucks parked out front with grow lights and related equipment used to farm the plants indoors.
The dispensary had been operating with a temporary permit issued by the Department of Public Health.
“Based on our investigation, we believe there are not only violations of federal law, but state law as well,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony Williams said in a prepared statement.
A source in San Francisco city government who was informed about the raid said the DEA’s action appeared to be prompted by alleged financial improprieties related to the payment of sales taxes. DEA Special Agent Casey McEnry, spokeswoman for the local office, would not comment on that information.
The clear implication of Holder’s statement last week was that the feds were going to defer to state medical marijuana laws. That doesn’t exactly jibe with sending in the DEA storm troopers because a medical marijuana dispensary underpaid or didn’t pay its state sales taxes.
Meanwhile, reader Cory Spicer emailed this afternoon:
I am watching Obama’s “online town hall” speech and I am thoroughly disgusted.
A couple days ago he opened up a forum for users to submit and vote on questions. Several of the categories had questions relating to marijuana/drug law reform as their leading vote-getters, including the most popular overall question (in terms of both total votes and yes/no spread). So how did he react?
Well, first he answered four questions that received fewer votes. Then, before the fifth question was asked, he mentioned as a somewhat snarky aside that the marijuana question was “very popular”. The audience laughed a bit, and Obama joked about how he wasn’t “sure what that says about the online community” (this got a big laugh).
Then, he gave an unequivocal “no, I don’t believe that legalizing marijuana would help our economy”, offering no elaboration or supporting facts. The audience then gave him the heartiest round of applause for the day, and he then moved on to other, less popular questions.
I didn’t see the Town Hall, but if true, this is pretty galling. Politicians regularly dismiss legalization arguments out of hand, but can never offer a good explanation for their position. Obama’s “explanation” seems to be to laugh it off, and hope it goes away. It isn’t just stoners making the case for legalization anymore. It’s the Economist, it’s Foreign Policy, it’s a sizable cadre of respected economists, it’s the former presidents of Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia. If Obama’s going to continue the failed drug war, particularly the prohibition of marijuana, he ought to come up with a good reason why.