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Oct 9, 2011

Support your local drug lord, criminalize medical marijuana.

Image; The man is coming for your weed.

H/t Gary Johnson, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

It looks like the Obama administration has it all sorted in the US, and can afford to sool law enforcement onto peripheral issues such as medical marijuana. The use of marijuana on doctors recommendations has been legal in a growing number of states for some time, with more signing up to it as time goes by. Here in Australia, we in the LDP have been saying that the nanny state has been replaced by the bully state, something Washington is emulating.

In the US there are two methods of obtaining marijuana, from dispensaries legally set up under state legislation, and from the illegal trade. The illegal trade has been responsible for more than 28,000 deaths along the Mexican border, some of them by guns supplied to drug cartels by the BATF, and the Justice Department in their crazed operation Fast and Furious.

Presidential candidate, Gary Johnson used marijuana for two years for pain relief after a crippling accident rather than use prescription medication, which can be addictive with prolonged use. He has just published an op-ed in the Daily Caller on the issue of Feds attempting to put dispensaries out of business:

So what is our government doing today? DOJ is launching an offensive against California. Or more specifically, it is attacking medical marijuana dispensaries operating legally under a law approved several years ago by California voters. That’s right, our Department of Justice is spending our dollars and resources threatening dozens of small businesses in California with criminal charges, closure, and confiscation of private property for the heinous crime of trying to provide the people of California with a product and service they have officially said they want and determined to be in the public interest.

Why is our government doing this? From a common sense or even a states’ rights perspective, there is no logical reason. From a legal standpoint, the government is assaulting medicinal marijuana businesses because it says California law conflicts with federal drug laws. Yes, those federal drug laws that have been so successful in addressing drug abuse in this country — not to mention the tragic drug violence that is actually killing people by the thousands. …

And beyond the legal arguments and the policy debate, what is the practical, on-the-ground effect of DOJ shutting down dispensaries? Is it going to make life better for anyone? NO. It is only going to turn a lot of people who are trying to abide by the law into criminals. Instead of going to a dispensary under medical supervision, thousands of Californians will be going to street corners to buy pot from the cartels. Now that is a great outcome. Thank you, DOJ.
Law Enforcement against Prohibition (LEAP) is more scathing, (as quoted in Forbes):
Federal prosecutors have sent letters to landlords and owners of dispensaries across California warning them to halt sales of marijuana within 45 days or face property seizures and other legal backlash, though some raids have already commenced.

“This is much worse than reneging on a campaign pledge or being bad politics at a time when 80 percent of the public supports medical marijuana,” Neill Franklin, the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said in a statement. “This crackdown is going to endanger public safety. The fact is, people in California and the other states with medical marijuana laws are going to use their doctor-recommended marijuana whether the Department of Justice likes it or not.” …

In a press conference today, the four US Attorneys in California announced they would begin prosecuting operations across California in earnest, going much further than the Bush administration in cracking down on legal medical marijuana. …

The Obama administration’s refusal to live up to its promises and its inexplicable decision to push medical marijuana back into the violent black market is yet another blotch on the administration’s already abysmal record on prohibition. Instead of either allowing states to handle marijuana law on their own or taking a hands-off approach as promised, Obama is ramping up an expensive and futile war, this time on people who often rely on marijuana for their health.
Marijuana is often criticized as a ‘gateway drug’ to more dangerous substances. It is worth considering whether, if this is the case, is it because it can usually only be sourced from criminal dealers who have the incentive to encourage the use of more expensive and addictive drugs which create a captive market.


  1. The whole 'gateway drug' label is probably bullshit, as evidenced by the vast numbers of people who smoke pot and don't go on to take other recreational drugs. The correlation is likely the other way round since those looking for the high that comes from, say, heroin will probably have tried pot at some point before moving on dissatisfied. I doubt it's any more a gateway drug than alcohol, though since I don't even drink I could take the piss and start calling grog a gateway drug just for fun. Actually no, some idiot would take it seriously.

  2. I notice we both use the 'gateway drug' part with inverted commas. I agree with you entirely, although I feel that the illegal dealer aspect has a bit to do with it as well.

    As far as the "some idiot would take it seriously" statement is concerned, you are probably wise.

  3. Wasn't disagreeing as such. That it's an illegal market has a hell of a lot to do with drug problems, though both the dealer side and enforcement side have similar effects there. For example, I've seen crystal meth referred to in a couple of recent articles as the poor man's cocaine, and that no bugger would take the stuff if it weren't for the 'successes' of the war on people getting off their dials pushing up the price and availability of coke. Even just with pot it's policies of punishing people by the quantity found on them that's prompted suppliers to develop stronger varieties. And all because some idiots thought that letting criminal gangs run the whole manufacture, supply and distribution of recreational drugs was the same thing as controlling the trade. /facepalm!

  4. Of course Ben and I have been for legalization of marijuana for a long time even though neither one of us smokes pot. Are your arguments are valid, especially the expensive and bloody fiasco of the "War on Drugs."

    Here in the state of Montana, we legalized medical marijuana.Now the Feds have told medical marijuana states that users are addicts and cannot buy guns, which is of course a near and dear issue around here. Just kicking the 2nd (bear arms) and 10th (State's rights) Amendment around some more.

    "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives last month notified firearms dealers nationwide that medical marijuana users are not exempt from a federal law making it illegal for a drug user or addict to possess a gun or ammunition, even if they are registered in a state-sanctioned program."

    It will be interesting to see how the states react to this. Our AG has already filed a letter of protest.

  5. I didn't take it as a disagreement Angry, actually they were bloody good points you brought up. The whole war on drugs thing is idiocy, run by idiots, but idiots who have the sanction of the state and possessing all of the self righteousness that goes with it.

    It will be interesting to see how that one plays out Bawb. I am not a user either and work underground where we share narrow spaces with heavy equipment that can leave you as a smear on the wall if someone screws up. As long as guys don't go overboard I'm cool with them using if they are not affected at work.