A Federal Grand Jury from the Northern District of California has suponead the records fron Mendocino CA’s medical marijuana permitting system.
The Mendocino country sherriffs ran the prgram for two years (2010-2011). The program allowed medical marijuana growers operating in compliance with state law to grow up to 99 plants, paying a $50 fee per plant for a special zip tie. This marked the plants as being in compliance and helped defray the costs of inspections while also raising money for erradication and enforcement of illegal marijuana grows. The money was also credited with saving the jobs of 7 sheriff deputies who had been marked for layoffs.
Last year, Melinda Haag the N. CA Attorney General was also involved in unleashing a DEA raid on Northstone Organics. A medical marijuana cooperative grow in Mendocino that had been lauded throughout the state- and beyond, as a model of cooperation and how governments and growers can make the medical marijuana system work. (there is much backstory to this raid- which seems to have come immediately on the heels of the attempted prosecution of 2 Northstone employees who were delivering medicine to patients being thrown out of court).
Haag has also threatened the use of RICO statues against state officials involved in crafting regulations for medical marijuana.
The mendocino program ended in 2012- due to a combination of the northstone raids, threats of prosecution from Haag, and the Pack V Long Beach appeals court decision which had said local governments couldn’t permit medical marijuana businesses as it violated federal law (the decision was thrown out by the state Supreme Court 3 months ago).
So for now- more then 100 medical marijuana growers, as well as the mendocino country sheriffs and legislators are in limbo. Will the $800K in fees raised be seized by the feds? Will 100+ growers be raided- possibly having property and finances seized? Will legislators and police be prosecuted under RICO ?
This all coming after the recent elections, where the 18th state legalized medical marijuana. Where 2 states outright legalized marijuana.
And yes, Melinda Haag was an Obama appointee. To be fair- there is no evidence to suggest her agenda in any way approved of by Obama or Holder. But again, to be fair- they have also not sought to remove her from office- something that should have been done some time ago.
We live in a country where, according to various polls- 70-80% of americans think medical marijuana should be legal. Polls have also seen support for outright legalization crack 50% for the first time. Voters in 2 states have voted to legalize marijuana. 18 states and the district of columbia have legalized medical marijuana. In terms of medical marijuana 11 of the 19 have enacted the laws by a direct vote of the people. As have both states to outright legalize marijuana.
And now- a message to the hypocrites in the tea-party and the right in general. Those of you who have long waved the banner of “state’s rights”. And yet you support the federal enforcement of marijuana laws in violation of state laws. To be clear- I am not a states rights proponet. I feel each and every example must be judged on its merits. so let’s look at the facts:
To be a Schedule I drug a substance must have no medicinal value, have no level of safety under medicaly supervised use, and be highly addictive. None of which apply to marijuana. It was congress- without scientific recommendation, that made marijuana Schedule I in 1970. The scientific panel set up to assess marijuana, the National Commission of Marijuana and Drug Abuse, whose report came out in 1972- recommended it be decriminalized. And despite the federal governments stranglehold on research by controlling the supply of marijuana for research )and only allowing research into “harms”) , the scientific body of research both in the US and internationally contradict it’s scheduling. Indeed- based on the scientific evidence it’s questionable whether marijuana belongs in ANY schedule- or whether it desberes to be regulated like other substances with worse harms- such as alcohol or tobacco.
Clearly, the federal government has been violating its own rules and regulations for decades. Ignoring the evidence. Ruining the lives of millions of america- jail and arrest records. Records which cut them off from student loans. Make finding housing and jobs harder. Loss of voting rights…
And the tens of thousands of americans trying to operate in an industry under the legal guidelines of their states. Who live with the constant cloud over their head of loosing everything to the federal government. Who have been paying federal taxes for years to have the IRS tell them they can’t deduct business expenses like every other business because marijuana is illegal under federal law. (which of course never stopped the IRS from cashing the checks). An industry that provides tens of thousands of jobs- both directly and, like any business- to myriad of other industries that supply their needs. Income to individuals and businesses that rent or lease land or real estate. Tax revenues.
The movement is clear. Medical marijuana will be legal throughout the nation in the not too distant future. And marijuana, period, will be legal throughout the nation in my lifetime as well. But politicians and law enforcement continue to fail to respond to both reality- and the will of the people.
How many more lives must be ruined by antiquated, draconian laws before america does not only what is right- but inevitable?
Article on the mendocino subponeas here