Medical Pot Supporters Cheer End of DEA Raids

Medical Pot Supporters Cheer End of DEA Raids
Posted by CN Staff on February 26, 2009 at 18:54:05 PT
By Josh Richman, Oakland Tribune
Source: Contra Costa Times 
USA -- California medical-marijuana advocates are celebrating a verbal promise that federal raids on the state-law-abiding dispensaries have ended.U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a news conference on an unrelated matter Wednesday in Washington with Drug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart, said the raids  in many cases, searches and seizures without arrests  are not part of President Barack Obama's policy.
"What the president said during the campaign, you'll be surprised to know, will be consistent with what we'll be doing in law enforcement," Holder said. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy."Obama last year said he wouldn't be "using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," a stance reiterated earlier this month by White House spokesman Nick Shapiro."Today is a victory and a huge step forward," Steph Sherer, executive director of Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access, said Thursday. "I'm overjoyed to finally have a press conference with some great news."Rather than spending a lot of time staving off these federal attacks, she said, groups like hers now can work in earnest with Congress and federal agencies to iron out conflicts between federal law  which still bans all use, cultivation and distribution of marijuana  with state laws such as California's permitting medical use. Examples might include legislation to protect veterans' benefits or housing rights of people using the drug in accordance with state law, Sherer said.In some cases, the DEA and federal prosecutors have written to dispensaries' landlords, threatening forfeiture of their properties unless they evict their tenants. That's what happened last month to Heather Poet's cooperative in Santa Barbara, causing Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, to write to Holder urging a halt to such tactics. "I am just so grateful to her and to the Obama Administration that they are finally saying that they're going to stop this horrible ... travesty that has been happening to sick people throughout California," Poet told reporters Thursday.It's still unclear what will happen to prosecutions already in progress, such as that of Charles Lynch, whose Morro Bay dispensary was raided in 2007 and who was convicted last year on marijuana distribution charges. He's scheduled to be sentenced March 23, and federal prosecutors still seem intent on putting him in prison for at least five years.Sherer said she hopes the new administration will set a new course in this and other pending cases."This is where we roll up our sleeves," she said. "The devil is in the details."Marijuana dispensaries operating outside state and local law's bounds remain subject to prosecution. For example, Oakland police last Friday raided the Lemon Drop Cafe  on Telegraph Avenue, seizing firearms, marijuana and cash and arresting owner-operator Steven Smyrni, of San Ramon; the cafe does not hold one of Oakland's four city-issued permits for medical-marijuana dispensaries.Read the Political Blotter at: Contra Costa Times (CA)Author: Josh Richman, Oakland TribunePublished: February 26, 2009Copyright: 2009 Bay Area News Group Contact: letters cctimes.comWebsite: Articles & Video:US Attorney General Eric Holder:Ending MMJ Raids Now US Policy Says Feds Will Stop Marijuana Raids of Change in US Medical Marijuana Policy
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on February 26, 2009 at 19:38:26 PT
Thank God, the African Americans Have the Balls
To Do This!Thank You! Thank You God!It Is Time! This Is The Time!
On a mission from God!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on February 26, 2009 at 19:32:33 PT
Federal Raids on Medical Pot Clubs To End
Thursday, February 26, 2009SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- There's been a dramatic change of course from the White House concerning medical marijuana. The Obama Administration has followed up on a campaign promise and announced federal raids on medical pot clubs are over. Ed Rosenthal is a medical marijuana activist from Oakland. He was arrested in a federal raid in 2002. His high profile case is now before a U.S. appeals court. It's said to epitomize the clash between state and federal marijuana laws and now there's a dramatic change. Story continues belowAdvertisement"I think it's an excellent first step for the administration," says Rosenthal. During the presidential campaign Barack Obama had promised no more federal raids on state authorized medical marijuana dispensaries. Yet after his inauguration, in fact earlier this month, the DEA moved in on four California clubs. Now the new attorney general has re-iterated the president's position. "What he said during the campaign is now American policy," says Eric Holder, the U.S. Attorney General. "It's really going to change the whole attitude of the police department because they don't have federal back-up," says Rosenthal. Rosenthal hopes the White House shift is the first step towards legalization. At the very least he believes drug enforcement raids are a thing of the past. Oaksterdam University in Oakland trains students in all aspects of the cannabis industry. The school's president hopes the new American policy has other benefits for medical marijuana operators and patients. "Hopefully we'll see a drop in price which will result in a drop in crime, because one of the problems right now is prohibition keeps the price up and that makes it more attractive to criminals," says Richard Lee from Oakserdam University. ABC7 contacted several law enforcement authorities and experts to get their take on this dramatic shift. No one wanted to talk on the record. One told ABC7's Carolyn Tyler, "I don't want to be out in front on this one." Copyright: 2009 KTRK-TV/DT
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