With the West Coast Cannabis Expo bringing to light the plight of medical cannabis patients, and those who help provide them with some of their medical needs, the conversation shifted from concern to dissent, as the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street movement spread through the halls of the Cow Palace.
By Sam Sabzehzar | October 10, 2011
California Senator John Vasconsellos, the longest elected California legislator in the state’s history, spoke at the West Coast Cannabis Expo in San Francisco over the weekend, where he addressed the recent threats by the Obama Administration and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as the San Jose signature-gathering campaign to overturn their city’s ordinance.
Harborside Health Center’s Steve DeAngelo also spoke out against the SJ ordinance, as well as the recent ruling against Harborside by the IRS, which ruled against tax deductions by those in the medical cannabis industry that did everything by the book, including paying more than a $1M in taxes locally.
Though they plan to appeal the IRS ruling, the news came during the same week that a 45-day grace period will be given for dispensaries to close, after which time the DEA will begin raiding California medical cannabis dispensing centers, a demand DeAngelo says he will not comply with.
“They can’t come after us all, and they can’t close us all down. And if they close the doors on us at Harborside, we’ll pick the locks,” declares DeAngelo.
DeAngelo read from a prepared statement after scores of seriously ill patients began expressing their concerns about the possible closure of Harborside, assuring them he has no intention of closing “safe and reliable access” for patients.
The three-day expo, consisting of a peddle-powered music stage and a speakers panel, began Friday while Melinda Haag was speaking in Sacramento on the issue of medical cannabis dispensing centers and the federal authorities efforts to close them all down. Ms. Haag, who comes from a civil rights, white collar crime, child and environment protection background, seems to be doing the dirty work of the beast she used to protect the unprotected from.
Haag made it clear the resources used to go after the supply chain of the sick and dying will be used to shut down store-front operations, medical marijuana grows sites, and even seize properties and assets from landlords that rent to dispensaries.
“They declared war on us but now they are beginning to fire their warning shots a little closer,” says another dispensary owner, who wishes to remain anonymous should the threat by the DOJ lead to actions by the DEA.
“Some of us will close, but most will ignore their threat. If Obama comes after people who help sick and dying people get their medicine and help them heal, Obama will not have the support of this community… a majority of Americans believe marijuana is a medicine so these actions could be detrimental to his campaign, just ask Steve Cooley.”
Kamala Harris was San Francisco’s District Attorney and defeated Cooley in a close race that medical cannabis patients made the difference in.
San Jose’s ordinance, scheduled to take affect later this month, would force most dispensaries to close (Oct. 29) but if the citizens can collect the required amount of signatures medical cannabis patients will be able to obtain safe access to their medicine in San Jose, at least until the federal threats become a reality, should the Obama administration not be bluffing.
Some see this as Obama posturing himself for re-election, which is a gross miscalculation if that is his move according to the atmosphere at the Cow Palace, while others believe the motivation is to distract from the real conversation regarding cannabis as medicine so the war on drugs can push the plant into a big-pharmaceutical giant’s hands and before it gets rescheduled, so that patent laws can be enforced when patients grow their own, as farmers have seen in the corn and soy markets, for example.
Others have suggested that the ATF operation that backfired in Arizona dubbed “Fast and Furious” was so out of hand that in begins to play out as the Iran-Contra scandal for the newest battle in the war on drugs: Medical Marijuana.
Drug dealing by the U.S. government is not new, but recent allegations have risen in the wake of the ATF scandal that shines a light on the CIA’s involvement cooperation and support for the drug cartels in Mexico, namely the Sinaloa cartel.
This would seem far-fetched but those involved have been promoted and tax dollars have been used to fund this sort of scandal before so we’ll see how it plays out.
In the meantime, San Jose is screaming Stop and Harborside still has hope, even if Obama no longer does, and this could bode well for patients next November when they respond to these actions by voicing through their votes just how they feel about cannabis prohibition. Especially when the DEA is only enforcing their laws because as it is inaccurately written, misrepresents the cannabis plant as having no medical value.
The government’s scheduling of cannabis (Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act) is the only reason why local, state, and federal authorities have any room when they include marijuana in their war on drugs. However, now that the american public understands how the CIA’s actions are fueling the war on drugs, perhaps prohibition of plants will be a thing of the past, and if not, perhaps Obama will.