The Department of Justice & the Drug Enforcement Administration are once again targeting patients & providers across the country. They’re not considering the tremendous ramifications of their actions.
By Lauren Payne | July 14, 2012
The recent interference by the Dept of “Justice” is infuriating. The DEA & the DOJ have collaborated to eradicate Medical Cannabis Dispensaries (MCDs) in California and across the country.
In July 2007, the height of federal activity, as many as 5 MCDs were the targets of paramilitary-style raids each week. The Bush Administration targeted patients & providers at an alarming rate, raiding dispensaries & operators’ homes, taking all the cash they could find, and seizing bank accounts. Due to public outcry, unabashed media coverage, and an amazing grassroots campaign, the federal government took a step back.
Over the past 5 years, small victories abounded.
Barack Obama made promises to the medical cannabis community, both before & after winning the Presidency. The President’s own Deputy Attorney General issued a memo regarding the prosecution of patients & providers who might be under investigation after public outrage regarding the only minor reduction in raids. This memo directed US Attorneys, in wishy-washy language, to grant immunity to operators & patients who were operating within their own state’s laws.
Meanwhile the almost complete silence of the press led the public to believe that raids had ended, even though there was only an average of 20% drop in raids during the past 2 years.
Now, 5 years after the worst of the raids, the federal government is at it again.
This time, though, the tactics are different.
Landlords of MCDs & cultivators are the targets. What is most frustrating about the situation is that, in this wonk’s opinion, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Yes, at the end of the day, President Obama is to blame.
It is his administrative agencies that are directly interfering with access. But it probably goes beyond that. It might just be the case that the DEA & DOJ are essentially running amok, knowing that the President can’t make any large, controversial moves during the last legs of what is turning out to be a very close race for his second term.
Much like a teenager who knows his parents are currently much too busy to oversee any disciplinary actions, the DEA & DOJ are going against the current administration’s stated policies knowing that there will be no repercussions.
The effect on patients is far from the minds of those who are “enforcing” federal law. Patients will be driven underground, now that the largest MCDs are being evicted and forced to close, and licensed cultivators are being raided at alarming rates. Crime will skyrocket across the country, as unregulateld drug trade blossoms and medical cannabis once again becomes inaccessible. Those who need access the most will find that their medicine is no longer available due to a political pissing contest.
It is time for a comprehensive federal policy regarding medical cannabis. It is time for federal legislators, regulators, and executives to recognize that this is a pressing health policy issue, not criminal justice issue. And it is time for each of us to stand up & say “I support the rights of patients!”
Tell your President, your Congressional Representative, your Senators, and anyone in your sphere of influence why access is crucial, and why it is time for the rescheduling petition to be approved.