Federal government tramples on state’s rights, threatens to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
While the evidence supporting the medical applications of marijuana is overwhelming and the Obama administration claimed they would not target people using medical marijuana in states in which it was legal, like California, federal prosecutors are now going after dispensaries with a vengeance.
Yet again, the federal government is treating the Constitution as toilet paper by tossing aside state’s rights like so much garbage, this time threatening landlords with seizure of property and prison sentences if they do not shut down dispensaries in California within 45 days.
Even if the dispensaries are operating fully within California state law, they are now at risk of being targeted by government thugs who completely disregard the 10th Amendment and its provision of powers not given to the federal government to the states or the people.
The text of the Amendment reads:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This seems pretty simple to me, yet the federal government chooses to interpret this in a non-literal manner and/or ignore it completely to the detriment of the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.
Four U.S. attorneys scheduled a press conference for Friday, October 7th, 2011 to address this issue in Sacramento. During this conference, they will outline their plan to crack down on medical marijuana growers and dispensaries throughout the state, according to a Los Angeles Times article.
Among the countless broken promises made by Obama was his claim as a presidential candidate that he would support ending federal raids on medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. For those who are unaware, in visiting a dispensary, you specifically designate them as your caregiver.
Then, only months after his inauguration, the attorney general stated that it would be official policy of the Obama administration. Unfortunately, like many of Obama’s lies, it turned out to be nothing short of pure fabrication.
For instance, when Oakland and Berkeley were exploring plans which would allow industrial-scale cultivation of medical cannabis in a bid to better regulate and tax the production, the Bay Area federal attorney quickly stepped in to shut it down.
Apparently the Constitution, job creation, and increased tax revenue are not enough incentive for the federal government to butt-out of issues that are relegated to the control of the states.
An internal memo was passed around earlier this year which said that the feds would target their onslaught on growers and dispensaries that handled more than 1,000 plants (or 200 kilograms, roughly 440 pounds) per year.
While this might seem like a large amount, busy dispensaries can easily sell upwards of one pound per day and large growers, including growing collectives, also easily exceed 1,000 plants or 200 kg per year.
Under SB 420, limits to how much patients and caregivers could grow and possess in California were established.
These guidelines are 6 mature or 12 immature marijuana plants per patient and 8 ounces of dried marijuana flowers or equivalent.
Counties throughout the state are allowed under SB 420 to set the guidelines higher, but not lower.
SB 420 also allows individual patients to get a doctor’s note saying they require more medication but according to California NORML, in practice police regularly ignore this exception.
These limits are not yearly limits. They are limits at any point in time. Therefore, if a patient smokes 8 ounces per day (an extremely large quantity for an individual to consume every day under normal circumstances) every day, all year, they would consume 2,920 ounces or 182.5 pounds.
If a grower helped a patient who consumed this much cannabis per day, they would only be able to help 2 patients like this without being targeted by the feds.
While this is an extreme example, it is clear that the arbitrary limits set by the feds are not in line with state law and are highly restrictive. It does not take into account patients who need more medication or collectives and dispensaries that serve a large number of patients.
ProCon.org has compiled the opinions of medical doctors, associations, and others regarding the proper dosages of medical marijuana, which can be read here.
The Canadian Medical Association recommends a daily maximum dose of 5 grams per day, or 1,825 grams per year. This would be roughly 64 ounces of medical cannabis per year, or roughly 4 pounds. If all patients followed the CMA’s recommendations, which they don’t, a collective would only be able to serve 110 patients per year to avoid being targeted by the federal government.
The bigger question is how the feds would determine who was in this range for targeting.
Regardless, landlords of some dispensaries already have received the threatening letters from the federal government.
Among these is the owner of the building that contains the oldest dispensaries in all of California, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax, California.
This dispensary is just one of at least 16 which received warning letters this week, according to the Associated Press.
Part of the letters, signed by the U.S. Attorney for San Diego, Laura Duffy, read, “Under United States law, a dispensary’s operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions […] Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States … regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary.”
Similarly, the letter spits in the face of the 10th Amendment by saying that federal law “takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana.”
If this is true, they should be able to point to the passage in the Constitution that gives the federal government power over what states do concerning medical marijuana. Of course this will never happen but it is hard to stand up to the feds when they decide to do something that flies in the face of the Constitution.
California medical marijuana activists are outraged by this move, including William G. Panzer who played a part in the drafting of the California medical marijuana initiative.
Panzer told the Los Angeles Times, “The Obama administration has been incredibly disappointing on this issue.”
I couldn’t agree more. It is an affront to state’s rights, liberty and basic common sense. If a medicine is effective, could bring in massive tax revenue, could create thousands of jobs and is legal in the state and thus protected by the 10th Amendment, why would the federal government step in to stop it?
It seems pretty simple to me: pharmaceutical corporations can’t patent and monopolize medical marijuana and the powerful pharmaceutical lobby will not allow this to occur.
Medical marijuana has so many applications, including treatments which have yet to be explored due to legal restraints; it threatens a massive range of pharmaceutical products so it is understandable that the pharmaceutical lobby would be active in fighting it.
I can see no other logical reason as to why the federal government would opt to keep patients from accessing medicine that helps them while eliminating jobs and considerable tax revenue. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
How can we fight back against a tyrannical federal government that oversteps its bounds on a regular basis? How can we enforce the Constitution when the federal government pretends it doesn’t exist or is a set of guidelines that can be ignored whenever they see fit? Why do you think the feds are after medical marijuana?
I would love to hear your comments and suggestions via e-mail at [email protected] and I might include your comments in a future article. Please note that while I cannot reply to every e-mail, I do in fact read every e-mail I receive.