Reason: Obama administration still breaking its promise on drug raids
posted at 3:35 pm on March 16, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
I suspect that most of the readers at Hot Air won’t be surprised to find the Department of Justice breaking its promise again to refrain from targeting medicinal-marijuana shops in states where voters have approved their operation. I also suspect that many here won’t shed tears for the operators of such stores, either. Reason TV catches a raid in progress in Los Angeles and reminds viewers that not only did Californians approve these stores years ago, Los Angeles just voted for a plan to tax them in order to close their budget gap:
“The DEA, with the assistance of the LAPD and the LASD served federal search warrants at approx. 210 pm this afternoon, March 15, 2011, as part of an on-going investigation. The warrants are federal and under seal by order of the court. Locations were 7800 and 8400 blocks of Santa Monica blvd, West Hollywood. We have one individual in custody right now, which may result in an arrest. Since the warrants are under seal I am unable to discuss any details regarding the warrants or investigation at this time.”
When asked about raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California in February 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder indicated raids would end on state approved dispensaries.
“What the president said during the campaign … will be consistent with what we will be doing here in law enforcement … What (President Obama) said during the campaign … is now American policy,” said Holder.
Obama told the Medford Mail Tribune in Oregon during the 2008 campaign “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.”
“I think the basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.”
On March 10, Los Angeles voters passed Measure M, or the “pot tax,” which will tax dispensaries by collecting $50 out of every thousand dollars made.
It’s possible in these two raids that there were other crimes suspected of the operators than just the sale of pot. Until the courts unseal the records, we won’t know the answer to that, as apparently no one in the DoJ wants to talk about it at the moment. If not, though, one can certainly argue that the statements of Obama and Holder about leaving state-licensed vendors alone amount to a moral case of entrapment, if not a legal case.
What is the actual Obama administration policy on licensed marijuana vendors in states like California? Shouldn’t they make that clear so that the operators of these clinics have a chance to adapt to a clear legal environment?