I consider Obama’s presidency to be a mixed bag. There are things he has done that I support (Ending DADT, credit card reform) and things that I oppose (PPACA, Cash For Clunkers, GM Bailout, increasing CAFE Standards, offshore drilling moratorium). A lot of the things that really inflame fellow Leaguers (drone attacks) don’t particularly inflame me. There is at least one thing he has done that has sent me through the roof, however. Not because it’s of tantamount importance in the greater scheme of things, but because of how unnecessary it was and how I simply cannot put a positive spin on it.

I speak of the Administration going from “As a general matter, [we] should not focus federal resources individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” and “We limit our enforcement efforts to those individuals, organizations that are acting out of conformity…with state laws.” to “The intertwined subjects of medical marijuana, Montana law and medical necessity have no relevance to determining whether the government has proven the crimes charged in the indictment … Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law … and can’t be dispensed under a prescription.”

I don’t expect much from Democrats when it comes to pot legalization. I expect less from Republicans not named Gary Johnson. The most that can be said is that McCain would have raided more dispensaries than Obama did. Yet, even if this is true, it’s not the raids themselves that have me up in arms about this. It’s the announcement that encouraged the businesses to form in the first place only to have the founders arrested later on. Enforce the law (which is legally right) or don’t enforce the law (which is morally right), but it’s very important that everybody is clear on which route you’re going to go.

If there is any confusion as to the relationship between the Ogden Memo, which suggested that enforcement would not occur, and the proliferation of the dispensaries that garnered exceptional legal liability, this is from the Great Falls Tribune:

Many people in the medical marijuana community believed the Ogden memo demonstrated that President Barack Obama had fulfilled his 2007 campaign promise to “not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users.” {…}

In the span of just two years, the number of medical marijuana patients skyrocketed from 3,921 in September 2009 to more than 28,000 by the time the Legislature convened in January 2011. During that same period, the number of Montana caregivers authorized to grow marijuana for patients jumped from 1,403 to 4,833.

The problems that were occurring under Montana’s Medical Marijuana law shouldn’t be understated. They were significant and well known throughout the Mountain West region. So much so that the debate within Montana – a state in which MedMar passed a public vote by a substantial margin – was whether it should be mended or ended. The raids occurred while this debate was happening – literally, while a state senate panel was voting, the DEA was arming up.

Montana’s first registered dispenser died in prison about six weeks ago. His son is serving a five year sentence, his wife is serving two (for bookkeeping).

Being the federalist that I am, my view is that even if Montana law was spinning out of control it should have been allowed to remain a Montana issue. If the federal government was unwilling to allow it to continue, however, I would have understood that to if an announcement had been made to that effect. But whatever should have happened, this should not have happened. Maybe we should have a completely black and white view of the law and if it’s illegal it should be illegal. Maybe there’s room for gray. But the rules, official or unofficial, should not be changed after legitimate business licenses are allowed to be issued.

Category: Courthouse

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2 Responses to “You F-ed Up. You Trusted Us.”

  1. ScarletKnight says:

    This is the difference between the Mountain West libertarian Republican and the Southern Jesus Republican.

    Anyway, it is amazing to me that people who grew up in the 60s haven’t been able to get this done.

    I am of the opinion that this isn’t a Federal issue, but the Feds disagree with me.

    If the blue staters formed a coalition with the MW red staters, they could decriminalize it at the Federal level.

    Not that I use it, or encourage anyone to do so, but I am of the opinion that unless there is a good reason to make it illegal, it should be legal. Legal should be the default position.

  2. trumwill says:

    It’s a lot harder to make something that is legal something illegal than vice-versa, so I understand some caution being applied. However, when it comes to pot, we already have some test cases that “No, the world doesn’t end.”

    I’m with you on the state-to-state thing. If California wants to give cocaine a go, then let’s see how it works. Yeah, that means it’ll be a whole lot easier to smuggle it into Arizona, but… well… tough. Keeping it out of the country has proven to be the thing we are least able to do anyway.

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