The Speakeasy Blog

Police Kill Miami Man in Marijuana Grow House Shootout

A Miami man is dead after police said he opened fire on them as they investigated a possible marijuana grow house. Still no word if it actually was a marijuana grow house, though. Chronicle story here.

Bipartisan Bill to Fight Overdoses Filed in Congress

A couple of dozen House members have introduced a bill aimed at reducing the steadily climbing toll from drug overdoses, most of them from prescription opioid pain relievers, by providing federal support for state and local prevention and education programs, including expanded use of naloxone. Chronicle story here.

Medical Marijuana Update

What!? No DEA raids? Not this week, but the federal crackdown on dispensaries continues, and cities and localities in medical marijuana states continue to grapple with the issues around it. Chronicle story here.

Handcuffed Marijuana Offender Shot, Killed in Police Car

Police say a young Mississippi man shot himself while cuffed with his hands behind his back in the back sear of a police car with a gun they missed while searching him after arresting him for marijuana. His mother isn't buying it. Chronicle story here.

Lebanon Hash Eradication Hits New Obstacle

Lebanon's annual effort to wipe out hashish production is having a particularly rocky time this year. On Tuesday, eradicators were stuck without bulldozers after locals refused to rent to them. At least no one was shooting at them this week. Chronicle story here.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

A crank-dealing sheriff cops a plea, an LA narc gets a case of sticky fingers, an Arkansas narc develops a fondness for dope, and a North Carolina parole officer gets caught forcing his parolees to supply him with dope. Chronicle story here.

DOJ to Sentencing Commission: Fewer Prisoners, Please

The Justice Department is signaling it wants a smaller federal prison population because we can't afford our mass incarceration binge anymore, but it doesn't want to talk about the drug war. Chronicle story here.

Woman Walks After Prosecutorial Perfidy in Tucson [FEATURE]

Aurora Lopez-Avila is back home in Mexico. A mother of three, she struggles daily to rebuild a shattered life that once hung in the balance -- after sitting for more than two years in a Tucson, Arizona, federal jail facing charges that she attempted to transport 10 kilos of cocaine across the Arizona-Mexico border on December 8, 2009. Chronicle feature story here.

Medical Marijuana Rescheduling Lawsuit Moving

Ten years after the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis filed a petition to remove marijuana from Schedule I and one year after the DEA rejected that petition, a federal appeals court is set to hear the evidence. Chronicle story here.

"You Can't Stop AIDS Without Ending the Drug War" [FEATURE]

The International AIDS Conference in Washington this week saw foreign drug users and sex workers excluded even amidst a rising clamor for ending the drug war to help stop the spread of disease. Chronicle feature story here.

Colombia Coca Cultivation Ticks Upward

Coca production in Colombia ticked upward last year after four straight years of declines, the UNODC said in a new report. It's still way down from its peak, though. Chronicle story here.

Medical Marijuana Update

Harborside fights for its life, LA bans dispensaries, and Oregon transplant hospitals are lightening up on medical marijuana patients. Those are the big stories this week, but there's plenty more, too. Chronicle update here.

Two More US Drug War Killings

One man is dead after swallowing drugs and being hit with a stun gun in Indianapolis as he tried to flee an arrest. Another is dead in Massachusetts after he was shot trying to flee an arrest in his car. Chronicle story here.

This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories

Bad cop, no donut for a Miami sergeant, two more TSA screeners cop pleas in LA, and a Phoenix cop couldn't keep his paws off the evidence room goodies. Chronicle story here.

Washington Marijuana Initiative Has Good Week

Washington state's I-502 marijuana legalization initiative did well in polling this week and even better in fundraising. This thing could win, and it has the money to help make that happen. Chronicle story here.

Lebanon Hash Farmers Attack Eradicators

It's almost time for the hash harvest in Lebanon, and farmers are taking up arms to protect their cash crop from eradicators. Chronicle story here.

Marijuana Authors Talk at Oaksterdam [FEATURE]

There was some interesting and well-informed discussion at Oaksterdam University Saturday night as the authors of four recent books on marijuana sat down to talk and think out loud. Chronicle feature story here.

Oakland to President Obama: Change Your Ways! [FEATURE]

In one of the largest medical marijuana demonstrations in years, as many as a thousand people came out in Oakland Monday to let President Obama know he needs to end the federal crackdown on dispensaries. Chronicle feature story here.

Live Video from Oakland Demo

Live video feed from the Oakland "Save Harborside" medical marijuana protest.

Obama is scheduled to arrive at the fundraiser at 4:30pm PST -- protest goes until 6:00pm PST.

Location: 
Oakland, CA
United States

Belize Ponders Marijuana Decriminalization

The English speaking Central American nation of Belize has undertaken a review of whether to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Chronicle story here.

Montana Marijuana Initiative Comes Up Short

A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana in Montana has failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but voters in Big Sky County will still have the chance to vote on medical marijuana. Chronicle story here.

Book Review: "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know"

Four academic specialists on drug policy have come together to pen "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know." It's a pretty handy primer. Chronicle book review here.

Obama's War On Medical Marijuana Just Got Even Uglier

Posted in:

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One month ago, Eric Holder testified before Congress that the Dept. of Justice is only targeting medical marijuana businesses that violate their state's laws. Anyone who didn't realize it was a lie should be getting the message right about now.

The federal government is moving to shut down the nation's largest and highest-profile medical marijuana dispensary operation, filing papers to seize properties in Oakland and San Jose where Harborside Health Center does business.

Copies of the federal Complaint for Forfeiture were taped to the front doors of the two dispensaries Tuesday, alleging that they were "operating in violation of federal law."

Medical marijuana advocates, as well as some state and local officials, decried the action, saying it hurts patients in legitimate need of the drug and breaks repeated promises by President Obama's Justice Department that it was targeting only operations near schools and parks or otherwise in violation of the state's laws. [LA Times]

They're not even pretending it's about state law anymore. Harborside has a permit from the City of Oakland and pays millions in taxes to the state of California. They've been covered extensively in the press, and featured on the Discovery Channel program "Weed Wars". Everyone knows exactly what goes on inside Harborside because we've seen it with our own eyes: they provide high-quality medical cannabis and other services to qualified patients. This is the definition of a legal and well-regulated medical marijuana dispensary.

So how are the feds justifying their attempt to shut down the most responsible business in the industry? They are claiming, I kid you not, that it's just too successful:

I now find the need to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as Harborside. The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need. – U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag

This is beyond outrageous and it flies in the face of even the most recent excuses put forward by the Attorney General and the President himself when attempting to justify their escalating war on medical marijuana.

By targeting Harborside solely on the basis of its reputation as the nation's "biggest" medical marijuana provider, DOJ forgets something rather important: it's the biggest because it's the best. Harborside is a model of safe, secure, patient-oriented medical marijuana services. It's also a model of legal compliance, and any effort to shut its doors simply obliterates the Attorney General's recent claims that DOJ is merely upholding local laws. He really should stop saying that.

It boggles the mind to imagine what sort of perverted logic is driving Obama's vicious assault on a voting block that helped elect him four years ago. What little the President has said on the matter in recent months is now even more obviously false, and if it isn’t about upholding state laws, then the question of the Administration's true agenda is something about which we can only speculate. It isn't winning him any votes, that's for sure.

Today, anyone who's tried to make excuses for Obama's horrible handling of all this should just stop. Anyone who says this President is secretly a friend of the marijuana reform movement should close their mouth. Anyone who's claimed that "they're only busting bad dispensaries" can cut the crap. This is a war. It's Obama's war. And to my friends who are too afraid of Mitt Romney right now to criticize Obama, I say you're making our President more dangerous by meeting his mistakes with silence.

If you don’t want Obama to destroy medical marijuana in America, this would be a good time to speak up about it.

Pelosi Suggests Movement Post-Election on Medical Marijuana

Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday she may be open to making changes in federal law surrounding medical marijuana. That's her strongest statement yet on the issue. Chronicle story here.

Feds Target California's Highest Profile Dispensary

Federal prosecutors have targeted Harborside Health Center, California's iconic largest dispensary, with an asset forfeiture action. But Harborside isn't just going to roll over and play dead. Chronicle story here.

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