Opinion: Is the DEA the ‘'D’oooh!’’ agency du jour?
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Uh, guys -- you DEA guys. Didn’t the picture of a different man in the official frame where the President’s picture always goes give you a clue?
Barack Obama is in, George Bush is out -- and out, too, it seems, the policy of raiding medical marijuana dispensaries. Or didn’t you hear?
Apparently not. In Los Angeles today, at least two Westside medical marijuana dispensaries were reportedly raided by agents, in spite of the fact that Obama said during the campaign that the use of medical marijuana can be ''appropriate.’' A number of states agree, and have voted accordingly, including California. As Obama told Oregon’s ''Mail Tribune’’ newspaper, as president, ''I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.’'
And yet we have today’s raids, where the DEA reportedly did not even bother to notify the LAPD about what it was doing, as is customary. Just two days after Obama was sworn in, the DEA also raided a medical marijuana dispensary in South Lake Tahoe.
Reliving the good old days, boys? Or getting in a few last shots before the new attorney general gets his feet under the desk?
Back in 2001, barely six weeks after the attacks of 9/11, when all of the nation’s intelligence and law enforcement resources were supposedly being thrown at terrorism, the Bush Administration nonetheless found the time and manpower to raid a medical marijuana dispensary in a West Hollywood church. When the case came to a finale in court, I was there when federal judge A. Howard Matz handed down the lightest possible sentence he could to the dispensary operators -- one of them a cancer patient himself -- and said stingingly, “I think this entire prosecution was badly misguided.’'
So here we go again. Unregulated and poorly regulated dispensaries are a real problem, as the state of California knows and has been trying to do something about. If that was the problem underlying today’s raids, at least the DEA could have let the local law know that it had a problem, and even brought the LAPD along on the raid.
But many of these dispensaries operate scrupulously, with the knowledge and blessing of city and county law enforcement officials -- and now with the tacit permission of the President of the United States, who said he’ll defer to state law. And that, under Proposition 215, makes medical pot legal in California.
Now if only someone will cc all of this to the DEA.