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« Matt Taibbi: 'Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves The Drug War Is A Joke' | Main | Mitch Daniels' Pot Luck »
Friday
May102013

President Pothead Is Sending People To Prison

HYPOCRISY WATCH

 

Toker-in-chief is trying to destroy medical marijuana.

Here's a great idea: let's take taxpayers and job providers and turn them into prisoners of the state.

Where is the California Attorney General in this brouhaha.  Why isn't his office blocking the Feds, and helping fight these cases. After all, it is their law. A recent Gallup Poll shows 64% of voters oppose federal intervention where medical marijuana is legal under state law.

 

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Dept of Justice Punishes California's Medical Marijuana Empire

New York Times

Matthew R. Davies graduated from college with a master’s degree in business and a taste for enterprise, working in real estate and restaurants before seizing on what he saw as uncharted territory with a vast potential for profits — medical marijuana.

He brought graduate-level business skills to a world decidedly operating in the shadows.  He hired accountants, compliance lawyers, managers, a staff of 75 and a payroll firm.  He paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits.

But in a case that highlights the growing clash between the federal government and those states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, the United States Justice Department indicted Mr. Davies six months ago on charges of cultivating marijuana, after raiding two dispensaries and a warehouse filled with nearly 2,000 marijuana plants.

The United States attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner, a 2009 Obama appointee, wants Mr. Davies to agree to a plea that includes a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, calling the case a straightforward prosecution of “one of the most significant commercial marijuana traffickers to be prosecuted in this district.”

At the center of this federal-state collision is a round-faced 34-year-old father of two young girls. Displaying a sheaf of legal documents, Mr. Davies, who has no criminal record, insisted in an interview that he had meticulously followed California law in setting up a business in 2009 that generated $8 million in annual revenues.  By all appearances, Mr. Davies’ dispensaries operated as openly as the local Krispy Kreme, albeit on decidedly more tremulous legal ground.

To be looking at 15 years of our life, you couldn’t pay me enough to give that up,” Mr. Davies said at the dining room table in his two-story home along the San Joaquin River Delta, referring to the amount of time he could potentially serve in prison. “If I had believed for a minute this would happen, I would never have gotten into this.

We thought, this is an industry in its infancy, it’s a heavy cash business, it’s basically being used by people who use it to cloak illegal activity.  Nobody was doing it the right way.  We thought we could make a model of how this should be done.”

His lawyers appealed this month to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to halt what they suggested was a prosecution at odds with Justice Department policies to avoid prosecutions of medical marijuana users and with President Obama’s statement that the government has “bigger fish to fry” than recreational marijuana users.

“Does this mean that the federal government will be prosecuting individuals throughout California, Washington, Colorado and elsewhere who comply with state law permitting marijuana use, or is the Davies case merely a rogue prosecutor out of step with administration and department policy?” asked Elliot R. Peters, one of his lawyers.

“This is not a case of an illicit drug ring under the guise of medical marijuana,” Mr. Peters wrote. “Here, marijuana was provided to qualified adult patients with a medical recommendation from a licensed physician. Records were kept, proceeds were tracked, payroll and sales taxes were duly paid.”

The federal authorities said they stumbled across the operation after two men were spotted apparently breaking into Mr. Davies’s 30,000-square-foot Stockton warehouse.  The police said they smelled marijuana plants. Federal agents conducted a raid and confiscated 1,962 plants and 200 pounds of marijuana.

“Why are they coming after me?” he asked.  “If they have such a problem with California, why can’t they sue California?”

Two of Mr. Davies’s co-defendants are pleading guilty, agreeing to five-year minimum terms, to avoid stiffer sentences.  Mr. Davies, while saying he did not “want to be a martyr,” decided to challenge the indictment with a combination of legal and public-relations measures, setting up a Web site devoted to his case and hiring Chris Lehane, a hard-hitting political consultant and former senior aide in Bill Clinton’s White House

“Mr. Davies is being prosecuted for serious felony offenses,” Mr. Wagner wrote to Mr. Davies’s lawyers. “I understand he is facing unpleasant alternatives.  Neither a meeting with me nor seeking a review in Washington will change that reality.”

Continue reading at the NYT...

 

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Bonus clip:

Eric Holder questioned on medical marijuana enforcement.

Start watching at the 1-minute mark.  Dec. 8, 2011.

The Choomwagon-in-Chief wants new revenues, right.   Here's at least $20 billion waiting for him, like low hanging buds.  

 

Related links:

 

 

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Reader Comments (17)

Nearly half of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana, and 64 percent oppose federal intervention in the 18 states where cannabis is legal for recreational or medical purposes, according to recent Gallup polls. Public support for legalizing marijuana has risen steadily in recent years and peaked in 2011, when 50 percent of those polled said America's third-most popular drug (behind tobacco and alcohol) should be legal for adults to use.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14400-is-america-ready-to-legalize-marijuana
Feb 23, 2013 at 6:42 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Blumenauer’s bill would create a federal marijuana excise tax of 50 percent on the “first sale” of marijuana — typically, from a grower to a processor or retailer. It also would tax pot producers or importers $1,000 annually and other marijuana businesses $500.

His office said Monday it doesn’t yet have an estimate of how much the taxes might bring in. But a policy paper Blumenauer and Polis are releasing this week suggests, based on admittedly vague estimates, that a federal tax of $50 per ounce could raise $20 billion a year.

http://www.salon.com/2013/02/04/dems_move_to_change_federal_pot_laws/
Feb 23, 2013 at 6:43 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
I found this posted as a comment at the NYT article.

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Marijuana and psychedelics were both legal until Nixon had them reclassified as dangerous drugs, because they were awakening people to misgovernance in Washington. We dispatched Nixon, but not his legacy. To say that marijuana is a danger like heroin is as bright as saying the world is flat. The law is wrong. Don't enforce it. Change it.

Tobacco kills half its users, over 400,000 a year. Alcohol kills more than 100,000. Marijuana kills no one. And unlike alcohol, our besotted congress's drug of choice, it does not foster aggression, hostility, or violence. Note on the other hand, that our government is happy to allow Big Pharma (major congressional campaign contributors) to sell us drugs whose potential side-effects include organ failure, madness, and sudden death.

Americans are going to consume what they please. Prohibition only creates organized crime, spikes prices, and skyrockets law-enforcement budgets and violence. And the last time I read the Constitution, it gave our government no power whatsoever to dictate what we can and cannot put into our bodies. We are all sovereign human beings, not government chattel.

Imagine how it might effect our nation if marijuana were legal. Those unemployed with a patch of earth could grow an income in their backyards, sell it only in the legal marketplace, pay taxes, jump-start our economy, save their homes, and feed their families. And our world would be a kinder, gentler place.
Feb 23, 2013 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
What I don't understand is why the State of CA is not fighting on behalf of its citizens who are obeying its laws.

Is it just a question of priorities in Sacramento, or what?
Feb 23, 2013 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Another question for resident lawyers Cheyenne and Josie.

Are these federal drug cases decided by judges or juries?

It would seem to me that NO WAY IN HELL a jury in Cali would convict, so there must be some federal strategy to avoid a jury trial.
Feb 23, 2013 at 7:08 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Ben Wagner (US Attorney for E. Cali.) is an effing c**k sucker. But so are No-Action Jackson and his boss, the Droner in Chief.
Feb 23, 2013 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
Meanwhille, the TSA hasn't caught a single terrorist in its decade-long existence as an irritating and officious welfare program in a shitty disguise. The following video reveals that many more TSA employees than you might imagine harbor deep shame over this fact, as evidenced by their prickly hostility.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3ODNwr607E

H/t Michael Rivero for this instant classic in public humiliation.
Feb 24, 2013 at 2:06 AM | Registered CommenterCheyenne
I know this is a pressing issue for many. One would think more would think would think
be concerned this President is arming the same Al Qaeda that this whole hoax war OF terror and the
Israeli trained Police State for the last 12Years has been all about.

TREASON IS MORE IMPORTANT THEN SMOKING POT!

BUT JUST IMAGINE YOUR RELATIVE WAS KILLED BY THE AL QAEDA THAT OBAMA NOW ARMED IN LIBYA
AND NOW ARMS IN SYRIA. 110.000 HAVE BEEN MURDERED BY OBAMA.
REV. WRIGHT WAS KILLED"RIGHT"
Feb 24, 2013 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commentermajor William Martin
Pressing issue? More of a "burning" issue ;-). The issue here is someone going to jail in order to advance some effing c##k sucker's career, not pot-smoking per se. But your point is well taken.
Feb 24, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
Worst president of my lifetime. Obama could end this prosecution with one phone call.
Feb 24, 2013 at 2:58 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Another case of Obama saying one thing and doing another. Guess his Choom Gang Social Contract Expired!

DB, the pot growing Entrepreneur is not in line with keeping them dependent on the Government. I know several who would actually get off the couch to grow. They are sadly the same that would not report the income and still collect unemployment, foodstamps (one word now) section 8 housing, and free cell phone.


Also, don't forget Nixon had drugs reclassified as dangerous drugs, during the same time he awarded Elvis Presley a Badge as
"Federal Agent-at-Large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Note the handshake, to seal the deal.

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/nsa/elvis/elnix.html




Speaking of Hyprocrisy, why would the Postal Service who is too broke to continue Saturday mail delivery after August, spend 31 Million to support Lance Armstrong? Holder is asking for 100 million, is that for his front or back pocket?
Federal government files civil lawsuit against Lance Armstrong - The ...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/federal-government-files-civil-lawsuit-against-lance-armstrong/2013/02/23/7f383978-7dc1-11e2-9073-e9dda4ac6a66_video.html?tid=pm_vid




Great Video Cheyenne! More likely to find out the number of crimes committed by TSA agents.
Did you think they all look a little Chubby?
Feb 24, 2013 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBackgammon
Maybe we can afford legal marijuana. Who can afford health care in the Private or Obamacare system? I thought this was a nice rant.
http://www.interfluidity.com/v2/4013.html

Grateful Dead, “I may be going to hell in a bucket, but at least I’m enjoying the ride.”
Feb 24, 2013 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTR
I have systemic scleraderma, besides the 10 other drugs I take, I also take morphine, oxycotin and fentanyl. pot would ease my pain, and maby I could stop takig drugs that cost more than 2,000.00 a month I STILL have pain, but I dont want to up my drug intake, these pills and patches are killing me I have no $$ now and wont have any unless I win the Loto. Bit iff I could grow 2 or 3 plants, it would last me a year. My illness has boken me down.My body, mind and wallet, Why prosecute this guy in Calf. Makes no sence to me at al.....
Feb 25, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterWilliam S.Anderson
Carbon and now this...

Legal Marijuana in US violates UN treaties....

http://en.rian.ru/world/20130306/179839064/Legal-Marijuana-in-US-Violates-Treaties-UN-Agency.html

[snip]

WASHINGTON, March 5 (RIA Novosti) – The United Nations agency that monitors global drug treaties said Tuesday that it has “serious” concerns about the legalization of recreational marijuana in two US states – Colorado and Washington – and urged the United States government to ensure it complies with international drug control treaties to which it is a signatory.
“Such initiatives run counter to the growing body of scientific evidence documenting the harm associated with drug abuse, including occasional use, particularly among young people during their formative years,” Raymond Yans, president of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), said in a statement issued with the organization’s 2012 annual report Tuesday.
In November, voters in Colorado and Washington State became the first states to approve ballot measures legalizing possession of permissible amounts of marijuana and the creation of regulations for the legal commercial sale of the drug.
The drug is currently legal in both states, putting them at odds with federal drug laws, and the US Justice Department has yet to spell out publicly whether it will enforce the ban under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
US Attorney General Eric Holder said last week he was in the final stages of reviewing the two states’ new marijuana laws and that he was examining policy options and international impact, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Yans said Tuesday that such legalization initiatives “would violate the international drug control conventions and could undermine the noble objectives of the entire drug control system, which are to ensure the availability of drugs for medical purposes while preventing their abuse.”
Both the United States and Russia are members of the INCB, which is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
A group of former chiefs of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, meanwhile, called on Washington Tuesday to enforce federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington State. A failure to do so, they said, risks leading to legalization measures being adopted in other states as well.
“My fear is that the Justice Department will do what they are doing now: do nothing and say nothing,” former DEA head Peter Bensinger said, the AP reported.
Supporters of the measures have argued that legalizing marijuana for recreational use would deprive criminal drug cartels of profits and would generate substantial tax revenue for state coffers.
Opponents argue that legalization will attract illegal drug dealers from outside the state and lead to increased use of marijuana by young people.
Mar 5, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohn
Ben Wagner, U.S. Attorney for California (and major-league c*** sucker), takes down one of America's greatest criminal masterminds.

Indicts a journalist for posting his old Tribune Co./L.A. Times username and password on the internet, which Anonymous then used to punk the LA Times webpage. The guy could get up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/288301-reuters-editor-accused-of-helping-hackers-disrupt-la-times
http://www.scribd.com/doc/130430052/Matthew-Keys-Indictment
Mar 15, 2013 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
We should claw back a portion of Ben Wagner's salary for this -- what a useless waste of taxpayer funds.
Mar 15, 2013 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterDr. Pitchfork
Nice find, Pitch. I had seen the headline but didn't realize Wagner was behind the case.
Mar 17, 2013 at 12:10 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail

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