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.
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.”
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.
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