CommunityFDL Main Blog

What Part of “Not a Priority” Does the DEA Not Understand?

DEA Agents and a helicopter in training

DEA Agents (via DEA)

Earlier this month the DEA conducted several coordinated raids of California medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives. The federal agents raided a medical marijuana farm in the northern county of Mendocino, as well as a dispensary in San Diego. They destroyed all the marijuana plants and seized the grower’s computer and cash from the property.

Problem is, these DEA raids are in direct opposition to the directive issued by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder last year that designated raids on legal medical marijuana dispensaries to “not be a priority” for the DEA. The places raided by the DEA were not just in total compliance with state and local laws, but the raided farm was the very first to come into legal compliance with local authorities.

Greenfield had applied in the name of her collective, “Light The Way,” which opened in San Diego earlier this year. Her property had passed a preliminary inspection by the Mendo sheriff’s deputies shortly before the raid, and she had bought the sheriff’s “zip-ties” intended to designate her cannabis plants as legal.

In the days before the raid, Greenfield had seen a helicopter hovering over her property; she inquired with the sheriff, who told her the copter belonged to the DEA and wasn’t under his control.

The agents invaded her property with guns drawn, tore out the collective’s 99 plants and took Greenfield’s computer and cash.

Joy was not at home during the raid, but spoke on the phone to the DEA agent in charge. When she told he she was a legal grower under the sheriff’s program, the agent replied, “I don’t care what the sheriff says.”

So today, Firedoglake publisher Jane Hamsher joined drug policy reform organizations and a conservative group, led by the Marijuana Policy Project, in condemning the DEA’s raids.

Two ideologically diverse advocates today echoed an earlier call by a coalition of drug-policy reform groups and condemned a series of recent raids by the Drug Enforcement Administration on medical marijuana collectives that were operating legally under state law. The Tenth Amendment Center, a group that advocates on behalf of states’ rights, and Jane Hamsher, the publisher of FireDogLake.com, called on the DEA to respect duly adopted state medical marijuana laws and immediately end these raids.

The DEA is out of control. The agency and its acting administrator, Michele Leonhart, are clearly flaunting a direct order from the Attorney General and the President of the United States. But Leonhart isn’t just an acting administrator – President Obama nominated her to take the job full time, but her nomination is stalled in the Senate.

Jane Hamsher singled out Leonhart in her criticism of the DEA’s raids:

“At least 73% of Americans support medical marijuana, according to recent polls, and its use has been made legal in 14 states plus the District of Columbia,” said Jane Hamsher, publisher of progressive political blog and advocacy group Firedoglake.com. “Attorney General Eric Holder was crystal clear last year when he directed officials within his department not to waste federal resources interfering with state medical marijuana laws. Yet throughout the tenure of President Obama’s administration, the DEA’s raids have continued in a manner wholly inconsistent with the spirit of that directive.

“What part of “not a priority” does Michele Leonhart not understand?”

Drug policy organizations were quick to organize against these unlawful raids. Along with the Marijuana Policy Project, groups like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, NORML, Drug Policy Alliance, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy all joined in a petition to Obama to withdraw Leonhart’s nomination to head the DEA. It’s a smart move, and is much needed if the Obama Administration was actually serious about making senseless medical marijuana raids “not to be a priority” for federal law enforcement.

CommunityFDL Action

What Part of “Not a Priority” Does the DEA Not Understand?

DEA Agents and a helicopter in training

DEA Agents (via DEA)

Earlier this month the DEA conducted several coordinated raids of California medical marijuana dispensaries and collectives. The federal agents raided a medical marijuana farm in the northern county of Mendocino, as well as a dispensary in San Diego. They destroyed all the marijuana plants and seized the grower’s computer and cash from the property.

Problem is, these DEA raids are in direct opposition to the directive issued by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder last year that designated raids on legal medical marijuana dispensaries to “not be a priority” for the DEA. The places raided by the DEA were not just in total compliance with state and local laws, but the raided farm was the very first to come into legal compliance with local authorities.

Greenfield had applied in the name of her collective, “Light The Way,” which opened in San Diego earlier this year. Her property had passed a preliminary inspection by the Mendo sheriff’s deputies shortly before the raid, and she had bought the sheriff’s “zip-ties” intended to designate her cannabis plants as legal.

In the days before the raid, Greenfield had seen a helicopter hovering over her property; she inquired with the sheriff, who told her the copter belonged to the DEA and wasn’t under his control.

The agents invaded her property with guns drawn, tore out the collective’s 99 plants and took Greenfield’s computer and cash.

Joy was not at home during the raid, but spoke on the phone to the DEA agent in charge. When she told he she was a legal grower under the sheriff’s program, the agent replied, “I don’t care what the sheriff says.”

So today, Firedoglake publisher Jane Hamsher joined drug policy reform organizations and a conservative group, led by the Marijuana Policy Project, in condemning the DEA’s raids.

Two ideologically diverse advocates today echoed an earlier call by a coalition of drug-policy reform groups and condemned a series of recent raids by the Drug Enforcement Administration on medical marijuana collectives that were operating legally under state law. The Tenth Amendment Center, a group that advocates on behalf of states’ rights, and Jane Hamsher, the publisher of FireDogLake.com, called on the DEA to respect duly adopted state medical marijuana laws and immediately end these raids.

The DEA is out of control. The agency and its acting administrator, Michele Leonhart, are clearly flouting a direct order from the Attorney General and the President of the United States. But Leonhart isn’t just an acting administrator – President Obama nominated her to take the job full time, but her nomination is stalled in the Senate.

Jane Hamsher singled out Leonhart in her criticism of the DEA’s raids:

“At least 73% of Americans support medical marijuana, according to recent polls, and its use has been made legal in 14 states plus the District of Columbia,” said Jane Hamsher, publisher of progressive political blog and advocacy group Firedoglake.com. “Attorney General Eric Holder was crystal clear last year when he directed officials within his department not to waste federal resources interfering with state medical marijuana laws. Yet throughout the tenure of President Obama’s administration, the DEA’s raids have continued in a manner wholly inconsistent with the spirit of that directive.

“What part of “not a priority” does Michele Leonhart not understand?”

Drug policy organizations were quick to organize against these unlawful raids. Along with the Marijuana Policy Project, groups like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, NORML, Drug Policy Alliance, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy all joined in a petition to Obama to withdraw Leonhart’s nomination to head the DEA. It’s a smart move, and is much needed if the Obama Administration was actually serious about making senseless medical marijuana raids “not to be a priority” for federal law enforcement.

Previous post

Oil "Disappearing" the Way BP's Tax Liability Disappeared

Next post

Congress Passes Fair Sentencing Act; Lower Crack-Cocaine Disparity Heads to Obama for Signature

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
Subscribe in a reader