Written by Christopher Meyer | 6:10 pm on October 13, 2011
In a shocking betrayal of president Obama’s campaign promise not to interfere with medical marijuana in states where citizens voted to make it legal, US Attorneys in California have sent letters to landlords of prominent dispensaries threatening criminal charges and property seizure if they don’t evict their tenants.
It was that same promise that ultimately led to the Green Rush of 2009 and 2010 in Colorado. Hopeful cannapreneurs with slightly less fear of federal scrutiny took to opening retails centers, while patients signed up in droves.
Despite a countrywide trend towards favoring making cannabis medically available, despite diverse support for decriminalizing a relatively benign substance which results in a possession arrest every 20 seconds, despite bankrupt coffers, the US government is using resources to undermine the movement that seeks to cure these ills.
An attitude fostered for decades by drug war propaganda about cannabis has resulted in systemic prejudice against legal businesses that do not conduct commerce across state lines and should therefore fall outside of federal jurisdiction except for an odd precedent allowing the commerce clause to include produce consumed on the family farm.
The US is all too eager to collect taxes, but the IRS in a recent decision ruled that Harborside Health Center, likely the largest dispensary in the world, will not be allowed to deduct normal business expenses from their gross revenue and so owe more than double what their tax bill should be. If the decision stands the dispensary may have to close its doors.
The FDA approved a study to explore the effect of cannabis on New Mexico veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Though a study in lab rats showed promising results, the government organization in charge of providing cannabis for research refuses to provide the medicine for the study, stalling what could be vital research into the treatment and prevention of PTSD.
In Colorado those who violate state law are being caught, as in this instance where a medical marijuana center was exposed for selling suspected cocaine to an undercover officer. If the allegations are true it is regrettable that the owner of the medical marijuana center chose to break the law in this manner, but it is an indication of a very positive change.
Transparency within the medical marijuana industry allows such activities to be exposed, loosening the stranglehold that drug cartels who use revenue from marijuana to smuggle cocaine, meth, and other far more dangerous drugs.
These federal actions work to drive such activities back into the black market where they are more easily hidden and pose a real threat to the safety and security of US citizens.
Let us hope that such actions are not taken in Colorado.
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