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Medical marijuana crackdown in California illegal because it's not happening in Colorado?

marijuana plants in pots cropped.JPG
Yesterday, attorneys in California asked a court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop federal raids on pot dispensaries there.

This request makes a slew of legal arguments, one of which pivots on the lack of such federal actions in Colorado -- at least thus far. But as sympathetic as he is to the cause, attorney and marijuana advocate Brian Vicente doesn't hold out much hope that it will succeed.

As noted in the Washington Post article linked above, "The California lawsuits argue that the federal government is also violating the 14th Amendment of the Constitution requiring equal protection under the law because medical marijuana operations in Colorado are not facing a similar crackdown."

Brian Vicente Sensible.jpg
Brian Vicente.
Vicente's response? "This is definitely a novel argument they're bringing forth -- but I think why this is perhaps not a winning argument is because different federal agencies and different federal offices have different priorities and can enforce them as they see fit. Colorado has had a medical marijuana law for eleven years at this point, and the federal government hasn't taken action to arrest every sick patient they can -- nor have they done that in California. But to say they're doing one thing in one place and ramping up enforcement in another doesn't necessarily indicate a 14th Amendment violation.

"I think the attorneys in California are throwing whatever arguments they can on the table in the hope that the federal government will back off," he says. "But I don't necessarily think this is one of the stronger ones."

He sees more promise in the claim that the raids represent an unfair change in policy in the wake of a 2009 memo by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, which encouraged U.S. Attorneys not to use scarce law enforcement resources to go after MMJ operations following state law.

"I think that's a more interesting and perhaps more viable argument," he maintains. "You have a situation where the government has essentially given a green light to certain activities, whether it's providing medical marijuana or being a medical marijuana patient, and then they kind of flip their enforcement priorities and go back on that policy. I think there's a degree of detrimental reliance, where people invest their time and savings into getting these shops off the ground because the government lets them know it's okay but then suddenly backs out."


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27 comments
knowa1
knowa1

Holder and his DoJ, ATF DEA have the blood of 45,000 Mexicans on their hands maybe if mexico is so  bought and paid for  by the US maybe it should be taken up at the world court at the  Hauge for war crimes

Kyle Maestas
Kyle Maestas

ANY initiative that does not presuppose the complete exoneration of any American who is still suffering from being charged with a Marijuana felony, is not really good enough is it?

How can you nitpick about what to do to maintain your ability to participate in Medical Marijuana, while the pioneers, the very people who kept good Marijuana around for the last 50 years, are rotting in a prison cell. Or working at a Kum & Go even though they are brilliant people and professional botanists. 

Just remember that when you squirm, squirm with them in mind, cause its kind of fucked up otherwise, to just look out for your own ass.

Allamony
Allamony

The problem with asking Politicians to undo prohibition is in their comprehension of the culpability in the matter. Questions arise like, "how can we legalize Marijuana while the rest of the world continues to suffer under the Marijuana laws we forced them to adopt?" Or, "how will Joaquin Guzman and others south of the Border react to our crippling their entire market for Marijuana in the United States?"

How in the hell did we sign off on Legalizing an Ounce of Marijuana in Denver in 2004(?), with no infrastructure? How does the Government justify going after growers when they just said that you could purchase and possess Marijuana in Denver when they did that? 

The same issue is at hand in Chicago right now, what else is Rahm Emmanuel supposed to do but Stonewall? Full legalization means creating a huge unregulated market for people to make a lot of money outside of the corporate model of our Plutocracy. Seasoned growers are going to fill the supply chain, not RJ Reynolds ...

More to come ... 

Patient
Patient

Thumbs up to brian vicente. I know many anti-regulation medical marijuana entrepreneurs hate him but while everyone else has been fighting the system, brian has been working with the system building a house on the foundation laid by ammendment 20. If legitimate medical marijuana patients and businesses do get shutdown by the federal gov then all the anti-reg people can continue to hate vicente, but, if colorado does get a pass from the federal attacks then I think some apologies are in order. Vicente has been a consistent leader working to improve marijuana laws in colorado and I appreciate his efforts. Remember, it's easier to tear down a foundation than a house.

Monkey
Monkey

Funny stuff. Nobody thinks that Cali just threw CO under the bus? Now the Feds will show their force here to prove they aren't favoring us over CA. An easy way to discredit that assumption would be to move in on CO, then they can say we don't allow it anywhere and the memos have all said the same thing, "commercial marijuana get out". Sounds like Cali is going down and they want others to go down with them. Colorado can pat themselves on the back all they want but the truth is our medical marijuana laws mean nothing on a Federal level and neither will local recreational marijuana laws. Both CA and CO have had various rules and regulations for over a decade but only after communities started to publicly allow commercial sales of marijuana was when the DOJ stepped in and started making treats, even the first memo regarded patients and caregivers a waste of time but commercial scale drug trafficking is still a priority. I think the Feds were fine ignoring states that allowed medical marijuana while it was a private issue but now that it gets national attention everyday, they feel they have to do something. Some say 2012 will be the end of the world, I say it will at least be the end of commercial marijuana sold on the open market but keep signing those petitions.

VincentVonDudler
VincentVonDudler

There is a way to ensure the federal government doesn't raid any more medical marijuana dispensaries.  We need to remove its power via legislation.  Pass H.R. 2306 and limit the federal government's power to enforcing only cross-border trafficking.  Regardless of how you stand on the marijuana debate we can all agree it should be left up to the states and the federal crackdown is an abuse that states should not have to tolerate. 

Tell your representatives -> http://pvox.co/CdiFqY

"[Prohibition] attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes." - Abraham Lincoln

Allamony
Allamony

WAMM et al vs. Eric Holder et al is the name of the case my bad, 2009 . 

Allamony
Allamony

A FEDERAL COURT UPHELD THE ACLU'S LAWSUIT AGAINST DISPENSARY RAIDS. THE ACLU VOLUNTARILY WITHDREW THE LAWSUIT WHEN THE OBAMA ADMIN. ISSUED THE OGDEN MEMO. That is the most important thing. 

Allamony
Allamony

look up the 2009 court ruling against Eric Holder, it is much more important than any Memo by Obama.The FEDS already were sued over this in 2008, in 2009 the Judge decided that as long as they issue a Memo and live up to the Memo that the Judge would drop the case against the FEDS, who at that time were going to be shut down in court by the citizens of California. They are violating their promise to a sitting Judge, and that is probably going to be the argument that California lawyers will run with. 

Allamony
Allamony

lol what is that pic in the top rigt corner? I love SMARTPOTS!!! Looks like a salt deposit on that one though hahaha

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

It is no surprise that Brian takes a dim view of the argument based on equal protection (because that is what the cannabis industry here wants to hear), but there is no way that the courts will find that the government is committing promissory estoppel -- I would be interested to read the request.  MercuryNews.com reports that plaintiffs argue that the introduction of the Ogden Memorandum in an agreement between the Feds and a medical cannabis cooperative in Santa Cruz constitutes the extension of a promise to California dispensaries -- I doubt that, but were there good evidence of a disparity in the application of Federal policy in California and Colorado, equal protection might have traction.  It is impossible to contend seriously that the highly equivocal language in Ogden contemplates the supposed inevitability of legalization, or that it constituted a promise to caregivers, much less dispensaries; in particular, the statement that any profit from supplying cannabis would be construed as violating State law gives the Feds ample justification to act in California, and despite the subsequent implicit recognition of MMCs, OPGLs, and MIPs as legal businesses under our law, in Colorado as well.

Robert ChaseColorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers(720) 213-6497

P.S.  The best way to guarantee access for patients is sound public policy in every respect:  legalize cannabis for adults.  We should not regard the end of Prohibition as inevitable and the magnitude of the forces arrayed against us should not be underestimated.  The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 is a major statutory impediment, but most who want to legalize cannabis seem somehow to hope that they will simply one day be able to exclude cannabis from this oppressive, unconstitutional law -- that is wrong; we must urge a comprehensive change in the way our society treats all drugs of abuse.

P.P.S.  Initiative 30 can only be regarded as a small step forward in reducing criminal liability for cannabis in Colorado, and its poor framing and pandering language may well lead to its defeat, but it is about the only prospect for meaningful reform on the horizon.  The petition for Initiative 30 has garnered ~75,000 of the 85,853 (valid) signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, and the drive will be concluded successfully long before the deadline.

YourMother'sBESTadvice
YourMother'sBESTadvice

http://www.legalize2012.com is THE alternative which calls for LEGALIZATION, & not Regulation being offered by Vincente' & Mason's "SOROS FUNDED" initiative. There is NO INNOVATION HERE, just the same ballot initiatives as Washington state and others nationwide with a paid agenda to include DUI-D language which Benefits ONLY Insurance Company Interests and defense lawyers for the new flurry of prosecutions to come. FREEDOM is spelled with an 'F', amd these Carpetbagger interests are NOT welcomed in Colorado. Can't wait to start the Campaign phase whe. The PUBLIC can become EDUCATED, and the real truths of these corporate drive and interests come out. Just as they say "Regulate like Alcohol", so to these MMJ COMMUNITY SELLOUTS are more interested in finding jobs for the Department of Revenue than actually doing some positive Reasonable Drug Policy effort. Don't be fooled!!

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Nothing short of completely ending Prohibition is good enough, but victory depends on winning many successive battles in the larger War on Americans.  While I think it would be more just to begin by freeing those who have suffered the greatest injustice rather than slowly ratcheting down penalties and, perhaps, carving out some limited right to use cannabis, that is very much cart-before-the-horse in a political sense -- we have to create the conditions where the sentences which have been imposed are generally seen to be unjust (or, at least, too harsh) before we can hope to free people who have been martyred for marijuana.  Economic reality may force some early release of prisoners, but, as Winston Churchill observed, America can be counted on to do the right thing only after having tried everything else, and we might assume that Colorado would contrive to release its murderers before it would those who sold essentially harmless drugs such as cannabis or LSD.

Monkey
Monkey

Fare enough, I'll be the first to thank Vicente if the Feds give Colorado a "pass from federal attack", but if it goes the other way.... I think he should apologize to the dispensaries that loose everything for misleading them. I sincerely hope your view of the future rings true but I'm not counting on it.

Allamony
Allamony

whatever, NORML themselves said MMJ has about run its course, it was a foot in the door for legalization, but half steps can never work.

Full Legalization is the only way to go now. They won't cede until they figure out how to control the industry, which seems impossible to them. 

Allamony
Allamony

Totally. 

But people in Denver have already been dry snitching, with press released talking about "what is happening in California is a perfect example of why Colorado has the best regulated model."

Coloradoans for the last two months have been lauding their legitimacy as they "Tsk Tsk" with their judging eyes gazing off onto the West Coast.

So its not that big of a deal. 

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting points, Allamony. Thanks for sharing them.

Patient
Patient

This is the most bizarre endorsement I have ever heard.

"Initiative 30 can only be regarded as a small step forward in reducing criminal liability for cannabis in Colorado, and its poor framing and pandering language may well lead to its defeat, but it is about the only prospect for meaningful reform on the horizon."

Let the record show that Robert Chase has finally endorsed the vicente-tvert initiative. Glad you are on board robert! :)

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Interesting info, Robert -- especially like the reference to Promissory Estoppel, which sounds like it would be a good name for a European pop star. Thanks for the post.

Mason Tvert
Mason Tvert

The 2012 Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has not received any money from George Soros.  If you know Mr. Soros -- I assume you do, given your apparent knowledge of his philanthropic activities -- please ask him if he is interested in helping Colorado end marijuana prohibition.  If he is, please have him contact us at http://www.regulatemarijuana.o...

This initiative presents the best opportunity in history to make marijuana legal for adults at the state level. As such, it has garnered the support of thousands of reform supporters throughout the state and the nation and a growing number of organizations and businesses.  Anyone interested in being involved is welcome, and we are certainly always looking for anyone interested in supporting this historic effort by making a financial contribution.  If that's you, please go to http://www.regulatemarijuana.o... to find out more about how you can help.

Thank you,

Mason Tvert2012 Initiative Proponent

Matt in Boulder
Matt in Boulder

Hi Mom - I went to your website and all I saw is a bunch of bitching about the "SOROS FUNDED" initiative.  I sort of expected to see some language on your ballot initiative, maybe even some info on how I can sign the petition.  Where can I find that?

BTW - the best advice my real mom ever gave me was "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all."

Allamony
Allamony

"America can be counted on to do the right thing only after having tried everything else."

LMAO, never heard that one before. 

Patient
Patient

P.S.

Some joking in my comments but I sincerely am glad to see you supporting this opportunity to improve marijuana laws in colorado.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Please let us know if you hear from Mr. Soros, Mason -- and thanks for the post.

The Truth
The Truth

That would be Laura Kriho a noted supporter of antisemitic conspiracy theories whose website linked to a group worried about the "Bilderberg Jews" and featured an animated gif of a swaztika. See this screenshot for proof: http://tinypic.com/r/o7leep/5

When they talk about out of state funding they should say what they mean and say jewish funding. Legalize2012 is full of biggots in tinfoil hats.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

It is the same, very faint endorsement I have been making since Initiative 30 went to the Title Review Board.  Other intiatives can make the ballot in 2012 -- a petition might be qualified with as little as two man-years of labor.  Should the opportunity present itself, we could vote even for conflicting initiatives, because the one with the most votes prevails on any conflicting provisions.

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