O’Shaughnessy’s

California: 15 Years After Prop 215 Have the Feds Overreached on Medical Marijuana?

By Fred Gardner, Counter Punch/O’Shaughnessy’s

There is a truth that must be heard! Occasionally the iron heel comes down on people who are widely respected and/or have the resources and will to fight back effectively. "The feds have overreached," says Steve DeAngelo, who runs Harborside Health Center in Oakland and has been presented by the IRS with a $2.4 million bill for back taxes. He was referring to the DEA raid on Northstone Organics Oct. 13; the threatening letters to growers, dispensaries, and their landlords sent by California’s U.S. Attorneys Oct. 7; the denial of gun permits to registered medical cannabis users ordered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in September; and other recent measures directed against the industry.

Overreach by law enforcement was a big factor in the passage of Prop 215 back in November, 1996. The No-on-215 forces, led by Attorney General Dan Lungren, arranged a highly publicized raid on the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club three months before Election Day. Their intention was to turn the vote into a referendum on Dennis Peron's right to operate.

California: Obama's Mixed Messages on Marijuana

By Fred Gardner, O’Shaughnessy’s Editor

Two days after Barack Obama became President, DEA agents led a raid on a South Lake Tahoe dispensary run by a wheelchair-bound entrepreneur named Ken Estes. They seized about five pounds of cannabis and a few thousands dollars. They arrested no one. “It was a typical rip-and-run" said a friend who had spoken with Estes.

In years past, when dispensaries run by Estes had been closed by law enforcement, activists would tsk-tsk about the looseness of his management style, as if Estes had drawn the heat on himself. This time Ol’ Ken was seen as a brave, tax-paying victim and scorn was directed at the DEA for ignoring Obama’s alleged promise to end such raids. A few verbal militants blamed the new President himself for not seeing to it that his “promise” was kept from the day he took office.

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