#393 Please Keep The Pressure Up

Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2009
Subject: #393 Please Keep The Pressure Up

PLEASE KEEP THE PRESSURE UP

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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #393 – Thursday, 5 February 2009

Today the Washington Times published the article below announcing that
the Obama administration would eventually end the Drug Enforcement
Administration’s medicinal marijuana raids. Please help insure that
the Obama administration takes action quickly

You may send a short message to the White House by using the webform
on this page http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

You may call the White House about the issue at 202-456-1111 or send a
fax to 202-456-2461. Reports indicate that it may be necessary to call
repeatedly to reach the number above, but that your efforts are
carefully noted when you do reach the number.

Please also contact the Department of Justice. You may send an email
to AskDOJ@usdoj.gov and call Attorney General Eric Holder at (202)
353-1555. Please call during office hours, Monday through Friday, 9 am
to 5 pm, Eastern time.

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Pubdate: Thu, 5 Feb 2009

Source: Washington Times (DC)

Copyright: 2009 The Washington Times, LLC.

Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/A1kAshhc

Authors: Stephen Dinan and Ben Conery

Referenced: The Mail Tribune interview with Obama
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v08/n000/a189.html

BUSH HOLDOVERS AT DEA CONTINUE POT RAIDS

Drug Enforcement Administration agents this week raided four medical
marijuana shops in California, contrary to President Obama’s campaign
promises to stop the raids.

The White House said it expects those kinds of raids to end once Mr.
Obama nominates someone to take charge of DEA, which is still run by
Bush administration holdovers.

“The president believes that federal resources should not be used to
circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior
leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects
them to review their policies with that in mind,” White House
spokesman Nick Shapiro said.

Medical use of marijuana is legal under the law in California and a
dozen other states, but the federal government under President Bush,
bolstered by a 2005 Supreme Court ruling, argued that federal
interests trumped state law.

Dogged by marijuana advocates throughout the campaign, Mr. Obama
repeatedly said he was opposed to using the federal government to raid
medical marijuana shops, particularly because it was an infringement
on states’ decisions.

“I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to
circumvent state laws on this issue,” Mr. Obama told the Mail Tribune
newspaper in Oregon in March, during the Democratic primary campaign.

He told the newspaper the “basic concept of using medical marijuana
for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs
prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.”

Mr. Obama is still filling key law enforcement posts. For now, DEA is
run by acting Administrator Michele Leonhart, a Bush appointee.

Special Agent Sarah Pullen of the DEA’s Los Angeles office said agents
raided four marijuana dispensaries about noon Tuesday. Two were in
Venice and one each was in Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Ray — all in
the Los Angeles area.

A man who answered the phone at Marina Caregivers in Marina Del Rey
said his shop was the target of a raid but declined to elaborate,
saying the shop was just trying to get back to operating.

Agent Pullen said the four raids seized $10,000 in cash and 224
kilograms of marijuana and marijuana-laced food, such as cookies. No
one was arrested, she said, but the raid is part of an ongoing
investigation seeking to trace the marijuana back to its suppliers or
source.

She said agents have conducted 30 or 40 similar raids in the past
several years, many of which resulted in prosecutions.

“It’s clear that the DEA is showing no respect for President Obama’s
campaign promises,” said Dan Bernath, a spokesman for the Marijuana
Policy Project in Washington, which advocates for medical marijuana
and for decriminalizing the drug.

California allows patients whose doctors prescribe marijuana to use
the drug. The state has set up a registry to allow patients to obtain
cards allowing them to possess, grow, transport and use marijuana.

Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy
group in California, called the raids an attempt to undermine state
law and said they were apparently conducted without the knowledge of
Los Angeles city or police officials.

He said the DEA has raided five medical marijuana dispensaries in the
state since Mr. Obama was inaugurated and that the first took place on
Jan. 22 in South Lake Tahoe.

“President Obama needs to keep a promise he made, not just in one
campaign stop, but in multiple speeches that he would not be spending
Justice Department funds on these kinds of raids,” Mr. Hermes said.
“We do want to give him a little bit of leeway, but at the same time
we’re expecting him to stop this egregious enforcement policy that is
continuing into his presidency.”

He said he is aware that Mr. Obama has not installed his own DEA chief
but that new Attorney General “Eric Holder can still suspend these
types of operations.”

The Justice Department referred questions to the White
House.

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Prepared by: Richard Lake, Senior Editor http://www.mapinc.org

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