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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Government Shows No Compassion For Compassionate Use

By Patrick McCartney and Paul A. Lee, AlterNet
Posted on June 16, 2007, Printed on June 16, 2007

On the morning of January 13, 2004, Tehama County prosecutor Lynn Strom unexpectedly announced that the state of California was dropping charges against Cynthia Blake and David Davidson for possessing and growing cannabis with the intent to distribute. While the two medical marijuana patients waited in the courtroom, Strom and the defense attorneys disappeared inside the judge's chambers to discuss the motion to dismiss. Moments later, more than a dozen sheriff's deputies pounced on the hapless couple, handcuffed them, and shoved them into an unmarked police car waiting outside the courthouse in the Sacramento Valley town of Corning. They were already en route to jail in Sacramento when Strom informed their lawyers that the state was bowing out because the Feds were taking over the case.

It was a devastating blow for Blake, a retired Federal Reserve employee, and her sweetheart, Davidson, a retail shop owner. Both in their early fifties, they were booked on federal drug charges and transferred to the jurisdiction of the Eastern District office of US Attorney McGregor Scott. If convicted, they each faced a mandatory minimum of ten years to life in prison for exercising a right they thought they had gained with the 1996 passage of Proposition 215, the California ballot measure that legalized cannabis for medical purposes.

Both had a physician's recommendation to ease their ailments with marijuana, and neither had a criminal history. They had been tending three dozen pot plants in a remote garden, which they shared with other patients; their attorneys insist that no money had exchanged hands for the herb. But none of this would matter in federal court, which treated all marijuana as equally illicit, making no exceptions even for the seriously ill.

The well-coordinated Blake-Davidson hand-off was not the first time local authorities in California had turned over a medical marijuana case to federal authorities. But it is perhaps the most dramatic example of ongoing, secret collusion between various levels of government to prevent the implementation of the Compassionate Use Act, as Proposition 215 was called on the ballot.

For the past ten years, state and local officials sworn to uphold the state ballot measure have instead proven to be willing -- sometimes eager -- accomplices in a concerted U.S. attack on a state law. Now, a half year past its tenth birthday, the landmark California law remains under siege.

Within days after Prop 215 was enacted in the fall of 1996, top California law enforcement officials huddled privately with America's drug war high command in Washington, DC, where they plotted to sabotage a voter initiative they were unable to defeat at the ballot box.

On Dec. 3, 1996, in Sacramento, 300 district attorneys, police chiefs, sheriffs, and narcotics officers attended an "Emergency All Zones Meeting," at which they were advised, basically, to continue arresting and prosecuting as before. Then-Attorney-General Dan Lungren and his deputies maintained that the new law did not shield marijuana suspects from arrest but merely provided them with an "affirmative defense" to invoke at a trial. Under Lungren's "narrow interpretation," local narcotics officers could exercise unilateral power in deciding if med-pot growers had more plants than they, the officers, believed justified by their medical condition.

Enforcement of the Compassionate Use Act varied dramatically across California's 58 counties. Where ballot support was strongest, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, patients could obtain locally issued ID cards and purchase their medicine from storefront dispensaries that had begun opening even before Prop 215 passed. But beyond an hour or so drive from San Francisco, in the Other California -- Red-State California, as it were -- local police and prosecutors conducted a reign of terror against patients and caregivers that went largely unnoticed by the state's metropolitan press corps.

Operating with federal anti-marijuana grants that increased by 50 percent in the first five years after passage of Prop 215, a dozen regional task forces worked with DEA and IRS partners to target marijuana growers regardless of medical use. "Prop. 215 might fly in San Francisco, but not here," a Placer County deputy told the target of a 1998 arrest and prosecution.

Nowhere did local authorities repress medical users more than in the Eastern District, the sprawling federal court district spanning California's San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys and the Sierra Nevada, where Blake and Davidson faced charges.

Targetting the Pot Docs

Drug War strategists had pegged physicians as the weakest link in the med cannabis supply chain. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Clinton's drug czar, took aim at the doctors first, threatening to revoke the licenses of those who approved cannabis use by patients. A group of physicians and patients, with help from the ACLU and the Drug Policy Alliance, promptly sued the U.S. government on free speech and privacy grounds. The suit, called Conant v. McCaffrey, resulted in a federal injunction issued on First Amendment grounds upholding the doctors' right to discuss cannabis as a treatment option.

So the Feds passed the baton to the California Attorney General's office, via its agents in the state medical board's enforcement division, to crack down on physicians specializing in cannabis consultations. Despite specific language in Proposition 215 exempting doctors from retaliation by state officials, the Medical Board launched legal proceedings against several physicians based on evidence gathered by local undercover narcs who feigned symptoms to obtain a medical recommendation.....READ THE Alternet Article Here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

說起這位明英宗朱祁鎮 真是好有一比:在北京高峰時酒店經紀段開車:生不完的氣。

先說年號問題,明朝皇帝在位時間再長, 酒店兼差年號也只有一個,惟獨他特殊,在位總共不過十五年,年號卻有兩個,前一個叫正統,後一個叫天順。倒不是因為他非要搞特權,兩個年號之間, 禮服店是由一大堆可氣的事串起來的。

先說正統朝,差不多是地球酒店打工人都知道的,這麼多的忠良幹才他不信任,偏寵信一個教書先生出身的太監王振, 一幹閹党把國家禍害得烏煙瘴氣。後來瓦剌犯邊,忠臣良將的苦勸不聽,偏聽死太監攛掇,非要御駕親徵, 合法酒店經紀帶著幾十萬人牛氣哄哄出了長城,按說既然親徵你就好好 打啊,他不,走到半道又後悔了,連敵人影 酒店工作都沒見著就撤兵,撤兵麼撤得快點啊,跑還沒跑成,讓人家圍在土木堡包了餃子,稀裏糊塗一場 酒店上班混戰,幾十萬大軍全死 光,連本人也當了俘虜。丟人到如此,實在可氣。

英宗被抓到蒙古高原上去啃生羊肉了, 酒店兼職爛賬總要有人收拾。皇帝讓人綁了,敵人打到家門口了,總不成學宋朝 來個衣冠南渡吧!還好喝酒 有他親弟弟給他收拾,弟弟朱祁鈺繼承帝位,改年號為景泰,可氣的正統朝總算結束了。景泰帝信用 酒店PT良臣于謙,成功組織北京保衛戰打垮敵 人,再運用外交壓力,逼得酒店喝酒 瓦剌把英宗放回來當太上皇,總算不用學宋徽宗那樣客死他鄉。折騰半天,祖宗江山差點丟了不說 禮服酒店,皇位也折騰沒了。這樣的鬧劇,怪不 得別人。

雖是傻事敗事一籮筐,但傻人總算有傻福,雖說皇位沒了, 台北酒店經紀命還是保住了,回來舒舒服服過太上皇的日子倒也 不交際應酬 錯,可他不消停,拉幫結派培植私人勢力,幾年後趁著弟弟病重搞了場“奪門之變”。奪粉味 回了皇位不說,上臺第一件事就是殺掉了功臣于謙。並把當初北京保衛戰 的功臣們來了個大清洗,掌握朝政大權的都是徐有貞、石亨、曹吉祥等一幫姦險小人。雖然過了沒幾年,這幾個人也被明英宗清算,下獄的下獄(石亨),充軍的充 軍(徐有貞) 寒假打工,被殺的被殺(曹吉祥),可明朝的政治氣象,還是一片烏煙瘴氣。

皇位奪回來了,自然就要改年號。於是,明英宗 兼差改年號為天順。從正統年到天順年,打敗仗,殺忠良,寵小人,亂國家,儘是他辦的敗事, 酒店小姐每每讀史到此,不知有多少人氣得 酒店公關直哆嗦。

可正統朝的事畢竟年頭遠了,真正給後 暑假打工世攢下麻煩的,是天順朝。

“天順”麼,按字面意思,自然有風調雨順的意思。 打工從這個意義上說,“天順”朝時代的明朝,運氣還真不 壞,別的且不說,單說綁過明英宗票的瓦剌,那在土木堡創下台北酒店經紀擊敗明朝幾十萬大軍,活捉明朝皇帝偉業的瓦剌首領也先,沒死在大對頭明朝手裏,倒在內戰中被一刀 砍死。到了天順朝時期,瓦剌又和鄰居韃靼打個不停,因此,雖然少了良將於謙,但終天順一朝的邊 酒店境形勢,還算是太平無事。