DEA Ramping Up Marijuana Enforcement. Again.

DEA Ramping Up Marijuana Enforcement. Again. May 9, 2013

One of President Obama’s most obvious broken promises has been on the issue of federal enforcement of marijuana laws in states where medical marijuana is legal. Despite saying repeatedly that he would shift resources against such enforcement, prosecutions have actually increased. And now there’s a new crackdown making it even worse.

In several West Coast cities, federal officials are initiating a new round of crackdowns against dispensaries that are seemingly complying with state medical marijuana law. In Seattle, 11 dispensaries received shutdown warnings. In San Francisco, almost half of the city’s small number of state-licensed dispensaries received similar warnings. And in neighboring cities like San Jose, several others were warned.

The cease-and-desist letters from the Drug Enforcement Administration warn harsh federal punishment, including as much as 40 years in jail even for landlords that rent to marijuana dispensaries. They also warn that they if properties do not cease marijuana activity within 30 days, the agency will pursue what’s known as civil forfeiture, in which the federal government threatens to seize the facility and other assets if the marijuana business continues. For those who are renting space, this means the landlord is effectively asked to evict its marijuana tenant — a process that has proved difficult, as state and federal courts handling eviction proceedings resist this federal intervention.

One has to wonder how bad it’s going to get in Colorado and Washington, where they didn’t just legalize medical marijuana but decriminalized it entirely. The use of the asset forfeiture laws against landlords who rent property to dispensaries that are following state law is absolutely appalling, but it’s hardly surprising. The Obama administration’s record on civil liberties has been atrocious.

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  • Pierce R. Butler

    … almost half … several others …

    I can’t help but wonder what criteria were used to include some operations and exclude others.

  • I used to describe Obama’s promises as vaporware, meaning it was announced but neither released nor officially cancelled.

    I have started to describe his policies as a pipe dream, meaning that we must have been smoking crack to have believed he actually make good.

  • Isn’t there a Tenth Amendment basis for stopping the federal crackdown? As long as the dispensaries are not engaging in interstate commerce, the federal government has absolutely no constitutional jurisdiction.

    I will concede, though, that the federal government hasn’t given a rat’s ass about the Constitution in decades, with Obama being as bad as, if not worse than, his immediate predecessor.

  • Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I)


    Considering that our State is moving forward with the plans for regulated sale and consumption of Marijuana, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if anyone registered for a legal retail outlet is immediately indicted on federal charges.

    Remember: All commerce is interstate commerce in the United States.

  • trucreep

    He truly is the master of being able to say one thing while doing the opposite. I used to dismiss that as right-wing smear garbage but ugh, sadly again they we’re right (albeit not necessarily for the right reasons)

  • @3: You’d think so, but the Supreme Court struck down this defense in United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative.

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