Tuesday, September 23, 2008

On The Job For Your Protection

The DEA’s press release web page is kind of like a “brag book.” They get to show the world how their diligence, perseverance, and good old fashioned hard work is paying off (if high-profile arrests are any indicator). But more importantly, how all of their devotion is entirely in the name of protecting us from ourselves. Well, huzzah for them! I feel so much safer knowing they are getting this scourge, this assassin of youth, off our streets. Especially since I know (as the DEA informed me) that “more young people today are in drug treatment programs for marijuana dependency than any other drug.” So let’s just take a look at some of the things our DEA, defenders of truth and of those incapable of looking after themselves (i.e., everyone), have been up to.

Here’s a victory for public safety: California Marijuana Dispensary Owner Convicted. This is a fairly well-known, recent case that the DEA seems especially proud of. And why not? They put in lots of undercover hours and spent tons of money to prove that a medical marijuana dispensary open to the public and licensed by the state of California to distribute marijuana, was in fact distributing marijuana. Now that’s some police work they should all be darn proud of. Not to mention keeping all that evil weed from improving the quality of life for thousands of sick people.

Here’s a scary one: Marijuana Dispensaries Linked to Fatal Car Crash. Yes, it’s true. An individual who had recently purchased marijuana from a legal (under California law) dispensary admitted to “being under the influence of marijuana” at the time of a fatal accident. This is even worse than killing someone while driving under the influence of alcohol because… Well, just because. And just like when a person under the influence of alcohol kills someone, the owners of the dispensary that sold him the intoxicating substance were also indicted. Oh, wait a second. They don’t prosecute the liquor store owner when a drunk driver kills someone. But this is different. How is that again? Oh yeah, because the medical dispensaries involved were “enterprises designed to generate profits for those who chose to ignore federal law and flout state law.” (Is “flout” even a word?) Ignoring and flouting will absolutely not be tolerated by the DEA.

And it’s not just the dispensaries that need to be taught a lesson about flouting laws: California Doctor-Lawyer Couple Get Five Years For Growing and Selling Marijuana. Even physicians need to be reminded that how they practice medicine is under the control of the DEA. And who better, since they have so much medical experience, not to mention all that experience with protecting people from themselves? And you know what really seemed to have pissed the DEA off? That the defendants made money from the sale of their medicine. I mean, who do they think they are? A big pharmaceutical company? But the DEA is, as always, not being judgmental. After all the good doctor’s “judgment got clouded” by his “passion for the drug.” Or maybe it was his passion for helping to ease people’s suffering. Either way, it just can’t be allowed.

But to be fair, not all of the DEA’s big busts are medical dispensaries licensed by the state and operating in the open. For example, Three California Marijuana Distribution Centers Shut Down. This 9 month investigation shut down three major marijuana “distribution centers” in San Mateo, California. They wanted to send a message that “illegal operations within San Mateo will be shut down and the property owners held accountable and liable.” See, these were some really bad people. And it really did take a lot of work to bust these distribution centers, since it would appear that they were clandestine operations. But wait a minute. An article from another source about these very same raids says that they were in fact medical dispensaries. And the DEA made no indication that these dispensaries violated any state law. I wonder why the DEA neglected to mention the medical connection in this article. I guess they felt it wasn’t relevant, just like that information was not relevant in the federal court these people were tried in.

And just one more to give you a fair sample of the kinds of things the DEA has been up to: Oakland Landlord Sentenced for Allowing Marijuana to be Grown on Multiple Commercial Properties. See, the clever DEA is using every trick in the book. Why limit yourself to doctors and dispensaries when you can go after the dispensary’s landlord. Make an example of a few landlords and pretty soon those law-flouting dispensaries will have no place to operate out of. That’ll hit ‘em where it hurts. And what an example. This 62-year-old man lost almost $400,000 in assets and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Why pretty soon it will get so all the DEA has to do is give a landlord a threatening call to put a dispensary out of business.

I think you get the idea. But I encourage you to check out the DEA’s press releases for yourself. You’re sure to be impressed by their investigative expertise. That and their heroic and highly successful efforts to rid our country of the scourge we call marijuana. And you’ll certainly feel more secure in your homes knowing all those sick people will no longer be receiving a medicine that the DEA says they should not be using. Unless of course these patients end up going to one of the few thousand other legal dispensaries still operating. Or buy their medicine illegally from one of countless black market dealers. Either way, they’ll be really inconvenienced. Sort of like when someone illegally parks in a handicapped parking space.

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