Obama DOJ to Seek Prison in CA Medical Pot Case

So much for turning a new leaf on medical marijuana prosecutions.

The U.S. Attorney's office in California will seek a five year jail term for medical pot dispensor Charles Lynch.

Mr. Lynch, who ran a small dispensary in the surfing hamlet of Morro Bay, has become a symbol for the medical marijuana movement since his shop was raided in 2007. A registered business owner, Mr. Lynch has the support of the city’s mayor, city attorney, and the local chamber of commerce.

Medical marijuana advocates see the case as a test of the Obama administration’s policy of non-interference on state marijuana laws. California is one of 13 states that allow the cultivation and sale of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Sentencing was continued today until June. Attorney General Eric Holder's appointee, H. Marshall Jarrett, is "guiding" the U.S. Attorney in seeking the jail term. Here is the pleading with Jarrett's letter attached. The Judge is George H. Wu, "a Bush appointed jurist who is hearing his first federal case." More here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Torture "YES" (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 08:15:24 PM EST
    Pot "NO"

    Gotta allow DOJ's resources to fight what is truly evil. Medical marijuana.

    I had the same thought - (none / 0) (#2)
    by Anne on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 08:34:32 PM EST
    it's just so depressing.

    Maybe if the medical marijuana (none / 0) (#3)
    by inclusiveheart on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 08:36:04 PM EST
    crowd sold the program as a form of torture?

    But seriously, when Holder was a DC judge he hated juries here because they didn't always convict drug cases.  Pissed him off.  Didn't occur to him that most of us thought it rather silly to send someone to jail for a number of years for being caught with a joint.  And that most of us understood that the DC police were given quotas at certain times of the year which made the whole policy even more ridiculous.


    Even if pot was sold (5.00 / 6) (#4)
    by Steve M on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 09:01:49 PM EST
    is it really productive to dwell on the past?  Shouldn't we be more forward-looking?

    When do we get (none / 0) (#5)
    by JamesTX on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 09:13:58 PM EST
    to the part about "change"? Have we been totally duped?

    He's trying to restore the old order that failed (none / 0) (#6)
    by SOS on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 09:24:02 PM EST

    That is apparently (none / 0) (#7)
    by JamesTX on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 09:44:01 PM EST
    the case, and it is beginning to look like "change" just simply doesn't include any revision of criminal justice practices based in conservative ideology. That is a shame, because that means there really isn't any "change" in store at all, because the authoritarianism in the criminal justice system sets the pattern for all attitudes about government. The conservative movement started by creating a blind and intolerant criminal justice system, and making the public love it. All facets of society have been infiltrated by the criminal justice attitude -- no tolerance of dissent, no protest about loss of rights, no defense of those attacked by authorities. It was the rapid, media-engineered shift from a society that valued individual liberty to one that valued punishment and obedience. Apparently, whatever vision Obama has of repairing the damage of the conservative movement won't include dismantling and reversing any of the injustices that have slowly destroyed our fundamental ideals by shifting our country's highest value from freedom to authority. At least we were able to elect a Democrat. Maybe next time we can elect a true progressive. I believe it may be time to start looking past Obama to what might have been, and what might still could be.

    We did get it (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 10:03:55 AM EST
    Bush was criticized for governing by sticking to his guns on any issue, even when it defied facts and logic.

    Obama governs by sticking his finger in the wind and going whatever way DKos and Olbermann/Maddow go.


    Dangerous Times to Dispense Pot (none / 0) (#8)
    by liberalpatriot on Thu Apr 23, 2009 at 11:16:55 PM EST
    Read the link
    then read the letter from H. Marshal Jarret above.
    The logic of the prosecution of Lynch can be used against every other California dispensary. Neither Mr. Lynch nor any other marijuana dispensary (except 2 that I know of, out perhaps  several hundred) complies with California law. The dispensaries have become retail marketing facilties for the growers and an easy way to avoid money laundering of the profits. Dispensaries are very lucrative for the growers as they obtain the maximum price with little risk normally associated with the sale of illegal drugs. The result is an increasing number of growers and very profitable dispensaries. It was not the intent of California law that the marijuana become a cash crop. The growing of pot and the dispensaries were to be part of a charitable enterprise.
    The Feds will continue to move against dispensaries and growers in any California county that will assist them. This enforcement is not solely the Feds although it is made to appear that way.
    The problem is that dispensaries are now being controlled by the Mexican cartel and the Hispanic gangs that grow pot in California or import it. There is no better and profitable method of distribution and laundering of money. The Feds know this and now link the pot trade to the violence in Mexico and gang violence in California. As officials in each county see the rise in violence and hysteria spreads, the more they will assist the Feds.
    As the gangs and Mexican cartel move to consolidate control over the dispensaries, they will begin to take over the outdoor growers in Northern California and the large grow op warehouses in San Francisco. Oakland and Los Angeles. Especially as they can now identify the regular suppliers to the dispensaries that they are  taking control of. The current operators of the dispensaries as well as current growers face the danger of the gangs and Mexican cartel as well as the Feds.
    The solutions are either to let everybody possess,grow and sell it like any crop such as tomatoes so there is no extraordinary profit in pot or to have the state grow and sell it so as to control the distribution and to rake in the supernormal profits rather than the gangs and cartel.The current situation is not sustainable and represents a danger to all of us.
    Due to the now large number of legal users in California, the demand is immense but California is turning into a narco economy as will any other state with pot laws similiar to California.
    Unfortunately for Lynch, he is being made an example of what will surely happen to others once the Feds expand to halt the cartel and gangs. At least Lynch will get out with his life but others in the business can expect worse.
    Time to take profits and get out of the business

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks. (none / 0) (#15)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 11:52:43 AM EST
    What is it (none / 0) (#9)
    by Mikeb302000 on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 05:10:01 AM EST
    with all the flip / flop from the Obama gang?

    The warnings should have been clear (none / 0) (#10)
    by SeeEmDee on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 06:46:30 AM EST
    from the beginning, when Obama re-instituted the Byrne Grants to Law Enforcement, even after they had produced such monstrosities such as Tulia and Hearne, TX. .

    There was a seeming change of tack from the time that AG Holder declared that Obama's campaign promise of halting the raids on dispensaries was now national policy to the moment that Obama snickeringly derided the legalization question - and those who brought it up - in his 'Town Hall'. What changed?

    Perhaps we should be asking, "What didn't change?" The hidden economy's need for money laundering, for one, which banks cannot survive without.

    The truth is, it's the banksters who have the pitchforks (and the horns and the tails). Former Clinton Administration DrugCzar Barry McCaffrey pretty much admitted it that it was illegal drug sale proceeds keeping the banks afloat when all other forms of revenue began to shrink up. If that money began to dry up, the fall of the banks would be complete.

    Now, seeing as Obama held a very...discrete... meeting with the world's financial elite in June of last year, during which the entire press corps attached to Obama was packed onto his plane without him, and shanghaied to Chicago, then one can be forgiven as to wondering just who's calling the shots.

    Returning the drug trade to its' former legal status would effectively kill the moribund world financial system. One that's been very useful for both the private banks and intell services.

    None of this should have been a surprise. None of it.  

    Torture , we can all believe in!! (none / 0) (#11)
    by fly on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 08:16:24 AM EST
    You will suffer with no relief of pot.. when you get that cancer !!!( or insert any debilitating disease )

    Now this is change we can all believe in..right?????

    How sad..for those who suffer..daily.
    My heart goes out to those who need the relief to survive their pain.

    I only wish my mom could have had Marijuana to help her and to have eased her pain. She died of basically starvation..because she couldn't eat , because food tasted so bad to her, and eating became so painful.

    This brings tears to my eyes.

    "guiding" (none / 0) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 08:39:29 AM EST
    this is so depressing on so many levels.  the country is ready for leadership on this. lets just hope his "guidance" is ignored.

    Here's someone who's trying to help (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 10:35:14 AM EST

    Howard Wooldridge has one of the craziest jobs: trying to convince 535 of the most uptight people in Washington - the entire membership of Congress - to legalize drugs. That means everything from marijuana to cocaine to heroin.

    The idea isn't quite as far-fetched as you may think. The more money the United States spends on fighting a drug war that has spiraled out of control in Mexico, the more interest Congress seems to be taking in talk of decriminalization.

    "For the first time since I've been here, the "L" word, legalization, has been used in subcommittee hearings as a solution to the violence and Mexican cartels," says Wooldridge, a cowboy and retired police detective who three years ago became the lobbyist for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, known as LEAP.

    A handful of lawmakers have endorsed legalization of marijuana, including Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Ron Paul (R-Texas).

    Their group will likely remain small.

    Obama? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Mdubby on Thu Jun 18, 2009 at 06:14:55 PM EST
    Let's just hope Obama is successful in many areas of governing. watch free movies, watch free movies online