The Obama administration's crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in places like Los Angeles has gone on fairly unimpeded. After all, the president is in many ways the law.
Except that it's congress that makes the law. And now Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on the Judiciary, wants Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, to come by and have a chat Sept. 10 about federal cannabis enforcement:
The senator wants the Obama administration to clarify its stance on enforcement against pot users and sellers in the wake of full legalization in Colorado and Washington and medical legalization in 20 other states.
Marijuana remains a schedule I outlaw drug, meaning it has no legitimacy whatsoever, sort of like methamphetamine.
Obama's local Department of Justice has continued to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries in L.A., warning pretty much all of them in the LAPD's Rampart Division area (Echo Park, Westlake), for example, to shut down.
Leahy stated this today:
It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal. I believe that these state laws should be respected. At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.
A spokeswoman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of cops opposed to the crackdown, said she's “cautiously optimistic” about next month's hearing.
LEAP board member and retired LAPD Deputy Chief Stephen Downing:
Just as happened during the prohibition of alcohol, states are well ahead of the federal government in developing sensible marijuana police. Right now, local law enforcement officers are doing everything they can to enforce these democratically enacted laws, but inconsistencies between stated policy and actions on behalf of the Justice Department have made that impossible.
All the magic happens Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. in in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.