Federal prosecutors abusing their power: Medical marijuana division
I believe another example is the “revenge” prosecution of Aaron Schwartz because they were angry about his (completely legal and aboveboard) creation of RECAP as a free alternative to PACER for access to public-domain documents. But to the case at hand. You may recall that Obama and Eric Holder promised that there would be no prosecution of medical marijuana efforts that were in compliance with state laws. That turned out to be a flat lie—one that they are not being called out on firmly enough, IMO. Read this latest example by Adam Nagourney in the NY Times:
Matthew R. Davies graduated from college with a master’s degree in business and a taste for enterprise, working in real estate, restaurants and mobile home parks before seizing on what he saw as uncharted territory with a vast potential for profits — medical marijuana.
He brought graduate-level business skills to a world decidedly operating in the shadows. He hired accountants, compliance lawyers, managers, a staff of 75 and a payroll firm. He paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits.
But in a case that highlights the growing clash between the federal government and those states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, the United States Justice Department indicted Mr. Davies six months ago on charges of cultivating marijuana, after raiding two dispensaries and a warehouse filled with nearly 2,000 marijuana plants.
The United States attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner, a 2009 Obama appointee, wants Mr. Davies to agree to a plea that includes a mandatory minimum of five years in prison, calling the case a straightforward prosecution of “one of the most significant commercial marijuana traffickers to be prosecuted in this district.”
At the center of this federal-state collision is a round-faced 34-year-old father of two young girls. Displaying a sheaf of legal documents, Mr. Davies, who has no criminal record, insisted in an interview that he had meticulously followed California law in setting up a business in 2009 that generated $8 million in annual revenues. By all appearances, Mr. Davies’ dispensaries operated as openly as the local Krispy Kreme, albeit on decidedly more tremulous legal ground.
“To be looking at 15 years of our life, you couldn’t pay me enough to give that up,” Mr. Davies said at the dining room table in his two-story home along the San Joaquin River Delta, referring to the amount of time he could potentially serve in prison. “If I had believed for a minute this would happen, I would never have gotten into this.
“We thought, this is an industry in its infancy, it’s a heavy cash business, it’s basically being used by people who use it to cloak illegal activity. Nobody was doing it the right way. We thought we could make a model of how this should be done.”
His lawyers appealed this month to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to halt what they suggested was a prosecution at odds with Justice Department policies to avoid prosecutions of medical marijuana users and with President Obama’s statement that the government has “bigger fish to fry” than recreational marijuana users.
“Does this mean that the federal government will be prosecuting individuals throughout California, Washington, Colorado and elsewhere who comply with state law permitting marijuana use, or is the Davies case merely a rogue prosecutor out of step with administration and department policy?” asked Elliot R. Peters, one of his lawyers. . .
UPDATE: I just sent (via the contact form on their websites) the following message to US Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein and my US Representative Sam Farr, with the subject “Outrageous prosecution of Matt Davies”:
I am writing to object to the outrageous prosecution of Matt Davies by the DoJ. Mr. Davies, in accordance with guidance from President Obama and AG Eric Holder, ran a medical marijuana operation in strict accordance with California state laws, relying on their promise that such activities regarding medical marijuana and done in accordance with state law would be allowed.
Obviously the word of Obama and Holder is worth nothing. Their prosecution of a man operating a legal operation by state law, and in accordance with the guidelines and promises of the President and the Attorney General, is now being viciously prosecuted.
This is an outrage. I might expect something like this from the likes of Ed Meese or John Ashcroft, but Holder? He allows the Finance Industry to do whatever it wants and lets it off with little more than a wrist slap, but a guy actually OBEYING the law—Holder can’t wait to send him to jail.
I grow ever more disgusted with this administration. Please do something to help Matt Davies—and to help Californians using medical marijuana in compliance with state law.
You can read the story in the NY Times at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/14/us/14pot.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=all
UPDATE 2: Just sent the same message to the Department of Justice: firstname.lastname@example.org