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  • ShereeKrider 8:24 pm on December 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , federal powers, , ,   

    Prohibitionists are Overstating Feds vs. State Marijuana Legalization Case to Media 

    by David Borden, December 10, 2012, 02:54pm

    Posted in:

    A mostly great piece in Rolling Stone this weekend, "Obama’s Pot Problem," missed the mark on the federal preemption question — can the feds shut down Washington and Colorado’s legalized regulation systems? Tim Dickinson wrote the following on that subject:

    [T]he administration appears to have an open-and-shut case: Federal law trumps state law when the two contradict. What’s more, the Supreme Court has spoken on marijuana law: In the 2005 case Gonzales v. Raich contesting medical marijuana in California, the court ruled that the federal government can regulate even tiny quantities of pot – including those grown and sold purely within state borders – because the drug is ultimately connected to interstate commerce. If the courts side with the administration, a judge could issue an immediate injunction blocking Washington and Colorado from regulating or taxing the growing and selling of pot – actions that would be considered trafficking under the Controlled Substances Act.

    But a former Bush administration official quoted in the New York Times on Thursday, former DOJ civil division head Gregory Katsas, made the opposite prediction. Katsas was "skeptical" that a preemption lawsuit would succeed, according to the Times. Why? Perhaps because it’s not just that the feds can’t force states to criminalize drug possession, as Kevin Sabet selectively pointed out to Dickinson. It’s also the case that they probably can’t directly force the states to criminalize sales either. The Controlled Substances Act in fact leans against federal preemption of state drug policy, as pointed out in a law professors brief on preemption submitted in a California case this year.

    Dickinson also pointed out that federal officials had used threats to prosecute state employees involved in implementing regulations for medical marijuana. In my opinion the US Attorney letters were deliberately vague — scary enough to influence state officials, but in most if not all cases stopping short of explicitly making that threat. A better piece of evidence, I think, is that in 16 years of state medical marijuana laws, no federal prosecutor has ever tried to actually invalidate such a law in court, not even after the Raich ruling. Why not? They must not think they have a slam dunk case. And if preemption is not a slam dunk for medical marijuana, then it’s not a slam dunk when it comes to legalization either, although there are additional arguments to throw against full legalization.

    The reality is that no one knows how this will turn out if it goes to court. Raich established that federal police agencies can use their powers in medical marijuana states to continue to criminalize marijuana federally, justified by the Interstate Commerce Clause. But that is not the same as having the power to forbid states from granting exceptions to the states’ own anti-marijuana sales laws, which in legal terms is what the regulatory frameworks do, and plenty of smart lawyers are skeptical that they can do that. This is not a slam dunk either way.


  • ShereeKrider 3:32 am on October 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Department of Justice, federal lawsuit, federal powers, , san francisco,   

    Oakland goes to court for embattled pot dispensary 

    stephen deangelo


    LISA LEFF | October 10, 2012

    SAN FRANCISCO — An Oakland medical marijuana dispensary that bills itself as the world’s largest gained an unusual ally Wednesday in its fight to stop federal prosecutors from shutting it down: the city government.

    The city of Oakland filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco that seeks to prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from using its property seizure powers to get Harborside Health Center evicted. The suit, thought to be the first a local government has brought on behalf of a pot shop, alleges the Justice Department knew about Harborside for years and exceeded the legal deadline for taking action against it.

    It also claims federal officials are overstepping their authority by interfering with the process Oakland has established for licensing and monitoring dispensaries to make sure they operate in accordance with state law, City Attorney Barbara Parker said.

    "We find it to be a very important issue from the standpoint of public health and public safety," Parker said. "We spent a lot of time, money, developing the regulatory scheme, issuing the permits, using our resources to do the inspections."

    The Oakland City Council approved the filing of the lawsuit, she said.

    Harborside serves about 100,000 medical marijuana users a year, sells about $20 million worth of pot and marijuana products, and pays $3 million in federal, state and local taxes annually, of which about $1.2 million goes to Oakland, executive director Steve DeAngelo said. He called the city’s intervention "heartening and encouraging."

    U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag initiated a forfeiture proceeding in July on the property Harborside has rented in downtown Oakland since 2006, as well as its sister shop in San Jose. Haag said at the time that the dispensaries violate federal law by selling marijuana, even though medical marijuana is legal in California.

    The owners of both properties have gone to state court to force out the dispensaries, but DeAngelo has counter-sued and so far been able to stay in business, said his lawyer, Henry Wykowski. DeAngelo, who has four years remaining on his Oakland lease, also is fighting the U.S. attorney’s claims, and a hearing before a federal magistrate is scheduled for Nov. 1, Wykowski said.

    Over the past year, Haag and California’s three other federal prosecutors have brought similar actions against landlords throughout the state that lease space to dispensaries, most of which have been evicted or closed on their own.


  • ShereeKrider 6:30 pm on April 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: commerce clause, , federal powers, obamacare, regulate interstate commerce   

    Ron Paul wins if Supreme Court strikes Obamacare 

    Saturday, 31 March 2012 21:09


    How did it get this far?  Even a naturalized citizen like me and tens of millions of others who took an oath to uphold the Constitution can clearly see that the United States is no longer a constitutional republic with limited powers

    Article I Section 8, which enumerates the federal government’s powers, has been ignored by Congress and the Supreme Court for nearly two centuries. Congress has passed laws that presidents from both major parties have signed that egregiously expanded federal power.

    Cleverly, big government advocates have hung their hat on the Commerce Clause instead, which gives the federal government the power to “regulate” interstate commerce.  By invoking the Commerce Clause, statists have created America’s unsustainable welfare state–Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc.

    An accurate historical reading of the Commerce Clause turns this interpretation on its head.  As Judge Napolitano has pointed out, the Founders wanted to make commerce “regular” in the fledgling republic by removing trade restrictions and other burdens so commerce could flow seamlessly between the states.  In other words, the Commerce Clause was not intended to give the federal government open-ended power to interfere with business activity.

    Moreover, a free society requires freedom. The ability of the people to invent, produce, trade, consume, save and enjoy the fruits of their labor is supposed to be the essence of America.  In other words, a limited government, free enterprise republic needs the government to secure the borders and protect liberty, not order people how to live their lives.

    If all the Supreme Court justices who heard the challenge to Obamacare this past week were faithful to their oaths to uphold the constitution, they would have excoriated the Solicitor General who was defending Obamacare, and castigated the President and the Congress for creating a law that was an affront to the Constitution—and an assault on the American people’s liberties.  In addition, the Supremes should have taken one giant step for liberty by stating that they will strike down all laws that have been enacted that are inconsistent with Article I Section 8 of the Constitution.  Maybe they will do so in their ruling about Obamacare that is due in June.  However, I would not hold my breath that all nine justices will “see the light,” namely, that Obamacare is the latest statist piece of unconstitutional legislation that must be struck down.

    If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, root and branch, the march to liberty could accelerate.

    That would mean that Ron Paul has won, even if he is not elected president this year.  The Ron Paul Revolution, the movement to restore the Constitution, is gaining strength day by day. 

    We have a long way to go to recreate a free society, but like all great journeys, we must agitate for what is right and honorable, a limited government republic, and not give up the fight worth fighting.

    Murray Sabrin is a professor of finance at Ramapo College and blogs at http://www.MurrarySabrin.com.


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