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Federal, state law enforcement officials to crack down on marijuana dispensaries

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Federal and state law enforcement officials put the owners of medical marijuana dispensaries on notice today, warning them that selling marijuana for any purpose, including medical use, was against both federal and state law.

    “Are we supposed to believe that people go to places like “Wake N Bake” to get medicine?” said U.S. Attorney, Dwight C. Holton. “ Oregonians, who adopted a medical marijuana law in good faith, deserve an answer — are these places where people go to get medicine, or are these just drug dealers hiding behind the m edical m arijuana law? ”

    Holton issued a joint statement today along with 33 Oregon district attorneys, Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin, president of the Oregon State Sheriff‟s Association; and Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda, president of the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police.

    The officials also warned people who knowingly financed a marijuana dispensary or allowed one “to operate on your property also violates federal law and could subject financiers and landlords to civil and criminal penalties–including forfeiture of any assets used in support of the criminal enterprise.”

    The statement came out the day after U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. Department of Justice would soon clarify its position on medical marijuana.

    “We’re going to bring clarity so that people understand what this policy means and how this policy will be implemented,” Holder said in statement during a visit to Rhode Island where two men with state-issued marijuana licenses were arrested on drug charges.

    Holton said numerous dispensaries in the state are openly selling marijuana, going so far as to offer coupons for free or discounted pot, despite the defeat last November of ballot Measure No. 74.

    “Oregon and Federal law make it illegal to sell marijuana–period, end of story,” Holton said.

    Madeline Martinez, sole proprietor of the Cannabis Cafe in North Portland, said her business is merely a cafe where licensed medical marijuana users can meet, smoke a joint or use a vaporizer, but where no marijuana is sold.

    “There are no dispensaries in Oregon, but I realize that we are within a realm that may not be legal,’’ she said.

    Drug traffickers are hiding behind the medical marijuana law to protect their sham operations,” said Marion County District Attorney, Walk Beglau. “We have to rein in this outlaw atmosphere before any kid can walk into a storefront on Main Street in any town in Oregon and buy marijuana illegally.”

    Beglau, president of the Oregon District Attorneys Association, called the situation "a growing crisis we need to meet head on.”

    One signature not on the the statement issued today was that of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk.

    In a letter to Holton, Schrunk said that “under present circumstances, my understanding of the investigative priorities of local police agencies is that combating this cannot be termed a critical priority when balanced against others.”

    Paul Loney, an defense attorney who’s represented clients that have run afoul of Oregon’s medical marijuana law, said law enforcement should crack down on illegal growers growing pot on federal lands and selling pot to customers around the country.

    “It’s reefer madness rhetoric,” Loney said of the statement issued today. “There are no medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon, there are private clubs where people can meet and smoke, and reimburse their growers for the supplies they used to grow the marijuana.”

    Loney said Oregon’s medical marijuana program was approved by voters, and that it was time for the Oregon legislature “to come up with a regulated plan” to deal with the issue.

    --The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    By Stuart Tomlinson,
    The Oregonian
    Friday, June 03, 2011



  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Feds say they won't allow sale of pot anywhere in state

    PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. district attorney for Oregon has served notice on all medical marijuana growers, saying the federal government will not allow the sale of pot anywhere in Oregon.

    U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton issued the warning not only to growers but to landlords saying "Knowingly financing a marijuana dispensary or allowing one to operate on your property also violates federal law and could subject financier and landlords to civil and criminal penalties."

    There are dozens of growers markets across the state. But many patients and growers are adamant these are farmers markets or grower co-ops and not dispensaries. They say there is never a free exchange of money for marijuana at these operations. They also say they believe it is just another assault on the medical marijuana law passed by Oregon voters.

    During a Friday at a strip mall on Southeast 82nd, Oregon medical marijuana patients went into an office and came out with paper bags containing jars of pot.

    Medical marijuana patients who use the facility say it's not a dispensary. It’s a farmers market. They make a donation and for that donation they are given a playing card. They then give the playing card to a medical marijuana grower. They may get a jar of medical marijuana or not. There is no quid pro quo – no guarantee they will get marijuana for their money.

    For that reason users and operators say they do not believe they are violating laws because they are not actually buying or selling pot.

    Bill Elliott, a 65-year-old Vietnam veteran, has been a medical marijuana cardholder for almost three years. He doesn't get his marijuana at that office but he manages the nearby Cannabis Café and knows a lot of people who do get their marijuana there.

    "If we don't have any clear-cut decisions or clear-cut guidelines about what they are defining as dispensaries and what they are defining in terms of what we define as a farmers market – yeah, we could find some gray areas that could cause us some problems," he said.

    He says he would like guidance from his government, not threats for doing what he believes is his legal right as an Oregonian.

    The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) sees it the same way.

    Its Oregon director, Madeline Martinez, says closing farmers markets and growers co-ops could force medical marijuana patients to find pot wherever they can.

    "They're not allowed to try to find medical marijuana except on the black market. And so this type of behavior and law enforcement with the heavy hand is just pushing people out to the black market," she said. "Instead, what the government should do is try to capture that revenue and put it into our state coffers."

    Whether they are called dispensaries or growers markets, patients and supporters of legalization of marijuana say the same thing: These facilities drive illegal black market dope dealers out of business, because the dealers can’t compete with the small donation prices made to markets.

    By Thom Jensen KATU News and KATU.com Staff
    Published: Jun 10, 2011 at 12:48 AM PDT

  2. veritas.socal
    this decision flies in the face of "safe access to medicine", which is pretty much the premise of Ca's prop 215.
    and its bullshit because it flies in the face of what the voters of the state of oregon wanted.
    let it alone, already
  3. trdofbeingtrd
    You know, the whole "federal against the law", but "state okays it" thing is really annoying. I understand that this specific state is not in relation to this article. I don't know, I mean, how many officials are only enforcing marijuana laws simply because they are a law? In other words, take meth for example. Most people know it is a very dagerous drug. It ruins lives, not just the person who takes it, but those around them. I can understand why this drug is against the law. Regardless of my personal views on drugs/medications, it's true. People are not able (myself included at one time) to do this drug to self medicate both responsibly and stay healthy. Marijuana on the other hand, I just don't see how prison, gun shots, and basically treating people like the lowest forms of life help anything because they smoke/buy/trade/sell marijuana.

    So, the officers are just doing their job. If something is against the law, they uphold the law, regardless of their personal opinions. I respect that. I just don't know how anyone could not see the idiocy of making something legal state wise, but illegal federally. It's like a trap, almost like it's planned to happen for money.

    Them making marijuana completely illegal, I get that. Them arresting people and throwing them in jail, giving large fines, fucking up their permanent record.......all of this I get if marijuana was completely illegal. If the law is broke, there must be punishments for it. But going and doing this crap of "it's legal, but not really, so we will allow it, but only so we can shut it down" is just doing nothing good for man/woman kind. No matter how conservative or right winged a person is, no matter how anti-drugs a person is, I just don't get how they cannot see that this is not helping our species at all, just helping the politicians who waste money and cry for more.
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