by Jack Landsman, Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:17:54 AM EDT
As a persistent (progressive) critic of Barack Obama, it is often demanded I offer any area in which I approve of the president. In response to the inquiry, I have usually given a two-fold answer: First, in terms of his personal appeal, I consider President Obama to be both the coolest fellow ever elected president and the coolest fellow that ever will be president. Although he’s notoriously overhyped, like Sean Penn, I’m drawn to the word “elegant” in describing our first black president. I am also aligned with Ann Coulter and The Hitch in the belief that Barack Obama is probably a non-believer—although I have usually expressed such gleeful suspicion sotto voce for fear of having my hipster chat overheard by teabaggers.
Furthermore, my very real desire to find some common ground with this president has led to me to lavish fulsome praise on his administration for what I thought was its enlightened stance on raids by the Drug Enforcement Agency on medicinal marijuana dispensaries even when they are in complete accordance with state laws.
Well, I’ll be damned.
Perusing the news only to find headlines like “How ObamaCare Guts Medicare,” or “Obama shifts tone on health care,” is as maddening as it is banal and totally predictable after a while. “Speak no evil: DEA, DOJ stay mum on medical marijuana raids,” however, is akin to a violent nutcheck.
Despite campaign promises to the contrary, the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t stopped raiding marijuana dispensaries operating in states where sale of the drug is legal for medical purposes. But the DOJ has demonstrated one marked change now that it’s under Democratic control: The department has stopped publicizing medical marijuana raids, both by requesting that more cases be sealed under court order and by refusing to distribute press releases.
Late last week, DEA and FBI agents raided five medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada. In July, DEA agents raided the home of 65-year-old Mendocino County, California, grower Joy Greenfield and confiscated plants, money, and her computer. Also in July, DEA agents raided the home of a couple in Michigan who were licensed by the state to use marijuana, as well as three medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego. In January and February of this year, the DEA raided two medical marijuana research labs in Colorado.
In all of the above cases, the DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices issued no press releases and held no press conferences. The websites for DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in Detroit, Denver, Northern California, and Los Angeles (which also handles cases in Nevada) make no mention of the above dispensary raids, but do feature news releases for raids, arrests, and investigations involving harder drugs, as well marijuana trafficking, which is illegal in all states.