April 5, 2012. Oakland. It was a sad twist on the events Tuesday that at the same exact time Federal authorities were raiding a legal medical marijuana shop and its accompanying classroom in Oakland, a gunman had lined students up against a wall in a near-by school, shooting and killing them execution style. While the tragic murders at the Oakland school and the raid on the marijuana shops were unrelated, critics of the Obama administration’s policies argue that they are clear examples of the President’s misplaced priorities.
Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University, was arrested by federal agents Tuesday.
Oaksterdam University was the first of its kind. The name appears to be a cross between ‘Oakland’ and ‘Amsterdam’, the world-famous city where many drugs are legal. There are many more imitations of Oaksterdam throughout the 16 states where medical marijuana has since become legal. The school opened in 2007 immediately after California passed the nation’s first legalized marijuana laws. The school teaches its patients - mostly cancer, AIDS and war victims - how to grow their own marijuana at home so they don’t have to go through the painful and expensive hassle of going to the dispensaries in person. Under California law, patients with a prescription for medical marijuana also have the legal right to grow small amounts at home.
Attorney General Eric Holder and his obsession with marijuana
One would think that the US Attorney General would have better things to do than focus so much of the nation’s law enforcement on harmless cancer, AIDS and war victims trying to relieve their pain and increase their appetite by smoking a little marijuana – something perfectly legal. Currently embroiled in four career-ending scandals, Holder has amazed his critics by somehow remaining in power.
For starters, Holder’s office recently admitted that it provided false information to Congressmen investigating the notorious ‘Fast & Furious’ operation. In that case, the BATF sold thousands of military weapons to the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel. A US Border Patrol agent was later murdered by one of the weapons. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘Murdered Border Patrolman’s Family wants Justice’ and ‘DOJ admits to False Congressional Admissions’ for more details.
Also related to the secret BATF Fast & Furious gun-running operation is the revelation that Federal agents had actually captured the main target of the entire operation, not once, but twice. Both times, Federal authorities “mistakenly” let him get away. Read the article, ‘DOJ Protected Fast & Furious Target Twice’ for details. As a result, Eric Holder and his attorneys have announced they are taking the unprecedented step of refusing to cooperate any longer with Congressional investigators.
Eric Holder’s attorneys are also still under fire for their disturbing admission five months ago that they knowingly and purposely withheld evidence that would have exonerated former US Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK). Stevens was originally convicted in 2008 of lieing on Congressional disclosure forms about $250,000 worth of gifts the US Attorney General’s office labeled as “bribes”. In 2009, the conviction was overturned by the same judge, who was publicly outraged when he found out the US Attorneys under Eric Holder had withheld evidence that would have cleared the former Senator.
For their part, Eric Holder’s attorneys were actually absolved of any wrongdoing by simply claiming that the judge failed to instruct them at the beginning of the trial that they were required to tell the truth. They successfully argued that since they weren’t instructed not to lie or break the law, they were free to do so. Read the article, 'No Charges for Busted DOJ Lawyers' for details.
Most recently, the Attorney General has fallen under critics’ microscopes once again for a questionable and deadly sting operation involving the DEA and FBI. In that case, just over a week ago, US military personnel were arrested on charges that they had been working for what they thought was the Zetas Mexican drug cartel. One of the men was killed in the apprehension of the subjects after more than a year of undercover gun and drug buys.
Strangely, the entire operation began when undercover DEA agents made a small marijuana buy from a poor, unsuspecting 20 year-old in South Carolina. Critics are asking why the DEA is targeting small marijuana users in South Carolina and also, why they carried out the arrests at a time when they knew the targets were heavily armed. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘US Soldiers Stung by DEA posing as Zetas Drug Cartel’.
The Oaksterdam outrage
Supporters of California’s medical marijuana industry and of marijuana legal reform nation-wide are protesting the way Oaksterdam’s founder Richard Lee and supporters outside the school were violently arrested during the raid. A video was shot by helpless supporters of Oaksterdam showing heavily armed federal agents pushing protesters and sitting on one, appearing to be terrorizing the individual. The 20 second video is now being distributed by Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
The scene outside Oaksterdam Univ. Tuesday. Here, one protester is being arrested by federal agents. Video courtesy of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
Supporters of medical marijuana are also distributing an online petition titled, ‘Tell President Obama to stop his war on medical marijuana’. The petition states:
‘On behalf of tens of millions of Americans who are horrified by the federal government's ongoing war on medical marijuana patients and their caregivers, we ask that you end this cruel and misguided policy of raiding medical marijuana establishments.
On April 2, 2012, federal agents led by the DEA conducted a raid on Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California, which has been in business legally under California state law since 2007. This is just the latest attack on medical marijuana by the Federal government, which astonishingly has conducted more raids of this kind than it did under George W. Bush's administration.
Voters and elected officials in sixteen states and the District of Columbia have said loud and clear that medical marijuana should be legal, yet the Department of Justice still refuses to allow well-regulated and professional dispensaries to continue to reliably provide medical marijuana to people who need it. Please live up to the promise you made when you were a candidate in 2007 and end these heartless raids.’
New federal tactic
Observers have pointed out that this most recent raid on California’s medical marijuana clinics was slightly different than past DEA raids. This time, heavily-armed federal officers in body armor included IRS agents. Many media observers have already begun to speculate that Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama have decided to change tactics and use the ‘Al Capone’ approach on the medical marijuana industry. Unable to put the nation’s most notorious gangster behind bars for any of the wide array of crimes he was committing on a daily basis, federal agents finally convicted him on tax evasion. It’s thought that Richard Lee and other owners of legal medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the nation will be brought down for the same crime as Capone – tax evasion.
In past interviews on networks such as CNBC, dispensary owners in California have always claimed they were ready for this day long ago. Not only do they voluntarily pay taxes, even federal income tax on a business considered illegal by the IRS, many insist they pay extra taxes each year just to insure they’re covering all the bases in an effort to avoid any tax-related charges.
The day after the raids, California’s medical marijuana dispensaries were up and running again like normal. Many critics point to that repeated scenario when calling the Justice Department’s war on Marijuana a complete failure. Few people know, but the federal government quietly operates its own medical marijuana clinic and program. Showing the hypocrisy of the Obama administration’s drug policy, federal authorities are arresting Americans for legally doing exactly the same thing those very same federal authorities are doing – selling federally-grown medical marijuana to patients with a prescription. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘Feds Guilty of their own Crime on Marijuana’ for the full details.