Just Another Day in Prohibition Paradise

Aug 06, 2008

California, CAMP, drug czar, drug war, eradication, law enforcement, ONDCP, raids, victims

Drug czar John Walters is back in California this week, flying around the Central Valley in a Blackhawk helicopter surveying the progress of the latest marijuana "eradication" adventure.Bruce Mirken has already written about these gaudy publicity stunts, but since Walters and his ilk like to play soldier so much, let's see how their war on marijuana users is going elsewhere today ...

Federal prosecutors won their case against Morro Bay medical marijuana dispensary owner Charles Lynch. Having successfully argued that evidence establishing him as a responsible, law-abiding business owner was irrelevant under federal law and therefore inadmissible, painting him to a jury as a common drug dealer was a piece of cake.

At the very same time in San Diego, however, feds conveniently applied the exact opposite logic to justify raids on four dispensaries, citing evidence that the establishments weren't complying with state medical marijuana laws – the same laws that were irrelevant to Lynch's defense.

Meanwhile, it looks like cops in Tallahassee lied to a grand jury investigating local law enforcement's role in the death of Rachel Hoffman, a recent college graduate murdered in a sting operation after being pressured into acting as an informant. Not content to accept responsibility for the death of a young girl who by all accounts sold just enough marijuana to pay for her personal use, cops tried to smear her as a major drug kingpin making nearly $2 million a year. Considering that she was busted with 5 ounces of marijuana and that her dad still paid the rent on her apartment, nobody's buying it.

Finally, after local police insisted that a raid on a Prince George's County mayor that resulted in the death of the man's two black Labs was executed by the book, it now appears not only that the man is probably completely innocent, but that cops had lied when they said they had a warrant authorizing the no-knock raid.

From his perch in a combat helicopter high over the Sequoia National Forest, it's easy for Mr. Walters to portray this war on marijuana as a success. But from the ground, it's an unconscionable mess.