FOUR DAYS AGO, on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, the Drug Enforcement Administration, an arm of the federal government—and therefore, an arm of the President of the United States—raided four medical marijuana dispensaries in the Puget Sound area. There are now nineteen states that have legalized medical marijuana, including the three states that make up the west coast on the US.
With the passage of Initiative 502 in the state of Washington, “the regulation of cannabis grown and consumed here [in Washington state] has become a state concern. If there are to be raids, arrests and prosecutions, they should be done under state authority unless there is evidence of multi-state criminal enterprise [emphasis added].”
That quote is from an editorial published in The Seattle Times yesterday (Saturday). So, without getting into a debate on the issue of ‘states rights,’ I offer this, an open letter to President Obama:
Dear Mr. President,
Regarding the recent DEA raids on medical marijuana establishments in Washington state: this is NOT a good way to maintain your standing with your ‘base.’ Actions such as this—and the prosecution of Bradley Manning and the international hunt for Edward Snowden (two other actions currently enjoying the attention of the mainstream media)—alienate those voters who made it possible for you to run for the Democratic nomination in 2008, and then made your election to that office doable.
It’s been tough enough as a progressive to defend you against the lies of the right; sending DEA thugs after small operations that exist primarily to assist in the alleviation of pain—or pursuing ‘whistle-blowers’ who are exposing lies, crime, and corruption—reminds too many of us ‘librulls’ too much of the Reagan and Bush administrations—a place you do not want to go!
So, please call a moratorium on these DEA raids. If you must, appoint a commission and hold public hearings regarding the rights of states to pass and enforce these laws without the federal government overriding them. A cancer patient seeking relief from the horrors of chemotherapy is not quite the same as a black student being denied admission to a public school, now is it?
Heck, I will even make the commission and its appointees easy for you: I will sacrifice my privacy as a citizen and accept the chairmanship and its attendant duties and challenges for a period no longer than 48 months. Yes, I will give the equivalent of one of your terms in office to make this country, my country, a better place to live!
Needless to say, I will stand by and await your call.
Best in your remaining three years.
Sith agus Slainte’ bha!
Neal Umphred, registered Democrat in the state of Washington