Colorado Congressman Fights Back Against DEA's Medical Marijuana Raids

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The DEA's recent tough-guy tactics in Colorado aren't winning them any friends in the press, the public, or even in politics. Colorado Congressman Jared Polis sent a scathing letter to Attorney General Holder and President Obama demanding that DEA be required to uphold the administration's policy of respecting medical marijuana laws. Here it is in part:

Despite these formal guidelines, Friday, February 12, 2010, agents from the U.S. Department of Justice's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided the home of medical marijuana caregiver Chris Bartkowicz in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. In a news article in the Denver Post the next day, the lead DEA agent in the raid, Jeffrey Sweetin, claimed "We're still going to continue to investigate and arrest people...Technically, every dispensary in the state is in blatant violation of federal law," he said. "The time is coming when we go into a dispensary, we find out what their profit is, we seize the building and we arrest everybody. They're violating federal law; they're at risk of arrest and imprisonment."

Agent Sweetin's comment that "we arrest everybody" is of great concern to me and to the people of Colorado, who overwhelmingly voted to allow medical marijuana. Coloradans suffering from debilitating medical conditions, many of them disabled, elderly, veterans, or otherwise vulnerable people, have expressed their concern to me that the DEA will come into medical marijuana dispensaries, which are legal under Colorado law, and "arrest everybody" present. Although Agent Sweetin reportedly has backed away from his comments, he has yet to issue a written clarification or resign, thus the widespread panic in Colorado continues.

On May 14, 2009, Mr. Kerlikowske told the Wall Street Journal: "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," he said. "We're not at war with people in this country." The actions and commentary of Mr. Sweetin are inconsistent with the idea of not waging war against the people of the State of Colorado and are a contradiction to your agency's laudable policies. [Westword]

Right on. We're witnessing a conspicuous disruption of the White House's carefully crafted effort to reduce controversy in the war on drugs, and it's clear that the silence must soon be broken in Washington. It's easy to say "we're not at war," but until you order the soldiers under your command to lay down their arms, it won't be possible to sugarcoat any of this.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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of course the U.S. is at war with users of the 'wrong' drugs

Kerlikowske's comment was truly bizarre. Only the self-restraint of cannabis users in the face of bogus laws and bogus arrests and bogus prices has prevented a real bloodbath in the US. If cannabis users don't cause violence when they're treated like dogs, why expect them to cause violence it they are treated like citizens?

The DEA is not in business to put itself out of business

The DEA is not in business to put itself out of business.

The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse warned against the danger of a drug agency committing itself to an ideology, seeking to institutionalize problems and continually seeking to expand its budget and power. In the 1972 report the Commission recommended formation of a Single Agency with only a five year life span and creation of an independent commission to study the agency during its fifth year to determine what worked, what didn't work and what national drug policy changes might be appropriate. The Single Agency was to be staffed by employees of many other agencies which they would generally return to when this Single Agency was dissolved which was partly so their employment wouldn't be dependent on the continued existence of this drug agency.

War on an inanimate object?

America needs to ask, Are all these "public servants" trained in the art of sleight of hand psychology?

Again we come back to the gov't's logic that you can't call something a drug if it doesn't cure anything. Yet, cannabis has no medical value under the scheduling codes.

I'm still trying to understand how draining fluids from my body and searching them for contraband against my will by my employer or a cop on the side of the road doesn't violate any of my rights.

This whole war is filled with senseless ideologies like you can attack an inanimate object as it sits in the mouth of a free man.How do you maintain a free society and control a man's appetite?

How do you have a war on a product after it leaves the manufacturer? Every Toyota owner would have their pets assassinated and their homes and children confiscated right now. That wouldn't sit well would it? You can kill with those things ya know?

Which brings to mind how rolling papers can be legally sold at retail and at the door they become illegal drug paraphernalia. Punishable by fine and prison.

Guilty cars and houses. On & On & on they go.

How do you hold accountable something with no freewill, no ability to reason or choose, no ability to change itself or be rehabilitated ?

If a citizen were to bring an inanimate object to life through whatever means available to them they would be forcibly committed to a mental institution by a court of law.

Yet, congress passes these laws and turns on it's constituents. The sheriff enforces these laws by turning on his constituents.....and america tolerates it.

However, the big kicker here is that, the training came out in the pres. There was a leak. Busines as usual caught up with the public relations and somebody had a brain fart....and the truth came out.

There's a war on citizens being waged by people trying to justify their jobs.

I've been on the receiving end of that war for many years. I have been fortunate by the grace of God to yet see the inside of a jail cell but, my day may come. Because, I'm a free man. I have a right to what God gave me and found on the 6th day of the world's creation to be "very good".... and I ain't laying down for no fascist traitor. Whether he's passsing a law or enforcing it .

the damn laws in the drug war are anti-american ....and I don't know how you single a man out of a crowd for execution with a shotgun and flash bang grenades.

Enemies of Democracy

Congressman Polis’ letter to AG Holder will hopefully get the DEA to put some of its dogs on a leash.  Jeffrey Sweetin may get a warning of some sort.  Meanwhile, he’s screwed up many people’s lives for no logical reason.

We can’t overlook a deeper problem related to these incidents that doesn’t get mentioned very much.  It’s almost a dark secret.  There are many individuals in American government and elsewhere in the U.S. who hate democracy; ideologues who would very much like to see it go away.  Their reasons vary.

Whatever the reasons, the enemies of democracy pose a direct threat to We the People for whom the government is allowed to exist as a public servant.  Government for the sake of government has no place in this country.

If it comes down to us or them, there are more of us than them. The existence of unknown numbers of enemies of democracy within state and federal governments makes it imperative that the respective governments rid themselves of the traitors in their midst. A concerted government effort must be undertaken to neutralize crazed crusaders like SA Jeffrey Sweetin and DA Steve Cooley.  Or it will be up to the people to do so.

Giordano

Democracy?

Democracy allows them to do what they are doing. Democracy is NOT freedom! Democracy means 50.1% of the people voting can make (has made) the lives of the other 49.9% (voting or not) miserable, and subject to confiscation of all their property. It is not the enemies of democracy who are our enemies, it is the enemies of freedom, let's get our semantics straight. Democracy is one of the biggest evils to have ever risen its head on the political scene, the other big evil is fascism ("If you're in favor of laws against consensual behavior, regardless of alleged 'harm', you're a FASCIST!" --Robert A. Cook). And democracy allows too many fascists to gain power.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Republic

Maybe that reasoning was used to found the country. The founders were intelligent people. They likely saw the oppression of minorities, by their government, when a democracy is used. It does not really explain why the government is so against a drug and medicine that it is impossible, with which, to kill yourself! They can't even use the cancer scare anymore!

But, the quote of fascism does not seem to be right. Fascism is when the big corporations and the government are in bed. That has been suggested as the reason why big pharma, alcohol, and cigarette companies influence our drug laws. That takes the voice of "we the people" out of their equation! I agree with all of the statement but that. I would replace fascism with abusive, moralistic, judgmental, authoritarian. When will they, ever, learn that morality cannot be legislated. It just does not, and will never, work! Unless you call being the biggest prison nation, on the planet, a success!

Better than Theocracy

Moonrider, you bring up good points on knowing your enemy.  But the labels need clarifying if we intend to pinpoint who the enemy really is.

I rarely use the term ‘fascism’ anymore to denote anything because there is no consensus within the social sciences as to what fascism is.  We have few working examples of it with which to draw comparisons: Italian Fascism, Nazi fascism under National Socialism, and maybe the KKK.  A big problem is the wingnuts are now trying to confuse the matter with a new book that equates fascism with liberalism—Mussolini would laugh if he were alive to hear that one.

Some of the best work done unraveling the riddles of this odd political movement is written by A. James Gregor, Robert O. Paxton, and David Niewert.  It’s an ongoing area of academic study.

It’s still useful to view what happened under fascist and Fascist (=Italian) regimes to explore and compare the methods that were used to achieve political and nationalist goals with what’s being done in the drug war.  Propaganda is one example.  Even these methods are shaped and given a disguise by the cultures that adopt them.  If we focus just on the leadership, there’s no doubt Hitler was a moralizing prohibitionist and racist, while Mussolini, not so much.  Mussolini had a Jewish mistress and liked to party.  He was still a jerk, though.

Some of the people who want to overthrow democracy in the U.S. include the dominionists, who are part of the religious right.  Dominionists want to install a theocracy in place of the current system of government.  They’re commonly referred to as the American Taliban.  They generally support drug prohibition, and they are dangerous people (see The Family by Jeff Sharlet).  Authoritarians who fear change make up another element.  And then there are the psychopaths, people who see themselves at the top of the food chain, with humans on the menu.

I like to think of democracy in its active form as the democratic process, as a politically progressive method that is capable of achieving some good results in the fight against tyranny.  That’s if the public is allowed a proper education on a subject by their government.  Under this duress, the process can take a long time and jump the tracks once in a while.  But I think we will witness another ringing success for democracy in the upcoming 2010 California election, which will feature a referendum on legalizing marijuana for recreational use.  So far the polls are holding steady with 56% favoring the freedom to grow and toke.

Giordano

The republic

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.“– U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 letter to Col. William F. Elkins (Emphasis mine -k.)

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness] it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government...
Thomas Jefferson (The Declaration of Independence)

Yea , bright coments, but this is a war

and we are barley even suffering for the way we have let this go on for almost a hundred years . There are many families out there that have completely disappeared . In the countries that have supplied our forbidden experimentation's , we have done some really horrid things . Somehow someway we must end this immoral war against people and stop the machine that is the Drug War.

No war?

If our government isn't waging war against us, somebody should tell the soldiers to put down their weapons and release their prisoners.

I urge EVERYONE

To watch this series on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=michael+badnarik+bill+of+rig...
and when you've finished those seek out his 43 video series on his Constitution class. Take your time, you do not have to view them all in one day. But the main reason to watch is that if we don't know our rights we cannot protect ourselves from violations of them. He has some solutions to the daily violations of our rights as well, particularly one concerning a lawsuit against the person who signed his/her name to a request for a warrant based on false or incomplete information when the carrying out of that warrant violates one's rights. As such incomplete investigation before carrying out this warrant did to this family:
http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2010/feb/23/family-questions-swat-dr...
Read thru the comments, too, we ARE winning if the majority of those comments are any indication.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Jared Polis

I am personally stunned to see a responsible Congressman in my lifetime, being used to politicians not statesmen. The best thanks that I can think of is http://hemptopia.org/images/polis1.jpg

GOVERNMENT POWER IS DERIVED FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED

Guess what?

I DO NOT CONSENT.

Do you?

Fascism to Freedom

Well, it may not be literally fascism, but it sure feels like it. I'm willing to use whatever term is the most accurate and moves us toward our goal of living under a Constitutional republic again!

LOVED Badnarik's course. We watched most of it with our (home schooled) teens, still about half to go. This should be required in every middle/high school in the country. (I can dream...)

Please spread the word about this Congressman to anyone you know in Colorado. I'm the webmaster for www.Liberty-Candidates.org (we make no money from this). If you know any candidates that might fit the bill, please send them to the site. Our best course is to elect Liberty Candidates to office.

Marijuana is a miracle drug and I've come to believe that Big Pharma is behind the drug war. Just following the money. If marijuana were legal, B.P. would be out of business! And I don't even smoke the stuff.

Fascism to Freedom

I'm not anonymous, I posted the above comment. Somehow my info got wiped out in the preview action... Proud to be a liberty geek!

Sally_Oh's picture

Fascism to Freedom

Ok, one more time. Not anonymous. I guess you have to have an account to not be anonymous. We'll see. Putting my signature on here just in case.

Sally O'Boyle

Want Freedom? Visit www.Liberty-Candidates.org!
Want Liberty Gear? Visit www.LibertyBuys.com!

The good congressman...

At least he realizes that the citizens of his state are under attack and is doing something about it. He should be re-elected. The bad federal agent of DEAth should be put in prison where he can spend the next few years explaining his life choices to Bubba.

Ideas for Change in America is now on to Round 2 of the voting

HEADS UP ACTIVISTS:

Ideas for Change in America is now on to Round 2 of the voting competition. There is ONE marijuana related idea that has made it’s way into Round 2. ONLY the top 10 Ideas will move on the the final Round in which discussion will take place with the Administration. Please go now to add your vote (this does take logging in, but hell it only takes a couple of minutes and your support is needed).

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/legalize_the_medicinal_and_recreational...

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