"It really shouldn’t even be necessary to explain to a prominent politician that people ask questions because they care about the subject...
A lot of people in Colorado and elsewhere would be very excited to think that Mitt Romney would leave marijuana policy up to the states. To even suggest such a thing is a very clever hedge that might work to earn some sympathy from libertarian-leaning republicans. But if you're gonna take that path, don't precede it by saying pot is a horrible gateway drug and insulting everyone by insisting the issue isn't even significant enough to discuss.
You wait until the interview is over to say something interesting about this?"
Last Wednesday, Mitt Romney got asked about medical marijuana and didn't much like the question or really answer it. "Aren't there issues of significance that you'd like to talk about?" Romney asks the interviewer. "The economy, the economy, the economy. The growth of jobs. The need to put people back to work. The challenges of Iran. We've got enormous issues that we face, but you want talk about -- go ahead -- you want to talk about marijuana? I think marijuana should not be legal in this country. I believe it is a gateway drug to other drug violations. The use of illegal drugs in this country is leading to terrible consequences in places like Mexico -- and actually in our country."
On Tuesday, a Mason Dixon poll found broad support for medical marijuana among Republicans. Some 67% of Republicans said federal officials should respect state medical marijuana laws. So did 75% of Democrats and 79% of independents.
Last Thursday, a Santa Barbara dispensary operator took a plea deal. Charles Restivo, operator of the Pacific Coast Collective between 2008 and 2010, was arrested after a four-dispensary raid by local law enforcement in February 2010. He was charged with possession of marijuana for sale and cultivation of marijuana for sale since authorities argued the dispensary was violating state laws regarding medical marijuana. Under the deal, Restivo pleaded guilty to one new count of possession of concentrated cannabis (hash) in return for the other charges being dropped. He will get three years probation.
On Tuesday, the DEA and local police raided a Fontana dispensary. The raiders hit Holistic Meds RX, detaining four people, and seizing large quantities of medical marijuana. It was a federal warrant, but town and San Bernadino County police aided the DEA. Dispensaries have opened in Fontana, but have been unable to get permits because the city considers the businesses illegal.
On Monday, 25 dispensaries targeted by federal officials had to be closed down. That was the second wave of dispensaries threatened by US Attorney John Walsh, who earlier forced 22 out of business. He says a third wave of threat letters is forthcoming. In the first wave, Walsh targeted dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools; in the second wave, he targeted dispensaries within 1,000 feet of college campuses. No telling yet what his criteria will be next time.
"Do we have our answer here somewhere? I wouldn't immediately dismiss any of this, although if the Obama Administration actually believes they're scoring political points with this madness, they are out of their minds. In any case, these ideas effectively sum up most of the speculation I've heard recently from serious observers.
But there's a larger point to made here: the reason we can only speculate as to the Obama Administration's motives is because they won't even admit that this crackdown is taking place, let alone explain the reasoning behind it. We shouldn't have to sit around guessing what this is about. The President, or the Attorney General, or someone with knowledge of the situation should tell us.
I'm serious. It sounds terribly naďve even to me as I write it, but there really is no logical reason why our government can’t simply tell us why they are doing these things that they've been doing. We can see them doing it. Just tell us what it's all about. Wouldn't it be easier that way?"