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I just got back from a unity meeting in Oakland. The focus was coming up with a strategy for California that works and keeps people out of jail for cannabis. The meeting was attended by many that have been advocates for various initiatives and strategies. I think that the long time advocates have finally begun to realize that we must all compromise and work together. California WILL be a leader in how cannabis legislation should work. 
There are a few people out there that are upset that they weren't invited to the meeting and are starting to spread rumors that there is conspiracy in the air. It just isn't true. The meeting was fairly spontaneous. I was there because I was going to be there anyway on another matter. The first thing our movement needs to do in 2013 is to STOP BEING MARINOID!!!! This movement is like a big tent. The stakes can be moved to make it larger and bring everyone in. What we can't afford is to work against each other again. We need to be realistic and we all need to be able to compromise. And we all need to raise money and have a role in the grass roots effort. Will you be a unity star?  Please make a commitment by commenting with your email address. You will be put on a list of volunteers for the effort in 2014 and 2016 and kept in the loop. Let's get this done!!!

 
 
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By CHARLIE SAVAGE
Published: December 6, 2012

WASHINGTON — Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.

Even as marijuana legalization supporters are celebrating their victories in the two states, the Obama administration has been holding high-level meetings since the election to debate the response of federal law enforcement agencies to the decriminalization efforts.

Marijuana use in both states continues to be illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. One option is to sue the states on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law. Should the Justice Department prevail, it would raise the possibility of striking down the entire initiatives on the theory that voters would not have approved legalizing the drug without tight regulations and licensing similar to controls on hard alcohol.

Some law enforcement officials, alarmed at the prospect that marijuana users in both states could get used to flouting federal law openly, are said to be pushing for a stern response. But such a response would raise political complications for President Obamabecause marijuana legalization is popular among liberal Democrats who just turned out to re-elect him.

“It’s a sticky wicket for Obama,” said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin, saying any aggressive move on such a high-profile question would be seen as “a slap in the face to his base right after they’ve just handed him a chance to realize his presidential dreams.”

Federal officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Several cautioned that the issue had raised complex legal and policy considerations — including enforcement priorities, litigation strategy and the impact of international antidrug treaties — that remain unresolved, and that no decision was imminent.

The Obama administration declined to comment on the deliberations, but pointed to a statement the Justice Department issued on Wednesday — the day before the initiative took effect in Washington — in the name of the United States attorney in Seattle, Jenny A. Durkan. She warned Washington residents that the drug remained illegal.

“In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance,” she said. “Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6 in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”

Ms. Durkan’s statement also hinted at the deliberations behind closed doors, saying: “The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State. The department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.”

Federal officials have relied on their more numerous state and local counterparts to handle smaller marijuana cases. In reviewing how to respond to the new gap, the interagency task force — which includes Justice Department headquarters, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Department and the offices of the White House Counsel and the director of National Drug Control Policy — is considering several strategies, officials said.

One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state. The department could then obtain a court ruling that federal law trumps the state one.

A more aggressive option is for the Justice Department to file lawsuits against the states to prevent them from setting up systems to regulate and tax marijuana, as the initiatives contemplated. If a court agrees that such regulations are pre-empted by federal ones, it will open the door to a broader ruling about whether the regulatory provisions can be “severed” from those eliminating state prohibitions — or whether the entire initiatives must be struck down.

Another potential avenue would be to cut off federal grants to the states unless their legislatures restored antimarijuana laws, said Gregory Katsas, who led the civil division of the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration.

Mr. Katsas said he was skeptical that a pre-emption lawsuit would succeed. He said he was also skeptical that it was necessary, since the federal government could prosecute marijuana cases in those states regardless of whether the states regulated the drug.

Still, federal resources are limited. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued a policy for handling states that have legalized medical marijuana. It says federal officials should generally not use their limited resources to go after small-time users, but should for large-scale trafficking organizations. The result has been more federal raids on dispensaries than many liberals had expected.


 
 
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This is SO rare that law enforcement is investigated and charged. Melinda Haag's offices needs to be contacted and given kudos for this case!


Created on Thursday, 06 December 2012 22:09
Written by IVN
Oakland, California - The former commander of the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) and a special agent supervisor of the California Department of Justice pleaded guilty to five felony counts in federal court in Oakland today, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

Norman Wielsch admitted one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute marijuana and 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, one count of theft from programs receiving federal funds, two counts of civil rights conspiracy, and one count of Hobbs Act robbery.

In pleading guilty to the charges, Wielsch, 51, admitted to stealing from evidence facilities $30,000 to $70,000 worth of marijuana and methamphetamine that had been seized during legitimate CNET raids. Specifically, Wielsch admitted that he stole at least 20 pounds of marijuana and more than 400 grams of high-purity methamphetamine (ice) between November 2010 and February 2011. He further admitted to conspiring to distribute these drugs with his codefendant, private investigator and former Antioch police officer Christopher Butler, also 51.

In pleading to the civil rights conspiracies, Wielsch admitted that he and Butler participated together in a phony “sting” operation in which they falsely detained a young man under the guise of a legitimate law enforcement operation, conducted warrantless searches, and kept narcotics that were taken during the sting. Wielsch also admitted that he and Butler staged what purported to be legitimate sting operations against prostitutes but instead of seizing evidence and citing the prostitutes, they unlawfully took the prostitutes’ money and property for themselves. Wielsch acknowledged that they took more than $10,000 from individuals in the course of their prostitution robberies.

After entering his guilty plea, Wielsch was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. Wielsch’s sentencing is scheduled for February 19, 2013, at 10 a.m. before Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong in Oakland.

Wielsch and Butler were indicted by a federal grand jury on August 9, 2011. Butler pleaded guilty on May 4, 2012, to a superseding information charging the same narcotics conspiracy, theft from programs receiving federal funds, two civil rights conspiracies and robbery counts to which Wielsch pleaded guilty, as well as extortion under color of official right and illegal wiretapping. On September 25, 2012, Butler was sentenced to 96 months in prison and a $20,000 fine, receiving a sentencing reduction for his cooperation with law enforcement in this and other investigations.

The maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute marijuana and 50 grams or more of methamphetamine is life in prison with a 10-year mandatory minimum and a $10 million fine. The maximum statutory penalty for theft from programs receiving federal funds and conspiracy against rights is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for Hobbs Act robbery is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Hartley M. K. West is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rania Ghawi and Alycee Lane. The prosecution is the result of a lengthy investigation by the FBI with the assistance of the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.


 
 
 
 
I think most of the activists that have been battling cannabis prohibition are marinoid. People like to say that we may be paranoid but we have a right to be concerned given the facts and our personal experiences. Marijuana makes me more intuitive and aware, not paranoid. Before I became an activist, I thought law enforcement was around to protect and serve in a Blazing Saddles sort of way. For you youngsters that have never seen that movie, check it out. After being harassed by law enfarcement and put through the "judicial" system twice, I have to stand up for myself and say that I'm not PARANOID! I'm Marinoid!!!!