They say the best journalism produces outrage, not awareness. Medical cannabis and marijuana legalization advocates are sometimes easily annoyed, but last week's Bay Citizen report of an uptick in undercover marijuana buy-busts in the Haight Ashbury neighborhood had them apoplectic. 

There's a reason why drug war opponents in San Francisco get angry when SFPD goes about busting low-level marijuana offenders: It's supposed to be against the law. 
In San Francisco, voters and legislators alike have ruled that a $20 nickel sack is supposed to be police officers' "lowest priority," and certainly not enough to warrant an investigation from a veteran cop with nearly 40 years experience (some of it spent busting the same people who made medical marijuana legal) working undercover, that results in felony charges. 

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!!!

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!!!!