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Feds On Medical Pot: Hazy At Best


bobandtorey
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Next in line for the dustbin of history: federal marijuana law, as applied to the case of Stockton's Matthew Davies. 

On Friday, a federal judge sentenced Davies, "a working man, a married father of two young children, with no criminal record" to five years in prison, a plea agreement. 

His crime: growing and selling medical marijuana in Stockton and Sacramento. 

"My entire family has already been scarred by this," Davies wrote prosecutors.  "It will be the ultimate struggle to keep our family together." 

Of course, all defendants sing the victim song.  Nobody forced Davies into the legally treacherous chasm between state and federal marijuana law. 

But, prosecutors say, Davies ran seven pot dispensaries, some illegal even under state law, and two grow warehouses, one immense and sophisticated, all to make a killing, not to dispense medical cannabis to sufferers as envisioned by state law. 

( Davies opened an eighth dispensary in Manteca.  City officials closed it down within days.  ) 

"Davies entered the marijuana business to make money, not to treat seriously ill patients," U.S.  Attorney Benjamin B.  Wagner wrote to Davies' attorney. 

Toward that end, Davies disguised for-profit dispensaries as non-profits; sometimes concealed his participation; and laundered money, Wagner said. 

His operation was so big and sketchy that the sentencing judge balked at the lenient plea deal, Wagner said. 

Lenient? Davies also forfeits $100,000.  On top of that, he said he spent $250,000 on legal fees. 

That's a travesty, said his attorney, Elliot R.  Peters. 

So Davies made money, asked Peters.  Is that criminal? 

"They've always said the problem with what Matt did, he approached it like a business," Peters said.  "Like it would have been better if he'd been selling it out of the back of a Volkswagen bus with a 9mm under his seat." 

In fact, Davies ran the sort of shop Uncle Sam should appreciate, Peters said.  One that beats cartels. 

Back to square one.  Davies broke federal law by growing and selling pot.  But who got hurt and how? Where is the harm to society? 

An Aug.  29 memo from Deputy Attorney General James M.  Cole outlines the sort of dispensary violations worthy of federal prosecution.  They are: 

Selling marijuana to minors; funding criminal enterprises, gangs or cartels; moving pot to states that outlaw it; providing cover for illegal drug sales or other crime; using violence or firearms in grow operations; conducing to "drugged driving;" or growing marijuana on public lands. 

Davies' operation did none of the above, said Peters. 

"I think the criminality is just a bureaucratic mentality of 'Here's a statute, he violated the statute, it carries a mandatory minimum, we'll enforce the law without thinking very hard about it,' " Peters said. 

Furthermore, the Cole memo says if states legalize marijuana, and impose tight regulations, the feds should save their resources and leave enforcement to the states. 

Some believe the feds went rogue in Davies' case. 

Wagner responded that Davies' case was largely a done deal by the time that memo came out. 

Second, while California legalized medical pot, its enforcement is anything but tight.  It is a "free-for-all." Uncle Sam must patrol for chaos, Wagner said. 

"Without an effective state regulatory system, there's no way of insuring that marijuana businesses will not engage in conduct that does implicate federal law enforcement," Wagner said. 

Isn't that "guilty until proven innocent?" 

"He violated the Controlled Substances Act, which is my job to enforce," Wagner said. 

Uncle Sam didn't go looking for Davies, Wagner added.  The pot operation came to light when Stockton police responded to a burglary at the grow warehouse.  Davies fell in Uncle Sam's lap. 

The Davies case is a painful example of the crazy disconnect between state and federal marijuana laws.  Congress ought to hear the will of the people and change federal law. 

Until it does, leaders such as state Attorney General Kamala Harris ought to stand up for the people of California and laws protecting medical marijuana.  Those laws are the future. 

"I don't disagree that these are changing times," Wagner said.  "We're trying to balance federal priorities and the changing facts on the ground.  That is not easy in cases like this." 

Understood.  Yet the fact remains that Davies must spend at least 41/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to 10 counts of dubious federal laws against growing, possession and distribution of a substance less harmful than margarine.

 

 

http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n597/a04.html

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I wish you wouldn't be so down on pharm companies. Do you know how many new drugs they have come up with to save lives? When was young,people got Polio. Then came the polio vaccine.People that suffered Cortozone,was like a miracle drug for inflammation. Where do you think all the opiates that most of take came from? Pfizer put me in a program when I was on Embrel. A very expensive biologic. I paid 10 $ a month. For 4 injections a month,the pharmacy price is 2500.00. All you have to do is CALL ANY of the pharm companies,they WILL help you be able to afford your RX! But you have to call them. I don't think that is a real hard thing since it seems like most of you have the time to call. Stop complaining, stop blaming,and get off your butts and help yourselves! Maybe it's easier to just sit back and complain about something you can actually DO for yourself. They don't ask how much money you make,like the Govt does. Next time you take an aspirin for a headache,or if you are on chemo, remember NO RX is safe. They all have side effects. It's a matter of balancing that risk to see if a certain drug will help.you or not. You have to help yourself,nobody else will do it for you. How ironic that you critisize pharma,when we all know MJ is over priced as heck. But,that's okay,right?  What makes it okay for you but not for a drug company? Have any of  you ever even researched how long it takes to get some new drugs out to the public?  Do you think the employees work for free and the buildings and everything else for them is FREE? Blame that on the FDA,not the drug companies. Grow a spine and stick up for yourselves,the Feds won't help,the State won't help,it's up to YOU to do it for yourself.

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seriously?

 

wow.

 

I have darn near died 3 times now due pharmaceuticals,

taken as prescribed.

One time, I near died from damned Asprin, yep, in HS.

My mom did die of asprin poisoning. geesh.

I do not touch asprin.

 

The last time big pharma cured anything was Polio, btw.

Other than that they make HUGE profits putting a 'bandaid' on

our suffering while causing other afflictions, pain and suffering...

ADDICTION.

 

You talk of how much time and resources, hoops and what nots

these companies have to go through to get a new drug approved.

You defend them charging $2,500 for 1 script but if I call them...

wow again

Then you have the audacity to complain about the price of medical

cannabis grown by others just like us and it is too dam expensive?

REALLY?

wow

 

You confuse me.

I wish what ever makes you so angry finds some resolution

 

and you find peace

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I do see how most people do feel about pharmaceuticals but some do work i did feel like most do here until i had to use a Rx at first i felt like i wouldn't ever then i started using a Rx for my sickness and it didn't work as i was told so i stopped 

 

and then i had the sickness come back i starred again using it and with out it i would not be able to do a lot of things i can do today so that being said not all are bad but most are

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Do you know how many new drugs they have come up with to save lives? 

 

Agreed. However their aim is not to cure disease but rather to "manage" them so people will be dependent on their drugs for life.

 

Pfizer put me in a program when I was on Embrel. A very expensive biologic. I paid 10 $ a month. For 4 injections a month,the pharmacy price is 2500.00. All you have to do is CALL ANY of the pharm companies,they WILL help you be able to afford your RX!

 

Sure, but why is it they sell the exact same medicine overseas at a cheaper price? Of course when they give you the reduced rate they accomplish the duel purpose of keeping you on their drugs and getting a tax write off to do it. (and probably still selling it for more than they do overseas)

 

They don't ask how much money you make,like the Govt does. Next time you take an aspirin for a headache,or if you are on chemo, remember NO RX is safe. They all have side effects

 

They don't care how much money you make as long as they get a cut of it.

 

Drugs don't have "side effects" they only have effects. When one of those effects is deemed dangerous it is called a side effect as if it was inconsequential.

 

Perhaps none are safe but the farther away you get from nature the more dangerous they are. The pharmaceutical companies sell things that they know are dangerous, with the complicentcy of the Federal government.

 

How ironic that you critisize pharma,when we all know MJ is over priced as heck. But,that's okay,right?  What makes it okay for you but not for a drug company?

 

Then don't buy it, grow your own. That's one of the advantages of natural medicine.You will be able to have complete control over quality and if you grow it outside it will be practically free. I don't personally sell any to anyone but if I did I wouldn't charge more than I needed to recoup my expenses.

 

Have any of  you ever even researched how long it takes to get some new drugs out to the public?

 

Have you ever researched why it takes so long? Many times it is because they are waiting for their patents to expire on the drugs that the new ones will be replacing. That way they will be able to charge top dollar for them as long as they can.

 

When their patents do expire they often combine two similar drugs, rename them and voila, a drug that can be marketed as "new" again.

 

I have nothing against pharmaceuticals per se. Earlier this year I was in the hospital for three months, comatose for part of that time. Pharmaceuticals undoubtedly played a major part in saving my life.

 

However, once I was on the mend there was no need for me to stay on the sleeping pills, anti-depressants and six different narcotics that they kept pumping into me. When I got home and was able to use cannabis again I no longer needed the others and have improved rapidly.

 

Sometimes you need their drugs but many times you really don't, it's just marketing.

Edited by Wild Bill
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It is against the law, and morally unacceptable to allow advertising of prescription drugs on television in many countries, like Canada. Big pharma need not recoup the massive costs of direct evil advertising there.

 

Thank you wildBill for your well versed rx take. I find it refreshing when others are up on the game. 

"desired effects" and "undesired effects" , from chemistry class.

 

the trick is figuring out where exactly does the "desired effect" fit in the list of "side effects". are they in some order like ingredients lists?

 

is  the desired effect required to be at one end or the other before consideration? Could it be that death coma cancer lethargy allergy skin disorder muscle bone degradation are correctly listed before reduce cholesterol is named?  

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It is against the law, and morally unacceptable to allow advertising of prescription drugs on television in many countries, like Canada. Big pharma need not recoup the massive costs of direct evil advertising there.

 

Thank you wildBill for your well versed rx take. I find it refreshing when others are up on the game. 

"desired effects" and "undesired effects" , from chemistry class.

 

the trick is figuring out where exactly does the "desired effect" fit in the list of "side effects". are they in some order like ingredients lists?

 

is  the desired effect required to be at one end or the other before consideration? Could it be that death coma cancer lethargy allergy skin disorder muscle bone degradation are correctly listed before reduce cholesterol is named?  

My personal favorite side effect, for laugh factor, is anal bleeding. Made even funnier by the fact that is was for a toenail fungus medication. How yellow do your toenails have to be before anal bleeding is an acceptable side effect?

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