The National Conference of State Legislatures, a nongovernment organization composed of state lawmakers and their staffs, called on the federal government to back off and amend the Controlled Substances Act to authorize state cannabis and hemp laws.
Although the resolution the group adopted Thursday acknowledges that lawmakers in different states will have differing views on how to treat the botanical drug and it non-psychoactive cousin, the NCSL said “states and localities should be able to set whatever marijuana and hemp policies work best to improve the public safety, health, and economic development of their communities.”
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag
Despite prosecuting state Sen. Leland Yee on corruption charges and taking on corporate powers such as Fed-Ex and PG&E, Melinda Haag’s five years as the Bay Area’s top federal prosecutor will be remembered for shuttering more than 600 state-compliant medical cannabis dispensaries by threatening to seize their leased properties from landlords.
Cannabis lawyers say Haag’s resignation last week is no cause for celebration.
Justice Department officials misinformed members of Congress about the effects of a medical cannabis amendment being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an internal memo obtained by Marijuana.com.
“The string of setbacks, cuts and handcuffs for the DEA potentially signals a new era for the once untouchable law enforcement agency — a sign that the national reconsideration of drug policy might engulf and fundamentally alter DEA’s mission.”
It’s all happened since April, after DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart politically imploded:
- Budget cut by $23 million
- Cannabis eradication unit budget slashed in half
- Bulk data collections program shut down
Meanwhile, Leonhart’s replacement said heroin is probably is more dangerous than cannabis, going where his embattled predecessor, who resigned in May, had refused to go.
That’s the founder of the world’s largest cannabis dispensary, Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, tweeting about yesterday’s announcement that U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag is resigning as the Bay Area’s top federal law enforcement official effective Sept. 1.
Haag’s five-year tenure included the prosecution of state Sen. Leland Yee on corruption charges; cases against corporate powers such as Fed-Ex and PG&E; and shuttering more than 600 state-compliant medical cannabis dispensaries by threatening to seize their leased properties from landlords.
A 2010 appointee of President Obama, Haag decided to leave before the next presidential election, joining a growing number of the nation’s 93 U.S. attorneys who have taken similar steps over the past year.
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced federal legislation allowing people to expunge nonviolent cannabis crimes from their criminal records.
The Clean Slate for Marijuana Offenses Act of 2015 would clear criminal records of those who were federally charged with marijuana activity that was state-legal at the time and those who were federally charged with possession of less than an ounce of the botanical drug.
Blumenauer’s bill is based on legislation recently passed in Oregon, where recreational cannabis has been legal since July 1.
“The penalties of failed prohibition policies should stop ruining people’s lives,” Blumenauer said. “People who were caught up in the federal criminal justice system for a marijuana offense that was legal under state law at the time should not carry around a drug record.”
Some cannabis activists are skeptical of how many people it would actually help.
Wendy Del Rosa. Sacramento Bee photo.
“The tribe is acting as a beard for private operators who are attempting to use the medical marijuana law of this state and tribal sovereignty for massive personal profit.”
That’s Wendy Del Rosa ratting out her brother and associates in a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento dated May 27.
As family squabbles go, the battle for control of the Alturas Indian Rancheria in remote Northern California is a doozy — involving cannabis, gambling, usury loans, a Sacramento law firm and a Canadian cigarette kingpin convicted of smuggling Mexican cannabis in 1988.
The following story, by “Weed Land” author Peter Hecht in the Sacramento Bee, ends with Wendy Del Rosa being described as “screaming from Day One.”