I’m a little late in commenting on this, but I’m going to risk being called naive and say that I believe this is 100% true:
U.S. attorneys have a message for California’s medical marijuana advocates: Don’t blame Barack Obama. After it was announced that the crackdown on medical pot establishments in the Golden State was a collective decision by the four U.S. attorneys in California and not the result of any directive from Washington, spokeswoman Lauren Horwood emphasized that the administration never even green-lighted the ramped-up enforcement actions.
The only D.C.-based official with whom California U.S. attorneys coordinated, Horwood said, was Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who was chosen by Attorney General Eric Holder, an Obama appointee.
“He’s the one who provided the quote for our press release, and he’s chosen by Eric Holder,” Horwood told HuffPost in an interview. “But we didn’t have direct talks with Eric Holder — not that we wouldn’t, he’s been out and visited — but just the way the Department of Justice works, he’s not that hands-on on these kinds of details.”
After the crackdown was announced, fingers were immediately pointed at Obama. The Young Turks saw this as Obama doing the bidding of the pharmaceutical industry. I’ve heard others theorize that this is happening to prevent medical marijuana profits from funding legalization initiatives in 2012. But if this article is accurate, the reality seems to be far more mundane than that (and I suggested that possibility about a month ago).
Much of the overreaching federal drug law enforcement we see comes from the simple fact that law enforcement bureaucracies across the nation are still filled with people who’ve become ideologically wedded to the failed mentality of prohibition. They continue to see the use of marijuana (whether it’s recreational or medicinal) as a phenomenon driven by those who sell it, rather than by those who buy it. As long as they live in that up-is-down-black-is-white world – and the government still gives them the power to act on their insanity – they’re going to do things as spectacularly stupid as what they’re about to do in California.
This isn’t to say that Obama is off the hook. He’s still the President, and it’s very clear that his U.S. Attorneys are getting ready to make him into a gigantic liar over his promise not to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. Even if he wasn’t the originator of this boondoggle, he has the power to stop it. And a lot of folks on the west coast are going to remember how he handles this when next November rolls around.