DEA Scare Tactics Signal Fresh Fight over Medical Marijuana

February 17, 2010 – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided a Denver-area Medical Marijuana grower on Saturday, signaling a new tactic in the watered-down War on Pot.

MEDICINAL MARIJUANAIn 2009, Barack Obama upheld a campaign promise to favor state-based laws supporting medical marijuana growth and distribution saying, “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.”

The DEA tested the political resolve of Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder, performing raids on state-legal medical marijuana growers in California immediately following the change in federal policy. Until now, each raid has targeted growers who violate “both federal and state laws”, per Holder’s March 2009 clarification of the Obama Administration’s policy.

But Saturday’s raid targeted a grower who violated no state law. Denver DEA Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Sweetin says grower Chris Bartkowicz’ operation was raided because its proximity to a school posed a public safety concern. Medical Marijuana Attorney Rob Corry filed a complaint against the DEA on Bartkowicz’ behalf the same day.

Unlike previous raids in California, this DEA operation resulted in immediate federal charges: growing marijuana with intent to distribute. Sweetin says that Bartkowicz’ arrest does not signal a shift in DEA policy towards state-legal marijuana growers & distributors. However, the raid was clearly intended to send a message to marijuana growers that the Drug Enforcement Administration is still a hawk on the prowl, ready and waiting to enforce federal law at the slightest shift in political policy. Source.

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