(August 29, 2013 – SEATTLE, WA) At a press conference earlier today in Olympia, our state’s Governor Inslee and Attorney General Ferguson, affectionately known to us as, “Jay and Silent Bob”, announced a new memo issued by the Federal Government.
The memo included new guidelines for Federal Attorneys to use when prosecuting cannabis crimes in states that have made laws for its medical or recreational use.
Our state officials, the press and the greeheads in the cannabis industry are taking this as a green light to move forward with their implementation of I-502 rules and regulations.
View the press conference here:
However, the Cannabis Action Coalition and other responsible press and watchdog groups are warning medical patients and those who would apply for licensing under the recreational model AND their spouses AND their financiers.
The criminal laws are still on the books, you are still subject to arrest and prosecution by state officials for following state laws. Your license and business papers will be used as direct evidence of a federal crime.
As always, it comes down to reading the fine print:
“As with the Department’s previous statements on this subject, this memorandum is intended solely as a guide to the exercise of investigative and prosecutorial discretion. This memorandum does not alter in any way the Department’s authority to enforce federal law, including federal laws related to marijuana, regardless of state law. Neither the guidance herein nor any state or local law provides a legal defense to a violation of federal law, including any civil or criminal violation of the CSA. Even in jurisdictions with strong and effective regulatory systems, evidence that particular conduct threatens federal priorities will subject that person to entity to federal enforcement action, based on the circumstances. This memorandum is not intended to, does not, and may not be relied upon to create any rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by any party in any matter civil or criminal. It applies prospectively to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion in future cases and does not provide defendants or subjects of enforcement action with a basis for reconsideration of any pending civil action or criminal prosecution. Finally, nothing herein precludes investigation or prosecution, even in the absence of any one of the factors listed above, in particular circumstances where investigation and prosecution otherwise serves an important federal interest.”
For those with short attention spans, we in the medical cannabis community have been down this road before. On October 19, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Please read the letter here on the Justice Department’s own website:
This obvious conflict is created and maintained by Federal Grant Contracts with the Washington State Patrol, Attorney General’s office and just about every city and county police force and prosecutors office.
How do you HIDTA Grant?
The State of Washington is obligated to enforce a federal drug control policy using state and local law enforcement. The state and local law enforcement agencies have signed High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA ) Grants which obligate state and local law enforcement to seize medical marijuana for the DEA. These HIDTA grants will no doubt be used to seize I-502 marijuana if they remain in effect.
So far, despite being notified of the conflicts these HIDTA grants create with the medical marijuana law and now I-502, the Washington State legislature and the Washington State Liquor Control Board has failed to ask for the dissolution of the HIDTA Grants.Until these grants are terminated I-502 participants should be advised that Washington State and local law enforcement are bound by HIDTA Grant policies and those participants could be subject to arrest, seizure and forfeiture by state and local law enforcement who are then immune from breaking state laws under the Westfall Act.
The public needs to understand that there never was going to be federal intervention on I-502 and that today’s announcement by Attorney General Holder does not ensure that I-502 participants will be safe. I-502 participants will only be safe once the banking situation is definitively decided and once state and local law enforcement gives 30 day notice to terminate all HIDTA grants in Washington State.
So to all the hopeful recreational producers, processors, retailers, their spouses and financiers, we as medical patients would like to welcome you to our nightmare, all thanks to Jay and Silent Bob’s silence on what we are calling, “The HIDTA Scandal”.
Please see the 1997 documents obtained through a FOIA request. It shows HIDTA grants were set up to combat state medical cannabis legalization efforts. It rewards police departments and courts, which were created off the backs of busting the most vulnerable people in our society, the medical patients and their providers. And HIDTA is just one of many police grants now available.