CALIFORNIA POLICE CHIEFS ASKED DEA TO CLOSE MEDICAL MARIJUANA CENTERS IN DISREGARD OF STATE LAW

California NORML Release - Dec 12, 2008

The California Police Chief Association urged the DEA to close medical marijuana distribution centers, seize their profits and prosecute them in federal court, according to a letter to DEA administrator Karen Tandy. The letter, dated Oct 2, 2006, appears in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.

In the letter, CPCA President Steve Krull specifically called on the DEA to "send a message to local and county governments that medical marijuana is not allowed," in disregard of Prop 215, state law SB 420, and local ordinances that authorize licensed dispensaries and patient collectives.

"This smoking gun proves that the CPCA has sought to undermine state law rather than enforce it," says California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, a co-sponsor of Prop. 215, "The police chiefs have blatantly betrayed their public duty under the state constitution and the recent Kha decision." In the Kha decision, a state appellate court ruled that "it is not the job of the local police to enforce the federal drug laws." The decision stands as binding law, having been refused appeal by both the California and US Supreme Court.

The DEA has reported 130 enforcement actions and 365 arrests from 2004 to July, 2008. Targets have included dispensaries that were specifically authorized by local ordinances in Morro Bay, Kern County, Alameda County, Santa Barbara, and elsewhere. Local sheriffs and police have conspired with the DEA to circumvent local officials and raid licensed facilities.

"The CPCA has been acting like a law unto itself," says Gieringer, "Instead of enforcing local law, they are seeking to undermine it."

In the letter to DEA, CPCA President Steve Krell wrote:

"What the California Police Chiefs Association is requesting is that DEA become more actively involved in working with local law enforcement to close these distribution centers, seize their profits and all marijuana which might be located and to take these cases into the federal judicial system.

"We understand this is an issue of priorities with DEA, but it is the feeling of the Califorilia PoIice Chiefs Association, and our members, that a concentrated effort sustained over a period of time would send a strong message to local and county government that 'medical marijuana' is not allowed and that those who profit from the sales and distribution of marijuana under the guise of 'medicine' will face the consequences."

(The front page of the letter, on which this text occurs, is dated Oct 2, 2006; the following signature page is dated September 20, 2006. It's possible that these are from two different letters that were accidentally mixed together. The letter is printed twice (as if two different letters were meant to appear?) in the appendix to the DEA's testimony.

Read the main part of the DEA's testimony.

Read the Reason blog on this topic.