Feds force pot clubs to deal in cash, then ban use of armored cars


In the US Drug Enforcement Administration's latest attempt to smoke out medical marijuana dispensaries in the United States, the federal government agency made the decision to ban the use of armored cars by marijuana providers. Compounding that problem, over the last year banking companies, under pressure from the feds, have been refusing to do business with dispensaries, forcing them conduct all-cash transactions.

Dispensaries and their employees all around the Bay Area are being needlessly endangered by this decision. Businesses such as Oakland's Harborside Health Center — which brings in about $30 million a year, according to co-founder and executive director Steve DeAngelo — stand to take a big hit.

“This decision puts my staff and I at risk,” DeAngelo told us. “People have been known to stake out the property, and having unarmored transport without a secured professional to the US Treasury makes the job even more dangerous.”

DeAngelo declined to comment on how his dispensary will transport money without armored cars. Others, such as Diane Goldstein, a retired lieutenant commander of the Redondo Beach police department and member of the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, finds the decision to be downright unethical.

“It’s unethical in the sense that the DEA made the decision without considering the collateral damage that could be caused,” Goldstein said. “It endangers the people that have to transport large sums of money unprotected, law enforcement, and the community at large.”

But there is a glimmer of hope: the Department of Justice issued a memo last week that was a step forward in support of the federal government respecting states like Washington and Colorado where even recreational use of marijuana has been made legal by state ballot initiatives. The DOJ memo outlines enforcement policies such as not selling to minors or having revenue from dispensaries go to gangs or drug cartels.

“There is hope with the new memorandum released,” Dan Goldman, community liaison for the Green Cross in San Francisco said. “Though it does not directly apply to states where marijuana has not been legalized, it is a step forward.”

DeAngelo and others decried the memo as vague, but ultimately counted it as progress that may support a “large increase in momentum” in the plight for further legitimacy in the medical marijuana business.

But this clearly isn’t the first or last time DeAngelo and many other dispensaries have had the legality of their business questioned. Harborside has been locked in court battles since U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag made the move for a forfeiture proceeding for the businesses’ Oakland and San Jose properties last July. Last month federal magistrate Judge Maria Elena James granted a temporary halt to the forfeiture proceedings.

Is DeAngelo worried? “We’re in a holding pattern for the next two to two-and-a-half years,” DeAngelo said. “I’m positive that our business will continue to thrive just as it always does.”

In the meantime,  US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has invited Attorney General Eric Holder to testify at a Sept. 10 hearing regarding whether the feds should be respecting state marijuana laws. 






feel about the fed interfering with Arizona's laws around illegal immigration?

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 06, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

They support Federal rights when it imposes civil rights, abortion rights or gay marriage rights onto the States. But they love States and local rights when it comes to gun control or medical pot.

A more cynical soul might infer hypocrisy. Or just confusion,

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 6:14 am

The only dilemma is the difficulty in people like yourself who can't understand the basic concept of right and wrong and the role of the federal constitution which, in part, guarantees individual rights to citizens to preclude the tyranny of the majority including state governments abuse of their own citizens.

Let me give you a little simple lesson in humanity so we are clear:

Abusing gay people, women and minorities just because you have the power in society: BAD BAD BAD.

Permitting states to decide on their own about legalization of recreational drugs after decades of wasted resources and destroyed lives (mostly minority), and creating the wealth of ages for drug-runners due to political intransigence: GOOD GOOD GOOD.

Hope this helped.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 6:54 am

correct, but of course notions like good and bad are highly subjective, and that is why we have governments, laws, courts and constitutions - so that when there is conflict and disagreement over what is right and wrong, a neutral process is available to make a determination.

Sometimes the left supports the results of those decisions, e.g. the recent one on gay marriage, while at other times they hate it, e.g. Citizens United. So you call the first decision "right" and the second decision "wrong" for no reason other than your own personal skewed slanted subjective viewpoint.

You may love the 14th Amendment and hate the 2nd, but they are both equally valid regardless.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 07, 2013 @ 7:39 am

from a pro lifer who votes for anti abortion state laws that get struck down is?

Here's where you can limit your comical status, never mention the constitution, Make everything about your feelings and self appointed sense of right and wrong, picking and choosing you way through the constitution and howling about it is ridiculous.

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to read?

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Arguing in the 'comment' section is like running in the Special Olympics.

Even if you win, you're still retarded.

Posted by the 'real' Guest on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 5:35 am

Even when it amusingly and accurately applies to your own behavior here.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 09, 2013 @ 8:00 am

troll barrier

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into petty, mean spirited, irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

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Posted by Matlock on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

Can the government ban the use of a private service by another private entity? Which laws allow this discrimination? Hopefully the Ammiano's bill will make it through this year and the Fed can find the time to investigate the criminals on Wall Street before the statute of limitations runs out.

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