Incrimination Without Representation: The Silence of the Senate on Medical Marijuana

As Democrats gather for the National Convention to banter back and forth about the issues most important to Americans, one platform that is conspicuously absent is the Federal crackdown on medical marijuana.

Legal in 17 states, plus Washington, D.C. and on the ballot in three additional states this November (Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Arkansas), conflicts between statements made by the Obama Administration and the actions of U.S. Attorneys in the “wild west” have sent the program into a tailspin.

Even though medical marijuana has overwhelming support in the U.S. — around 80 percent — there has been noticeable silence on this issue among those who represent the patients who are suffering. More than one-third of the Senate represents the medical marijuana patients and businesses under attack, yet not one has come to their defense. And, what’s worse, some may have even helped facilitate this crackdown via their support of the U.S. Attorneys responsible.

When Melinda Haag was appointed as the U.S. Attorney for Northern California in 2010, Barbara Boxer was thrilled. Having recommended Haag for the position, Boxer said, “I am so pleased the President has nominated veteran attorney Melinda Haag… She is well respected in the California legal community and will bring more than two decades of experience handling white collar crime cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Two years later, Haag’s interest in white-collar crime is tinged green. Almost immediately after coming into power, and suspiciously soon after Eric Holder was implicated in the Fast and Furious scandal, Haag and the other U.S. Attorneys in California began a systematic dismantling of the state’s medical marijuana program, which was voted into existence by Californians in 1996.

The program has had its hiccups, most notably the absence of state-level regulation, which has over-burdened local governments and led to some abuses. But from 1996 to 2010, several localities had developed comprehensive programs that were successful at providing for patients, controlling medical marijuana and generating revenue for the local community.

– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.