As right-wing fundamenalist “Christian” DEA chief Asa Hutchinson arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday, February 12th, to give a speech at the Commonwealth Club defending his violation of state’s rights, NAFTA and human rights, DEA agents were fanning out across the country, attacking prominent marijuana journalists, activists, and hemp products.
According to early reports coming from California today, armed DEA agents swooped down on the Oakland home and offices of cannabis cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal, who has been writing and publishing books and magazine articles about marijuana for three decades.
Reports also indicated that armed agents also attacked Dennis Peron, the main advocate and author of California’s historic medical marijuana law, Proposition 215, which passed in 1996. Later reports said that Peron was safe and had not been hit, but that agents had invaded a prominent San Francisco medical marijuana cooperative and were trashing it.
These actions defy the wishes of San Francisco district attorney Terence Halinan, who told the DEA in a public speech in November that San Francisco was to be a safe haven for medical marijuana activists and providers, and that the DEA should stay out of San Francisco.
Food stores across the country have been struggling to comply with a DEA directive that forces them to remove all hemp products from their shelves by February 6th, or face criminal prosecution for drug trafficking and sales. Some hemp manufacturers and retailers have reported threatening visits or communications from DEA agents.
The DEA’s new hemp directive, which lacks scientific, legal, and rational basis, states that any product that contains any detectable amount of THC, even if the amount is a millionth of a gram, is considered to be marijuana and is outlawed in the United States.
Canadian companies have filed lawsuits and other protests, charging that the DEA’s new hemp regulations violate NAFTA and are a blatant and illegal attempt to kill the Canadian hemp industry.
The DEA’s California raids against America’s most prominent marijuana grow guru and medpot activists were apparently timed to disrupt planned protests at Hutchinson’s San Francisco appearance. Hutchinson had indicated that he was going to defend the Bush administration’s decision to attack medical marijuana user and clubs last year after the 9-11 terrorist attacks during his speech. These attacks resulted in the closure of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center.
Hutchinson was also expected to announce further quasi-military operations against medical marijuana advocates, providers and users, and an increased war against all marijuana users, advocates and growers. Observers expected Hutchinson to also defend the administration’s recent controverisal drug war television advertisements, which allege that people who smoke marijuana are supporting terrorists.
California NORML and other groups and individuals were planning massive protests during Hutchinson’s appearance.
Cannabis Culture strongly condemns the arrest of Rosenthal and other advocates of our God-given cannabis plant. Rosenthal recently joined Cannabis Culture, providing expert grow advice much appreciated by tens of thousands of readers.
His publishing company, Quick Trading, which produces dozens of books on marijuana, law, current events, and politics, is a valuable source of information.
We believe that arrest of these individuals is a violation of the rights of journalists and activists, and that the US government’s rapid escalation of fascist tactics against its citizens poses a threat to freedom and democracy across the world. It is time for all US citizens to rescue their country from what appears to be a totalitarian regime.
It is anticipated that a legal defense fund will be set up to benefit Rosenthal. Cannabis Culture is monitoring the situation, and will provide updates whenever possible. In the interim, people interested in the situation can obtain timely updates by contacting California NORML director Dale Gieringer at 415-563-5858.