Marijuana Crackdown Staged to Distract From “Fast and Furious” Scandal, Author Says

Turns out the federal Justice Department’s almost-yearlong crackdown on state-legal medical cannabis has nothing to do with hard-line drug warriors, forfeiture numbers, President Barack Obama’s reelection effort — or even marijuana itself.

Shutting dispensaries in California, Colorado, Montana, and Washington is all an attempt at political misdirection, with a state-legal industry as the unfortunate collateral damage, according to journalist Martin A. Lee.

Attorney General Eric Holder directed his prosecutors to dismantle legal weed so that he could distract Republican congressmen and Justice Department officials from his mishandling of the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking scandal, Lee, the author of an upcoming social history of marijuana, said in an article published this weekend on Truthout.

It’s not the wildest attempt at finding meaning behind the crackdown, an effort for which the Justice Department seems to have limited enthusiasm and even less political support. Though it does conveniently ignore a few key points — including the fact that prosecutors cracked down on marijuana months before anyone had heard of “gun-walking.”

Lee’s offering, which was widely circulated and read within the marijuana movement over the weekend, contains no “smoking gun”: no unearthed documents, no new testimony or other sources, not even an unnamed administration official (which was the basis upon which a July GQ article promising a rollback of the Drug War in Obama’s second term rested).

Lee relies instead on correlation: It was on Oct. 7, 2011, that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and a Holder scourge, received a letter from the attorney general in which Holder defended his handling of “Fast and Furious.” That was the same day Holder played the “ace up his sleeve,” according to Lee — the day which the four U.S. prosecutors in California announced the statewide crackdown on dispensaries at a Sacramento press conference.

– Read the entire article at San Francisco Weekly.