Friday, February 25, 2011

Medical Pot Bust A New DEA Strategy

The DEA, now unable to raid legal cannabis clubs, has turned to targeting the activists who supply them. Cures Not Wars, founded by Dana Beal, has been involved in supplying cannabis clubs in New York and across the East coast for as long as they have existed. Two of his associates, Chris Ryan and Jay Statzer have pled no contest to felony charges for aiding legal cannabis clubs. Dana had been busted for medical pot before in '91 en route to patients in Boston. He is currently up on similar charges.

The drug war line is that medical cannabis will be diverted into the illegal market. The reality is the opposite says Statzer, "The DEA didn't take that 180 pounds off the street, I did! This is a friendly fire incident in the war on drugs." This operation was purchasing in the Southwest at distributor cost so the patients on the East coast could buy their medicine below wholesale cost. Considering the quantity restrictions poisoning many medical cannabis laws, this service is often an illegal one. One needing activists, not dealers. For example, the Michigan law provides for caregivers to enter the illegal market to divert pot into the hands of their legal patients.

However, a limit of two and a half ounces forces the caregiver to pay inflated retail prices. You need to buy at least a pound to get a wholesale price break. Like the (passed by Republicans to bankrupt Medicare) poison pill of Medicare Part D, there is no ability to negotiate the drug prices in the law and that hurts the patients. This is a need that should go away once everybody's plants are matured and cured but there can be that need for many months for every new patient. When Jay was arrested, it was by two K-9 officers who were assured by their guidance to lie their way into the stop and search. Then, the DEA was right there for the booking. The DEA wrote a lie into the report that Jay had refused to do a controlled delivery. "I would have been happy to lead the DEA right to the door of the compassion club knowing they couldn't raid.

They knew too and that's why no such offer was made. I only refused their one attempt to get a statement before they flew back to DC. They deliberately jacketed me as a dealer to hide their motive." Unfortunately for Statzer he will not be allowed to bring the DEA agents, the director of the club he was delivering to, or any other evidence to prove his intention before an Ohio jury and is forced by 18 years of mandatory minimum time to take a plea.

The core questions remain to be tested. Can legal medical cannabis be transported from one legal state to another? Will the DEA continue to target activists as if they were drug dealers for taking pot off the streets? If a patient can't afford the medicine is there really a right to the medicine? How can any law be legal if it contains racist hate speech like "marihuana" in its text?

Jay Statzer

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