Weed Wars, the new four-part series on the Discovery Channel,
Here it is folks, marijuana being bought and sold shown on national TV just like it was “PawnStars.” It’s so outrageously blatant that it’s like a gauntlet thrown directly at the federal attorneys. That’s why this show presents a Hobson’s choice to the feds, who have been trying to restrict California dispensaries. The feds can ignore or prosecute. Both are losing positions. If they ignore Harborside it will stoke the fire of entrepreneurship the same way that NBC’s “Marijuana Inc.” did a year ago.
Many recently unemployed will follow the lead and make a decision to join the marijuana industry, regardless of whether their state has medical exemptions to the laws. There are already dispensaries in non-medical states such as New York and Wisconsin. This will fuel the trend, making federal control more problematic.
The other choice, to indict and prosecute, is also perilous. In my federal trial eight years ago, we were very close to a juror rebellion. Actually it occurred, but after the verdict was delivered. This time the government is not likely to be so lucky. The defense team will be honed by years of trial, the public is better informed and jurors will take marijuana’s medical qualities and Harborside’s upright position with the state into account. The feds are more than likely to lose and if they do, the fed’s breath will no longer intimidate the dispensaries. New ones will spring up.
If Harborside should lose, the situation is even worse. One thousand customers a day will be looking for medicine. Will they be forced to go back to street or home dealers who provide virtually no choice of medicines? Is this what city and state governments want in their community?
Harborside is run by Steve DeAngelo, who has an independent background and sophisticated political analysis developed by close association with the Yippies! People associated with the movement tend to be very self-sufficient, insightful, and determined, even when they are faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. As a result, in most encounters with the law, they usually gain the upper hand.
I suppose most people would say they wouldn’t like to be in Steve’s position. I wouldn’t relish being in Attorney General Holder’s. He doesn’t realize the ideological zeal of medical marijuana adherents, their frustration with the Democratic Party and with the Obama Administration in particular. So that surge of internet donations he received in 2008 won’t be floating in from potheads this time. Their votes will be reluctant rather than enthusiastic. And now there’s a trend that can be stated as “I pledge not to vote for any candidate that wants to put me in jail, even for a short time.” The rock is about to meet the hard place.