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U.S. Waging Secret War On State-Approved Pot

The General

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Washington D.C. - Fatigued by her lonely protest, Betsey Davies sat in front of the White House contemplating the long flight back to her California home. Her trip to Washington, she conceded, had been pointless. But she never would have forgiven herself had she not, for the sake of her son, made one last plea for a pardon from the president. "There's no way to reach Obama, it appears," she said, sitting on her two protest signs, which serve as meagre insulation from the cold of the concrete bench.

She pulled them out from under her. The first read: "Matt Davies, five years in federal prison for medical marijuana." The second: "Only Obama can help." About 4,000 kilometers away, her son Matt, 35, sat at home in his Stockton, Calif., bungalow with his wife and two young children, resigned to his prison sentence for running medical marijuana dispensaries. He said his mother's trip was doomed from the start. After all, it was U.S. President Barack Obama who got him into this mess in the first place.

"He's a liar," Matt Davies said of the president. Thousands of pot sellers across the 20 states that have legalized medical marijuana doubtless agree. Because U.S. federal law still outlaws marijuana, placing it on the same level as crack cocaine and heroin, state-sanctioned pot outlets have always been exposed to federal action. But since Obama took office in 2008, he has reassured them in speeches and official justice department memos that the U.S. would not pursue them as long as they were state-legal.

Despite his repeated assurances, federal prosecutors, together with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, have been trying to shut them down. While the public has focused on the ongoing rollout of medical and retail marijuana outlets in states such as Colorado and Washington, U.S. prosecutors have been quietly waging their own secret drug war against the budding legalized pot revolution, now a $2.2-billion US industry. Davies, an MBA graduate who initially went into the real estate business, is probably the most striking example of the dangers posed by treading the fine line between conflicting state and federal laws.

A California plebiscite legalized medical marijuana in 1996. Only after Obama promised in 2009 that federal prosecutors would not go after people running dispensaries under state laws did Davies decide to get into the business, which under California laws must be run as non-profits. He said he obtained all the necessary state and city permits and within two years had built one of the biggest operations in California, with close to 100 employees. "We spent close to $1 million on legal fees in the two years we were open," he said. "The vast majority of it went to compliance. I think at one time we had 15 attorneys working for us. I had done everything by the book. I thought I was safe."

By the end of the second year, he had grossed $10 million a year. He poured most of the money back into the business - as required by a non-profit - and kept only $50,000 for himself, according to an independent audit. Still, in October 2011, the feds came calling. Under cover of darkness, a police task force armed with machine guns raided his home. They also raided his dispensaries and warehouses. "It was shock and awe," he said, recalling the moment the police burst into his home as his family slept.

They seized his marijuana, shut down his operations and charged him, his partner and an employee, who just happened to be onsite, with numerous counts of drug trafficking. Davies was but one part of an ongoing global strategy designed to close medical marijuana outlets across the U.S., Henry Wykowski, a former federal prosecutor who now defends medical marijuana dispensaries, said in an interview. First, the IRS tried to tax the medical pot sellers out of business. Arguing that they were criminal organizations and could not claim business deductions, it began reassessing medical pot dispensaries all over the U.S. and charging them millions of dollars in back taxes.

"We are currently involved in over 50 IRS actions in Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Colorado, every state just about that has medical cannabis," Wykowski said. A California court, however, ruled against the IRS reassessments, claiming they violated state law. So the justice department tried a new tactic. Soon after Davies' arrest, it began sending letters to landlords threatening to seize their property unless they evicted their pot-selling tenants.

News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Leaderpost.com
Author: William Marsden
Contact: Contact Us - Regina Leader Post
Website: U.S. waging secret war on state-approved pot


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Did you ..or anyone ...ever hear anything GOOD about the I R S . Taxes have destroyed most governments. The IRS is the worst tax collector. It is not about Cannabis or MEDICAl MARIJUANA it is all about taxes. MONEY.


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I believe they are picking the winners and the customers and DAVIES was not part of their team. If they secretly bust certain people and not others it's because the others were secretly the ones predetermined to win.
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