Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Did the DEA overstep their bounds?

Santa Barbara Housing Bubble Blog had a creative and interesting post last week about marijuana dispensaries -- something we have had a few comments on over the last few months here at BlogaBarbara. Taking a script out of Leave It to Beaver, Saint Barbara told the story of a small cottage on Victoria Street that was recently sold. The untold story in the real estate sections of the newspaper was that it was a dispensary of gange, mota, Mary Jane...(add your favorite Weeds vocabulary here).

A side story included in the post was the following:
Just last month (March 2008), DEA agents hand-delivered another round of threatening notices to the remaining 10 or so local dispensaries. During the weekend of March 15, DEA agents, in cooperation with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, purportedly raided and shut down Pacific Greens on North Milpas Street (located within Santa Barbara’s city limits). A few days later, on March 18, the Santa Barbara City Council finally approved a new city ordinance governing the operation of medical marijuana dispensaries (or "clubs") within city limits. For details, see this 3/20/08 Independent article....

The City's efforts were designed to create more security and certainty as to where the dispensaries are located and to create a more transparent process. Good for them as medical marijuana was an issue approved and voted on by an overwhelming number of Californians...although, as has been pointed out in other articles, it doesn't mean we need more of them than the many Starbucks we have in town or near schools and the like.

The DEA showing who da' man begs the question, however, as to whether their actions undermined the efforts of council. Apparently, the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department made a foray into city limits to assist the Feds. Does this require at least tacit approval from the SBPD? Is the relative quiet from council on this rather clear violation of city government jurisdiction not worth fighting because of the subject matter? Sure -- Feds trump the City any day of the week, but this is murky legal water for which they must have had approval to tread.

No matter where any of us come down on the addictive qualities of marijuana -- one has to want to protect someone's right to obtain it (if they desire) when they are suffering from cancer, glaucoma and the like. It is state law -- whether the DEA and the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department disagree with the result of a statewide election or not. That being said -- yes, let's bust dispensaries that are selling to anyone that shouldn't receive medical marijuana under state and local law. I am all for it...but did they have to choose that time to do it and what kind of precedent does it set?

If you want to put them on your real estate watch list or save them on Google Maps -- NORML has a list of Santa Barbara/Goleta dispensaries on their web site. Hopefully, DEA raids prior to public policies being set will not become a common occurrence -- it could be construed as intimidating.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Vigilante said...

Sara, sorry, but this is O/T: Did you catch the LA Times story on Congresswoman Capps? (California Section-sorry I didn't find a link.)

4/28/2008 8:48 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I didn't -- will try to look it up.

4/28/2008 6:39 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

"The Impact of the Vietnam War on Religion and Culture in America"

4/28/2008 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, as a local law man I can tell you, the Feds will often come to town without notice. As for the Sheriff's Department tredding in city waters, no real jurisdictional issues there...The City is within the County you know.

Now for the real meat and potato's on "medicinal marijuana"...This is about the most over-abused, under-regulated scam in the state. About half of the teen and twenty somethings I come accross in my work have a "medical marijuana" recommendation or prescription. These are not cancer stricken, glaucoma suffering individuals! These are healthy viral young boys and girls who claim they suffer from "back pain" or "asthma", claiming that the medicinal qualities of marijuana are the best treatments. The best part is, they are typically sharing there medicine with their friends. You can't say we aren't raising thoughtful youth!

Let's not forget the millions these caregivers are making every year getting our children stoned.

4/29/2008 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a voter who voted for medicinal marijuana, the answer is not to close down the shops but to regulate them. Get the police involved with it. Provide a medicinal marijuana ID that is needed to buy marijuana, make that tough to get.

Or we can just ignore the will of the voters. Police get their income from taxpayers like me to enforce our laws and propositions and continue their amazing work they do every day.

5/10/2008 11:29 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home