Ever since the launch of the resurgent campaign against medical cannabis, I and other movement leaders have warned that limited federal law enforcement resources should be devoted to real crime, not medical cannabis.
Today, the City of Oakland suffered a terrible example of what will happen when those warnings are not heeded.
At the same time dozens of federal agents were raiding Oaksterdam University, in a different part of the city seven people lost their lives in another act of gun violence (Oikos Christian University, near the airport).
We will never know whether the manpower and resources used to investigate and raid Oaksterdam U could have prevented this particular incident of gun violence. But there is no question that the federal government could have substantially reduced the number of guns on Oakland streets, if they devoted the same resources to that problem as they have to medical cannabis.
Harborside Health Center made a commitment to our patients when we opened our doors five years ago, to provide them the best cannabis medicine, in the safest possible manner. We have no plans to close, and intend to continue providing safe access to cannabis medicines for our more than 100,000 patients.
The voters of the City of Oakland have repeatedly affirmed their support for the regulated distribution of medical cannabis. In response, elected officials and city staff developed the most successful model of cannabis regulation in the state. This system stands in stark contrast to the failed policies of the federal government.
Oakland’s successful system has provided safe access for patients, created hundreds of well-paying jobs, generated millions of dollars of tax dollars, and reduced the burden on law enforcement. It is a system that has benefited all Oaklanders, not just those who rely on cannabis for medicine.
In contrast, if the US Attorneys are successful in their nationwide campaign, millions of patients will be taken out of safe facilities and returned to street dealers, tens of thousands of well-paying jobs will be destroyed, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue destroyed–and all those assets will be returned to the criminal underground.
It is a policy with all downsides and no upsides; it’s a policy which hurts all Americans, not just those who rely on cannabis for medicine. Medical cannabis patients and their supporters should express their outrage directly to the US Attorneys, who have initiated and are continuing to prosecute this vicious campaign to suffocate safe access.
— Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director of Harborside Health Center