The pot calling the kettle something or other
I have been reading in the local newspapers about the federal crackdown on California’s medical marijuana growing and distribution industry for their failure to even comply with the State’s own laws on the subject. This has prompted a frenzy by the less reflective and knowledgable left that this is just another example that Obama is just a Conservative in Liberal’s clothing.
In fact, the Obama administration’s announced policy has always basically been to not enforce federal marijuana laws where the operation is in compliance with local state law. The federal claim in these most recent actions is that the owners and operators of these marijuana growing and distribution operations being raided clearly and knowingly violated state law and regulations.
Forgetting for a minute, whether the President’s daily national and global concerns even allowed him to be more than peripherally aware of one of his agency’s enforcement of federal law in a state or the reality that the DEA is riddled with extreme right-wing holdovers on the phony war on drugs, all is not as it seems.
Several years ago as my legal career wound down and my self-confidence plummeted and I inevitably (and mostly happily) slid into poverty, I involved my self with a number of clients (few of whom paid their bills) interested in entering into the burgeoning medical marijuana business. At that time, the few attorneys who claimed to specialize in the area generally advised their clients on the technicalities of the State process and the vagaries of local and Federal enforcement. They, and I as well, developed form books to assist the would be entrepreneur through the rather complicated process.
What most of us cautioned our clients about was the clear intention of the law as written to limit the industry to non-profits operating for medical purposes as well as the strict limits on the permitted size of the operation.
Of course as to be expected of entrepreneurs generally, the fledgling marijuana millionaire was usually only interested in getting around those limitations and developing ever larger, more efficient and profitable growing and distribution companies, thereby reaping some of the huge profits now going outside our borders or to the so-called criminal element, shotgun in hand, guarding their wilderness pot plantations. Some of us attempted to strongly advise them to stifle this ambition since, in terms of Federal enforcement, size matters. Alas, to no avail. They ignored the advice, ignored California’s laws and went big and bold. Thus the Federal crackdown.
Recognizing this addiction by private entrepreneurs to indulge themselves, despite its obvious questionable legality and unacceptable risk, in the ego-centric dreams of becoming wealthy plantation owners as well as the creators of the marijuana version of Sam’s Club, I developed an alternative business approach, based upon the compound growth power of fees and financial manipulation.
Instead of going into the marijuana growing and distribution business, I advised my clients, and developed the forms and procedures, to enter the medical marijuana financing and equipment supply business. Briefly, it required the prospective grower-distributor, in return for obtaining the financing from the client’s Company, to enter into a contract, much like that used in contemporary franchise operations, requiring them to strictly comply with all laws and regulations and to purchase all supplies as well as consulting services from the Company or risk losing their operation. The entrepreneur (my prospective client) would then provide the grower-distributor the financing and a turn-key operation including consulting services and contract labor.
Although there were still risks involved, the Federal Government could still allege this was a sham to avoid the requirements of state law, the ubiquity and the higher burden of proof for the government in criminal cases, gave the would be marijuana millionaire a fighting chance to avoid jail.