Santa Cruz City Council deputizes pot farmers

Santa Cruz Council votes to deputize medical marijuana growers

It’s about time, I love these guys. Asscroft can take a hike.

Moderator’s Note: BIG_DADDY, please don’t post entire copyrighted articles on the Straight Dope Message Board. You can post a link to the article, along with a brief quotation to give people an idea of what the article was about, and of course your own comments on the issue. I’ve edited your original post above to conform with this.

Good time to buy me one of those Taco Bell franchises down there. :smiley:

So, what’s to debate? It’s medical marijuana, not regular, and it’s not a new issue in Santa Cruz.

They were deputized not so the entire community could suffer munchies in unison and patronize your Taco Bell, but so the Feds would quit arresting them for growing it.

So, what do you wanna debate?

This is the same city council that can’t get a budget together, can’t keep consistant real estate building guidelines, can’t resolve homeless issue on their biggest commercial street, the Mayor trespasses, etc. etc.

…but ooooooooh! They can Deputize pot growers, distribute pot in front of national media, get a unanimous vote condemming war in Iraq, declare S.C. to be a “Nuclear Free” zone and “Hate Free” zone.

Sometimes Santa Cruz council forgets it only represents 50,000 citizens.

Asscroft has come down not only on these guys but also the cannibus clubs in Oakland and SF as well. The debate on most BBs (and here locally)would be whether the Federal government is overstepping their boundries by harrassing the local authorities or whether the local authorities should have the right to defy the Federal government and take care of their own. This would also apply in situations like assisted suicide in Oregon where Asscroft IMO was sticking his nose where it didn’t belong.


The Ashcroft Justice Department - which, by the way, is the proper spelling of the man’s name - absolutely supports the concept that a state may choose to decriminalize whatever it wants under state law. The Attorney General accepts that what is criminal under California’s law is for California to decide.

But possession and use of marijuana, a federal Schedule I controlled substance, is a violation of federal criminal law. The federal law applies regardless of the status of marijuana possession and use under state law, and regardless of whether the marijuana use is medically related or not.

Surely you’re not suggesting that Mr. Ashcroft substitute his opinion for the wisdom of Congress, and ignore the law of the land, are you?

  • Rick


With all that is going on in this country I would think that Mr. Asscroft would have bigger fish to fry on their already massivly over the top budget. I realize how the system works BTW. I am also aware that in 1979 we only had 200k people in prison in this country and now we have over 2M. Most of this is due to the ridiculous crime perpetrated on the American public. Americas War On Drugs.


Taking partiers and turning them into criminals is no answer.

Well, if he isn’t- I will. There are shelves of Federal statutes on the books, and they choose to investigate & enforce a small fraction. The choice may be due to wise use of resources (which is a good reason for failure to enforce a Law with diligence), or because of Political reasons (The BATF gets it’s marching orders to enforce various techincal aspects of Federal gun laws depending on who is in office, for example. During the Bush/Ashcroft administration- this is not “an enforcement priority”)

The same staff of federal Agents & the money for this bust could have just as easily be used to check stuff coming in over the border, for instance. Or any of hundreds of areas where more scarce enforcement resources are needed. Like…maybe… TERRORISM?

But Ashcroft & Bush seemed to want to “teach them Liberal Californians a lesson on who’s boss”- and the fact that CA voted for the “other guy” (and very likely will in the next election, also) might have been in the back of their mind, too.:eek:

It’s like when the local Police start raiding “massage parlours”- that’s OK- if & when they have eliminated all other more serious crime.

In other words, DrDeth, you would prefer that Mr. Ashcroft yield to your judgement of how to prioritize the resources of his department.

The problem with that approach is that the President did not appoint you as Attorney General, and the Senate did not confirm you to that post. Moreover, the enforcement of drug laws is not a new phenomenon with this administration. You could certainly make the argument that guns are being treated differently - although I would point out that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms falls under the Secretary of the Treasury, and not the Attorney General.

BIG_DADDY’s argument is similar. The OP suggests that Mr. Ashcroft has acted improperly or even illegally, and when asked to clarify the argument, offered:

Having been answered on that point, BIG_DADDY now attempts to shift ground. Without conceding the original point, he now offers an opinion that the war on drugs is ill-advised. That is, of course, a perfectly debatable position, but it’s hardly the original one offered, and it’s been discussed many times here before.

  • Rick

Pish and tosh, Bricker, one need not suggest substituting one’s own judgement, merely that Mr. Ashcroft use some judgement. No claim is being made as to the urgency of these assertions of Federal clout, there is no pot emergency that needs be addressed. There are, as you no doubt know, are any number of concerns that are, if not emergencies, are far more significant than an outbreak of giggles in Santa Cruz. The simple fact that Mr. Ashcroft’s actions are entirely legal does not render those actions prudent and judicious, quite the contrary.

I suspect this is more another snipe hunt in the ongoing culture war, a grandstanding ploy to be seen as not being Soft on Hippies. Thirty years later, they still can’t forgive us for being right.

Are you a terrorist? Only a terrorist, with drug money support, could possibly promote something like laughter.

The War on Whatever continues!


Mr. Ashcroft is using some judgement. Although I don’t speak for him, he obviously feels there’s some urgency to the situation. You obviously disagree, but that doesn’t make him wrong.

The idea that people would openly engage in sales of federally prohibited Schedule I material leads to a reasonable assumption that they were motivated, at least in part, by a desire to send a message that because their actions were legal under state law, the feds had no choice but to acquiese. Law enforcement actions are often predicated on what message the enforcement, or lack of it, will send. Open lack of concern with federal laws isn’t a good thing.

I think whether you view this action as wise will depend in great measure on whether you view the underlying federal law against marijuana as wise.

I believe prudent and reasonable people may disagree on this point.

  • Rick

I don’t really care about this one way or the other, but I don’t see why having the Drug Enforcment Agency going out and, um, enforcing drug laws is a waste of resources by Ashcroft. If he were spending all of his personal time on whatever it is that y’all consider a higher priority, would the DEA be sitting around on its thumbs doing nothing? This doesn’t sound like a major policy shift to me, and I don’t get the “Ashcroft is wasting his time pursuing these people who are breaking federal law rather than going after those people who are breaking federal law” bit since I haven’t heard that this is some major new initiative by the Justice Department. But maybe I just didn’t hear about that, and someone can enlighten me…

When Santa Cruz figures out what to do about the hundreds of homeless teenagers on Pacific Avenue, that’s when we should start looking to their city council as an example.

Until then, I have a hard time doing anything but rolling my eyes at anything they do. I’m a proponent of medical marijuana, but I wish the SC City Council wouldn’t take up the cause - they have such a bizarre track record that it just makes me cringe. I liked it when they condemned the Chinese takeover of Tibet. Beijing is sooooo scared now!

P.S. Mr. Miskatonic, Santa Cruz didn’t outlaw hate. The proposition didn’t make it onto the 1998 ballot because of a technicality.

Oakes College, UC Santa Cruz, Class of 2000

This seems to have done a lot of good, too.

Actually they sound like a fun group. Gee, the city council here just putters around with the boring stuff like taxes, and what to do about the big hole in the middle of downtown, and who put bubble bath in the Central Park fountain last summer…

Geez, I said I was sorry! Get off my back, already!


His name is Ashcroft. Just like it isn’t Klinton, Dubya, Shrub, Algore, or Billery Clinton. Regardless of your political beliefs using those stupid names doesn’t bode well for your arguement.

Yes, the federal government does have the legal right to enforce federal laws. Of course the state government can throw up their hands and say “If you want it enforced then you do it.” I will point out to you that the last administration also leaned on the medical pot growers as well. Remember Reno or do you know her under some other funny name?


When a point is foolishly presented, it loses credibility - BIG_DADDY made an offhand comment about the assissted suicide business in Oregon, and it went nowhere. But I think there’s a much stronger point to be made about unwarrented federal interference in that matter, since suicide is not a federal offense.

There, of course, the issue is still nominally federal - Mr. Ashcroft threatens the federal narcotics dispensing license of any physician using narcotics to further suicide. But I think there’s a line to be drawn here - in California, the core issue is use of marijuana, albeit for medical purposes; the very thing that violates federal law. In Oregon, the issue is suicide, and the dispensing of narcotics only a wedge to insert federal authority into what, arguably, should be a state issue.

I am against assisted suicide. I believe it’s absolutely wrong.

Yet I also recognize that it’s for the people of Oregon, not the federal government, to decide what the laws of Oregon should be. If they chose to permit what amounts to physician-assisted murder, that’s up to them, and the federal government should not attempt to derail them.

  • Rick

Ah yes Kyla, but they managed to pass the “Hate-free” zone thing right after 9/11.