By O’S News Service August 21 Some people hyphenate it, some don’t, but everyone knows what a set-up is: “a scheme or trick intended to incriminate or deceive someone… a trap.” A set-up is what the DEA perpetrated yesterday when Oakland’s Harborside Health Center got word that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was directing armored-car companies not to haul cash for cannabis dispensaries. The federal government had previously stopped banks and credit card companies from serving dispensaries, forcing them to rely on payment in cash. In cutting them off from armored-car service, what other aim could DEA have in mind than to set dispensaries up for robbery attempts, shoot-outs, and other tragic events? We heard about the DEA’s latest attempt to undermine regulated cannabis distribution from Harborside’s publicist, Gaynelle Rogers:
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency has informed security and armored car services that they can no longer render services to state-legal cannabis providers, including the country’s largest model cannabis dispensary, Harborside Health Center in Oakland and San Jose, California. This desperate and reckless attempt to stem the tide of change poses grave risks to medical cannabis patients and the general public alike. According to the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), dispensaries in Colorado have also been targeted. However, they have decided not to release their individual identities, due to security concerns. Other California dispensaries have also been affected.
Steve DeAngelo, executive director of Harborside Health Center, said, “The federal government appears willing to do anything that will turn this inherently safe plant into something dangerous, no matter the impact on public health or safety. In 2011 they closed our bank accounts, which forced us to handle and store cash on-site. Now they have denied us any secure way to transport that cash to those whom we owe money—like the City of Oakland, and the California Board of Equalization.
We asked DeAngelo if it was a set up. He replied:
“Clearly a set up. I wouldn’t be surprised if they activated their informants in street gangs to do the actual hits. That’s one reason I’m hollering so loud about it. When the inevitable tragedy happens, I want it to be clear whose hands have the blood on them.”
It’s been barely a week since Attorney General Eric Holder —who is nominally in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration— called for rethinking mandatory minimums with respect to drug cases. Is DEA asserting its power? From here it seems like a faction fight within the Department of Justice is playing out. I wish the reform honchos in Washington, DC would give us some useful intelligence. Why didn’t Holder replace Michele Leonhart as head of DEA? Is it possible that the agency has more power than the department as a whole? Is DEA now as powerful as the FBI was under J. Edgar Hoover? What is the source of its power?
Harborside was informed WHEN AND HOW by its armored-car company, Dunbar, that service would terminate as of WHEN. DeAngelo told O’Shaughnessy’s, “We don’t know how the feds informed them. Dunbar will not provide details on how they were informed or exactly what was said. Corporate office promised us a letter of explanation by eod today but nothing yet, and I don’t expect them to come thru.” MORE TK