“Imagine a world without murder. 6 years ago, the homicidal rates had reached epidemic proportions. It seemed that only a miracle could stop the bloodshed, but instead of 1 miracle, we were given 3, the precognitives. Within 3 months of the precrime program, the homicidal rates in the District of Columbia had reduced 90 percent.”
Minority Report, 2002, starring Tom Cruise
In the Phillip K. Dick short story and 2002 sci-fi movie Minority Report, there exist “precognitives” who have the extra-sensory power to predict murders before they happen. Tom Cruise stars as John Anderton, the chief of the Precrime Unit, the law enforcement division tasked with arresting the soon-to-be-murderers before they commit their crime.
It seems we have our own real-life precognitive law enforcement in US Attorney Melinda J. Haag. She’s able to predict violations of California’s medical marijuana law before they happen!
Haag filed a notice of civil asset forfeiture against Harborside Health Center, the Oakland dispensary billed as the world’s largest, and whose owner, Steve DeAngelo, recently starred in a short-run reality show Weed Wars. Civil asset forfeiture is already a form of precrime in that it assumes property is guilty of being ill-gotten gains from criminal activity until proven innocent, and the owner of the property need not even be charged with the crime that allegedly earned him his property.
Harborside is already fending off the IRS over charges that it cannot deduct the standard costs of doing business because of “280 E”, a tax code that was written with the cocaine kingpins of the 1980’s in mind, not state-sanctioned purveyors of herbal medicine. In explaining this new front in the federal political battle to trample Californian state rights, Haag revealed her precognitive abilities.
I now find the need to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as Harborside. The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need.
Precognitive US Attorney Melinda Haag in civil asset forfeiture proceedings against Harborside
I am excited about this new precedent, actually. I await the US Department of Justice activities against superbanks such as Bank of America, superenergy such as British Petroleum, and supermarkets such as Wal-Mart. Those operations are so large there must be a likelihood approaching 100% that they have abused financial, environmental, and trade laws, and put corrupt power in the hands of CEOs who do not have a demonstrated shred of ethics.
Snark aside, Haag’s hypothesis is completely wrong. The large operations like Harborside and Berkeley Patients Group are the ones least likely to be violating California law and putting marijuana in the hands of those without medical recommendations. They are the ones with the security cameras and standard operating procedures and strict inspection of medicine and reputable American suppliers. They are the ones that are openly working with their state and local authorities and obviously face the greatest federal scrutiny. By definition, the ones more likely to be putting marijuana in the hands of those without medical need are the thousands of marijuana dealers who don’t bother to open dispensaries and check recommendations.
Marijuana dispensaries are full of cash and they’re full of marijuana and everybody knows that. And many of them are very public about their operations…. Any given dispensary may not have been robbed to date, but they could very well be robbed in the near future and there very well could be violence associated with that.
That a dispensary could be robbed was Haag’s excuse for closing the Berkeley Patients Group, since it was too close to a school, the children could be endangered. Once again, her precognitive abilities allow her to shut down dispensaries even if there has never been a demonstrated danger to the community, because in the future, they very well could be. If only we’d have had Melinda Haag on the pre-crime beat before the 1997 North Hollywood bank robbery shoot-out; she could have shut down that Bank of America branch before the two body-armored robbers endangered 300 police officers by firing 1,100 rounds on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Come to think of it, shouldn’t all banks be shut down, since they are full of cash, very public about their operations, and could be violently robbed in the future?
Haag has repeatedly said she is targeting medical marijuana operations that are within 1,000 feet of schools, because she has limited resources and must think first of the children. Yet for all her precognitive abilities, she cannot predict what her own office will do if medical marijuana operations seek locations farther from the children.
I cannot promise that we will not bring actions against dispensaries that are not close to schools and parks and playgrounds but for some other reason we felt that it was appropriate to expand our look. So I don’t want to send the message to people that if you are more than 1000 feet from a school you will not be targeted. I don’t want to send the message that you will never be criminally prosecuted. I don’t know that.
So to recap: if you’re a big dispensary, Melinda Haag can predict California’s medical marijuana law will be broken and she will shut you down. If you’re a dispensary near a school, Melinda Haag can predict you will be violently robbed and she will shut you down. But if you’re any other sort dispensary, Melinda Haag can’t predict you won’t be shut down.
Final thought: Is Melinda Haag the only United States federal official who has the jurisdiction and standing to interpret and evaluate state laws? Because I kinda thought that’s what State Attorney Generals and State Supreme Courts do.