by David Downs
San Diego's U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy sure has some strong opinions about medical weed.
At the beginning of the crackdown she dared to threaten newspapers and magazines for running medical cannabis stories and ads. Facing blowback for the threat, Duffy retracted her attack on the First Amendment, but has gone on to threaten local city officials in Del Mar with jail time for administering lawful medical cannabis regulations.
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union told Duffy to can it. Registered voters in Del Mar will have a choice to regulate clubs at the ballot box this November, and Duffy's threats against Del Mar officials amount to "unjustified interference in local legislative matters," wrote David Loy, legal director for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, in an open letter.
That hasn't stopped Duffy and other U.S. Attorneys from tacitly threatening state and city employees across the country with jail. Such threats have been used to buttress the efforts of local foes of medical marijuana, sometimes resulting in delays of entire state programs to get medical pot to seriously ill individuals wasting away from HIV, cancer, and other conditions that cannabis has been proven to soothe.
"This is just the latest in a series of misleading and inappropriate federal threats to state and local government officials across California and elsewhere,” said Allen Hopper, director of the ACLU of California’s Criminal Justice and Drug Policy Project. “Local and state officials seeking to responsibly regulate medical marijuana are not violating federal law and should never have to fear prosecution.”
U.S. Attorney Duffy's priorities have never seemed more misplaced, especially after the recent death of a San Diego State University fraternity president from an overdose of prescription Xanax and OxyContin. Prescription opioids like Vicodin hook and kill tens of thousands of Americans per year now — more than heroin, cocaine and meth combined.
Last week, activists hoaxed Duffy's office with a fake press release stating that Duffy would be shutting down and seizing local pharmacies to fight the public health emergency of opioid overdoses. Of course, Duffy had to quickly issue her own press release saying that lethal, legal painkiller distributors are not a target, but the medical marijuana activists responsible for the hoax will face charges.
Welcome to U.S. Attorney Duffy's San Diego — the Alabama of California.