Admitted recreational marijuana smoker Barack Obama is still letting the Justice Department harass established San Francisco medical pot dispensaries out of business, with the 15-year-old Hemp Center in the Richmond District the latest to be threatened by the feds.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag warned of "property seizures and prison sentences" if the Hemp Center didn't close its doors. Medical marijuana is legal in California and has been since voters approved Proposition 215 way back in 1996. Why won't the federal government leave marijuana users alone in states that have legalized its use, like Obama promised after Colorado and Washington state approved getting high for purely recreational reasons in the same liberal landslide election that gave him a second term?
SF Weekly says 11 Bay Area pot dispensaries have been shut down by Justice Department threats just since 2011. The Hemp Center is one of the few remaining where people can smoke right there where they pick up their dope. This is a huge thing because no-smoking ordinances apply to almost every building in the Bay Area, and landlords have targeted tenants just for having the occasional joint inside, where at least the cops aren't watching and waiting to harass everybody for their Proposition 215 ID card.
If this pot shop closes, there won't be another legal place for people to purchase marijuana on the whole west side of town—the Hemp Center is the last dispensary in Richmond and the Sunset District. When you're dying of cancer or AIDS or blinded by glaucoma or crippled by diabetes, having a place on your side of town to get relief is a legitimate concern.