Assemblymember Tom Ammiano finally got a meeting with the U.S. attorney for Northern California, Melinda Haag, Dec.13 to talk about the feds crackdown on medical marijuana -- and he left disappointed that Haag didn't seem to understand what a mess she's making.
"The meeting didn't result in any changes," Ammiano told me. "But it was good that it happened. We cleared the air about the harm that's being done."
According to Ammiano's aide Quintin Mecke, who was also in the meeting, Haag wasn't at all clear about what she wanted -- what, in other words, would end the crackdown. She talked a lot about "proximity to kids," suggesting that dispensaries that are close to schools were a problem -- although that's a really bogus argument. I've been to a number of local dispensaries and my colleague Steve Jones has been to most of them, and every one requires a drivers license and a medical marijuana ID and they're really serious about security. No high school kids are getting pot from the clubs.
Now: Pot use is up among high school kids nationally (which is another whole issue) but San Francisco Unified School District surveys show that drug use in general, and pot use in particular, is actually declining in this city. So a city that has a lot of pot clubs -- highly regulated -- is bucking the national trend on pot use among teens.
Ammiano wants to set strong state regulations for clubs, which most of the dispensary owners would welcome. But Haag wasn't helpful with that, either -- she said she wouldn't make policy recommendations.
So there you have it -- the U.S. Attorney is using demonstrably false allegations to pursue a program that she can't defend -- and she won't help the Legislature find a solution. Thanks, President Obama.