Sunday, October 23, 2011


By Carl F. Worden

Most people are aware that certain states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and among them is Oregon. Back in 2009, President Obama stated that his policy toward these state laws would be to continue to detect and arrest illegal marijuana growers and dealers, but not those who had state-legal medical marijuana permits for personal use.

Oregon's medical marijuana law does not provide for dispensaries, as does California, so medical marijuana patients in Oregon either have to grow their own marijuana, or have someone do it for them who is a registered grower. For example, many patients live in cramped apartments or in mobile home parks where there is no viable way of growing their own, so a number of local, legally-registered growers who had available land allowed those patients to grow their marijuana on that land. Each patient is allowed up to six mature marijuana plants, which may sound like a lot more than they will ever need in one year, but one must remember that growing marijuana is farming, and farming is a very fickle endeavor. I know medical marijuana patients who lost every plant in their plot due to the vagaries of severe weather, gophers, infection from male pollen that ruins the harvest, mold, theft, etc.

Over the past three weeks in Jackson County Oregon where I live, the DEA has, without any prior warning, staged a number of raids on these cooperative farms and has torn out every viable marijuana plant, destroying all the medical marijuana being grown for local patients who are unable to grow their own due to physical condition and/or not having the land to grow marijuana on. These are quite literally the most helpless and vulnerable patients in the entire Oregon medical marijuana program, and knowing human nature as I do, I can tell you those patients will still get marijuana for their ailments, but they will be buying the marijuana from illegal growers at a much higher cost than growing their own.

The local street cost of marijuana in Southern Oregon dropped from $2,500.00 -- $3,000.00 per pound, to about $1,500.00 per pound after the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act was passed, but after these DEA raids, the cost is beginning to spike again. Gee, what a surprise!

The worst aspect of this whole mess is that honest, sincere and law-abiding people who followed the state law and were assured by President Obama that they would not be pursued and prosecuted federally, were lied to. To date, there have been no federal charges filed against the growers or the landowners after the Southern Oregon raids, but it is a fact that federal law allows the feds to confiscate any land or property used for growing marijuana and/or the equipment used to cultivate. Any personal property like homes and cars can be seized if the feds believe they were purchased with ill-gotten gains.

To make matters worse, California medical marijuana dispensaries have been ordered by the DEA to close up or be raided, and the landlords of the properties rented for the dispensaries have been told to evict the dispensaries or face seizure of their property.

The fact that Barack Obama is a bold-faced liar is bad enough, because it led many sincere people to let their guard down, and the people running the cooperative farms didn't try to hide their state-legal growing operations because they believed Obama.

I'll bet they don't make that mistake again!

But there is another aspect to the Southern Oregon saga, and that is what appears to be a treasonous sheriff. Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters didn't like the Oregon Marijuana Act for whatever his personal reasons might be, so he's gone way out of his way to make having an Oregon Medical Marijuana card a liability. For example, this sheriff tried to deny a local woman a concealed gun permit because she answered truthfully on her application that she used marijuana for medical purposes, had the state card, etc. Sheriff Winters' bizarre reasoning is that issuing a concealed gun permit to a citizen who uses marijuana for ANY reason is a violation of the 1968 federal Gun Control Act. But Winters is a very twisted thinker. A concealed gun permit in no way authorizes a citizen to acquire, purchase or possess a gun; it only allows the citizen to carry a gun concealed and that is a state's right that in no way violates any federal law.

The lady took Sheriff Winters to court, where Winters lost in every legal venue, up to and including the Oregon Supreme Court, which rather pointedly noted that Sheriff Winters' job is to enforce state laws and not federal laws. Duh...

Sheriff Mike Winters also has a bit of a screw loose where it comes to fiscal responsibility, so he convinced the Board of County Commissioners to give him yet another $10,000.00 to file an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, and it has yet to be determined if the court will accept the challenge or let the Oregon Supreme Court ruling stand.

What got the immediate attention of the Southern Oregon Militia was an article in the local Medford Mail Tribune that described Sheriff Winters being airborne with an assistant federal prosecutor, looking down on a large cooperative medical marijuana farm located near the Medford Airport. We can think of only one reason Winters was doing a flyover with a federal prosecutor, and that is because Winters cannot raid and arrest state-legal medical marijuana cardholders, so he's gotten the feds to do it for him. That is an unforgivable act in defiance of the people, and I suspect Winters is going to pay dearly for it.

That is an act of treason against many of the people who voted for Winters as Sheriff. How many times have we been told by a cop that they don't make the law; they just enforce it? Well here we have a case where a top-cop didn't like the law, so he chose to override it with federal law -- and even the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that is not Winters' job description. Sheriff Mike Winters has taken a position of enmity against the people of the State of Oregon who crafted and passed the Oregon law by voter initiative, and true-to-form, there is no major public outcry except for one protest held at the Medford Federal Courthouse, which was organized by the local chapter of NORML, the national group dedicated to the legalization of marijuana.

But I think Sheriff Mike Winters may have placed himself in the position of being hanged on his own gallows, because many local medical marijuana patients have been severely harmed, emotionally, medically and financially by his treason, and I believe Mike Winters can be successfully and personally sued in state court for the damages he's caused if it turns out Winters conspired with the feds to engage in these DEA raids. You may find it interesting, for example, that Winters authorized his deputies to perform traffic control while the federal raids were going on -- which means the raids were no surprise to the Sheriff. If Winters were acting on behalf of his state and his people, he would have taken an opposing position to the feds' actions to the extent that, as the highest constitutionally elected local law enforcement official, Sheriff Mike Winters has the authority to bar federal agents from operating in his county without his explicit permission. Most citizens don't know that a county sheriff has that authority, but the fact is, he does!

So we have quite a mess here in Southern Oregon, and all thanks to a lying president and a treasonous sheriff who forgot who he works for.


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