The Feds Get a Bit Snarky on Medical Marijuana

It’s probably not news to anyone that the federal government doesn’t much care for marijuana. It’s a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law (see 21 U.S.C. § 812(c)(I)(c)(10)), which, according to 21 U.S.C. § 812(b)(1), means that:

(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

A fair number of doctors would most likely disagree with (B) and (C) there, and I don’t know much about (A)’s truth (as compared to its truthiness).

Federal courts have repeatedly held, however, that Congress has the authority to designate marijuana as a Schedule I drug, whether Congress has any clue what it’s talking about or not (see Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics v. DEA, 15 F.3d 1131 (D.C. Cir. 1994); Gonzalez v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005)). Back in April, a federal judge declined to rule that marijuana’s Schedule I classification was unconstitutional in a 38-page order (PDF file) (see the court’s blog, or this page at The Daily Chronic, for more info on that case).

As more and more states pass laws allowing the use of marijuana for medical reasons, or for whatever the hell reason you want, it gets a bit more complicated for the federal government to enforce its laws and regulations. That must be frustrating, but they don’t have to get all snarky about it. Observe: Continue reading


No Coup for You

Did you know that it is a federal offense in the United States to attempt a coup d’etat in a foreign country?

Two U.S. citizens faced federal judges on Monday for their role in last week’s attempt to overthrow the government in the Gambia. One of the two men planned to become the country’s new leader.

According to the criminal complaint filed on Sunday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, the two men — Cherno Njie, 57, and Papa Faal, 46 — separately left the United States last month to travel to the Gambia. Once there, they allegedly joined with another 8 to 12 co-conspirators as part of an attempt to launch a coup against Gambia President Yayah Jammeh. Both Njie and Faal hold dual U.S. and Gambian citizenship.

Not only that, but it has been illegal for a very long time.

Both men are charged with violating the Neutrality Act, a 1794 law that makes it illegal for an American to prepare an attack on a country the U.S. is at peace with, as well as arming themselves in order to violate that law. The last time the law was invoked was in 2007, when 10 men were accused of attempting to overthrow the government of Laos. The charges in the Laos case were later dropped.

For those who don’t know, The Gambia is a small, sort-of-squirmy-shaped country in west Africa, which basically consists of the two banks of the Gambia River. Aside from a bit of Atlantic coastline, the country is completely surrounded1 by Senegal, which is also named after a river. Continue reading