Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

9 Month Medical Marijuana Moratorium on the Lake City Docket Monday Night

COLUMBIA COUNTY/LAKE CITY, FL – On December 1, 2016, ignoring the will of the people, who three weeks earlier voted to approve Constitutional Amendment 2, the Columbia County 5 passed a never-ending moratorium on the sale of medical marijuana in the unincorporated areas of the County. On Monday night at 6 pm, the City Council is scheduled to vote to approve its own medical marijuana moratorium for the next nine months.

On November 8, 2016, Constitutional Amendment 2, which legalized the sale of medical marijuana to those with debilitating diseases or conditions, was approved by the people with 71.32% of the vote.

Lake City Moratorium

The City Ordinance was prepared by new City Attorney, Fred Koberlein.

A Little History

In the Koberlein version of the moratorium, Mr. Koberlein mentions the 2012 "Cole Memorandum" prepared by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Michael Cole.

Lake City's mainstream media dropped the ball on this important story: not one word in its Sunday edition.

There is no Cole 2012 U.S. Attorney General Opinion on medical marijuana.

In 2009, in a memo that neither City Attorney Koberlein, nor County Attorney Foreman referenced, Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden told the nation's top prosecutors to lay off medical marijuana.

The Ogden Memo necessitated the Cole 2011 Memo to explain the Ogden Memo, which stated that it would be an "inefficient use of limited federal resources to prosecute lawful medical marijuana providers."

The 2011 Cole Memo stated:

The Ogden Memorandum was never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law. Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law. (2013 Cole)

U.S. Attorney Cole was telling prosecutors to nail medical marijuana producers.

The 2013 Cole Memo provided a laundry list of federal priorities to utilize its limited resources:

• Preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors
• Preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels
• Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states
• Preventing state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other illegal drugs or other illegal activity
• Preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana
• Preventing drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use
• Preventing the growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers posed by marijuana production on public lands
• Preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property

The 2013 Cole Memo backed off and returned to thematic non-prosecutorial thrust of the Ogden memo's medical marijuana "inefficient use" component.

As long as states didn't impair the federal priorities and implemented "strong and effective regulatory enforcement systems," the Feds seemed to be looking the other way – maybe.

"If state enforcement efforts are not sufficiently robust to protect against the harms set forth above, the federal government may seek to challenge the regulatory structure itself in addition to continuing to bring individual enforcement actions, including criminal prosecutions, focused on those harms."

What the Feds have in mind could be anybody's guess right now with the changing of the guard in Washington.

The People of Lake City Know What They Had in Mind

City Attorney Koberlein wrote the City Ordinance.

Neither the Foreman County Medical Marijuana Moratorium Ordinance, nor the City's Koberlein version recognized the passage of Amendment 2 on November 18.

Both Attorneys use the same wording, "Future constitutional amendments and legislation may further expand the legal use of cannabis in Florida."

The "Future is Now." The constitutional amendment passed. It was Amendment 2.

It is unknown where Mr. Foreman and Mr. Koberlein copied their wording, but it is clear that the substance of their ordinances referred to the flawed Florida medical marijuana law passed in 2014 and upgraded in July 2016.

Medical marijuana offers sufferers of seizures, cancer, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and many other maladies proven relief.

The people voted to approve the use of medical marijuana by passing a constitutional amendment.

On Monday night at 6 pm, the City Council will decide if Lake City residents can get medical marijuana relief in Lake City, or if they know better than the overwhelming majority of its residents.

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