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The state vs. the feds

Posted by: | October 13, 2011 | No Comment |

Media outlets in California have an important decision to make.

“Federal prosecutors are preparing to target newspapers, radio stations and other media outlets that advertise medical marijuana dispensaries in California, another escalation in the Obama administration’s newly invigorated war against the state’s pot industry.”

Wait… pot is legal?

In 16 states and the District of Columbia, it is.

Since 1996, after residents voted in favor of Proposition 215, Californians with various physical, mental and emotional ailments are able to gain a prescription for marijuana, which is dispensed at any of nearly one hundred legal dispensaries throughout the state.

But now, residents who have an invested interest in the operation of media outlets that sell advertising space to these dispensaries must make a decision: Whether or not to support not only their state’s right to choose how to govern itself, but their right as public information dispensaries to operate free of government control.

Federal law prohibits people from placing ads for illegal drugs, including marijuana, in ‘any newspaper, magazine, handbill or other publication.’ The law could conceivably extend to online ads; the U.S. Department of Justice recently extracted a $500 million settlement from Google for selling illegal ads linking to online Canadian pharmacies.”

William G. Panzer, an attorney who specializes in marijuana defense cases, said publishers may have a reason to worry. Federal law singles out anyone who “places” an illegal ad in a newspaper or publication.”

However, Panzer states, “Technically, if I’m running the newspaper and somebody gives me money and says, ‘Here’s the ad,’ I’m the one who is physically putting the ad in my newspaper. I think [this case] could be brought against the actual newspaper.”

Which means that numerous media companies and their executives that benefit from the dollars of these medicinal facilities are now at a crossroads.

Because Profit and Patriotism are now intertwined. Or perhaps even Patriotism and survival.

Stay tuned…

under: Comm 455
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