Time to put on the popcorn and pull up a seat. This looks like it's going to be quite the show.
On Monday, President Barack Obama will be in the Bay Area for a series of high-end fundraisers. He's trying to catch up to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the money race.
On one of his stops, Obama will be appearing at the Fox Theater in Oakland. The Fox, located in Oakland's Uptown district, happens to be in the heart of cannabis central and a stone's throw away from Oaksterdam University.
Protesters incensed over the federal government's crackdown on California's medical marijuana industry will be waiting for Obama to roll out the unwelcome mat. It's hard to know how many will actually turn up, but if the frenzy that has been building in recent days on social media networks is any indication, there could be thousands.
Marijuana activists say that the president has betrayed them. That during his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said that if elected, he would not prosecute people who were using and dispensing cannabis in compliance with California's medical marijuana laws. Yet the Obama Administration has instead launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries far more aggressive even than that under former President George W. Bush. Cannabis dispensaries have been forced out of business in Berkeley, San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.
Yet Oakland, the international mecca for marijuana advocates, has been a prime target for federal prosecutors.
In April, dozens of federal agents raided Oaksterdam University which bills itself as "America's first and premier cannabis college," training people for jobs in the legal medical marijuana industry. The feds seized plants, files and computers, effectively forcing Richard Lee, one of the movement's preeminent crusaders, to bow out of his downtown medical pot business. Earlier this month, they came after Harborside Health Centers in Oakland and San Jose, which operate the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the country. Armed with civil forfeiture papers to seize the properties where the dispensaries do business.
Harborside and other marijuana advocates have called on their troops to converge on downtown Oakland Monday.
Steve DeAngelo, who started Harborside, released a "call to action" video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ckO2v4yjck
"Join me and thousands of others in Washington, Oregon, Colorado and California as we stand together to stoop these attacks," DeAngelo said.
"Come to Oakland on July 23 and let President Obama know it's time to keep his promise and respect the state medical cannabis laws."
In a democracy, people are entitled to protest whatever issue they want. But with all of the pressing issues in our country, I find it disheartening that the right to smoke weed is what people will get themselves so worked up about.
I can see people who are out of work protesting at Obama headquarters in Oakland as they did earlier this month. Those who called for a national jobs creation program. Or people demanding an end to the war in Afghanistan which over 11 years has cost thousands of lives and more than $443 billion.
But I fail to see how pot ranks as a top priority.
Amendment 64 would legalize marijuana in Colorado.
I read that the amendment--similar to California's failed Proposition 19--could actually play a major role in the presidential campaign battle for the swing state because Obama's tough stance on marijuana could alienate young voters. You've got to be kidding.
I wish people would take the time to educate themselves and learn what this election is really all about.
Remember when Occupy first got started and raised people's consciousness about corporate greed and the vast inequality in our society? The 1 percent against the rest of us? Before it got hijacked -- in Oakland at least -- by an anarchist fringe?
Mitt Romney is the quintessential symbol of the super rich.
Folks would actually stay home and not vote in this critical election because they're mad at Obama about pot?
The Republicans must be laughing all the way to the bank.