Nobody Is Responsible For Anything

Here’s the news story.

The first thing I noticed was the headline: State Police snatch Islander’s medical marijuana plants

Good stuff, right? I’m completely ready to get into a good five minutes’ hate. Then I read the second paragraph:

Massachusetts National Guard personnel, operating under a grant from the DEA, and in conjunction with mainland State Police, confiscated 392 plants that were sighted from above. Four of those plants belonged to Edgartown resident Paul Jackson, an 81-year-old former cancer patient who grows the plant for medicinal tea.

And… well… that headline is a little bit misleading. The cops grabbed 392 plants. 4 of which belonged to this guy. And the headline is all about the plants stolen from this guy. One might be curious about the other 388 plants… but, nope. It’s all about the guy who was responsible for 1.02% of the plants.

I feel the steam leaving my five minutes’ hate already.

But then I continue to read the article and find that the interesting part isn’t the “human interest” part that talks about the poor guy’s 1% of the plants. It was about who, in fact, was responsible for going in and ripping them out of the ground in the first place. Check out these paragraphs (emphasis added):

State Police Sergeant Joe Pimentel, commander of the Island’s State Police barracks, told The Times it was a DEA grant-funded operation, similar to searches that took place several years ago before funding expired. Sergeant Pimentel said each day of the operation one of his officers was assigned to the aerial team’s ground crew to provide local knowledge but was not involved in the actual operation.

Although Colonel Sahady did not identify who gave the order for the mission, he said it would have come from State Police.“We would never give out the initial order. We always work in a defense support to civil authorities,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time.”

DEA spokesman Tim Desmond wrote in an email on Tuesday, “I have received confirmation from two group supervisors and the assistant special agent in charge whose area of responsibility is that region for DEA. I can only speak on behalf of DEA that we were not involved in any kind of marijuana eradication operation.”

On Tuesday, two Massachusetts State Police spokesmen checked into the matter and said there was no evidence of State Police involvement. “It was not us,” Officer Tom Ryan told The Times.

It wasn’t until *THURSDAY* that they finally figured it out:

In a follow up email received on Thursday, State Police spokesman David Procopio said the operation was initiated by the State Police.

So, as it turns out, the interdiction *DID* have a father.

I’m just interested in how, instead of bragging about what they were able to accomplish… everybody spent days and days denying it.

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9 thoughts on “Nobody Is Responsible For Anything

  1. This is an extremely interesting take on the story. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. Question: If Obama orders the Fed to stand down on marijuana, late this year, can the next President just put them back on it in January? Or would this be something they defer to their predecessor on? Genuinely curious because I really believe he has some cool Executive Orders planned for late in his Presidency.


      • I don’t think this is so much about executive orders, but agency heads, and priority assessments.
        Generally, an agency will have several designated priorities; e.g., our top ten (or six) priorities for the next year (or six months), and they tend to focus rather intently on those things, and typically at the exclusion of other concerns. This is so whoever is heading up the initiative can gain bragging rights about what a bang-up job they did, while taking care of holding down the fort gets you about as much bragging rights as using common sense.
        These lists of priorities are a farted out every once in awhile by the agency heads, or whoever they designate the farting work to.

        So, the question is (are):
        How soon can a new agency head get in to cool his heels behind a federal desk, and how soon can he get someone to fart out one of these lists?

        A lot of different factors go into those calculations.


        • Sure. The President, or a DEA Administrator, could make enforcement of various marijuana-related laws a low priority. What the President can’t do is, for example, exempt by EO banks that provide services to a state-licensed marijuana retailer from the money-laundering statutes that apply for Schedule I drugs. No sane bank is going to take that risk. Maybe this President and Justice Department aren’t interested in prosecuting; the next one might be, and the statute of limitations is long.


  2. Because they messed with the old guy who’s just growing some plants for his glaucoma, or pain, or cancer relief, etc. The police are starting to learn that they pay a price when, in their zealousness, they step on people who were actually following the law (or, conversely, who weren’t doing anything to warrant a violent raid, even if they were breaking the law).


  3. Many times different parts of large organizations; government, business, religious, educational, recreational don’t communicate with each other. This creates jumbled actions at times. This isn’t to deny that it could be a direct order covered up when they realize how bad they look but we do have a lot Rube Goldberg organizational designs in many sorts of large or even small organizations that facilitate a lack of communication.


  4. In related news:

    Despite the growing tide of popular opinion as well as the President’s promise to let science determine the issue instead of ideology, the DEA is still working to justify their own existence.

    It should be noted at this point that 26 states (If you count DC as a state) have legalized it to some degree and 13 are considering some form of legalization. (Sidenote: California, Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts are voting on full legalization with Arizona possibly joining them if the final hurdles in AZ’s petition process can be cleared.)

    It should be noted that, when this many states had signed on for gay marriage, it was considered an inevitability. The only difference this time is that the opposition comes from a government department that is a relic of the Drug War instead of private “Marriage Protection” organizations that were also relics. Hopefully, weed will have their own Obergefell v. Hodges soon so we can put this behind us.


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