Tag Archives: #medicalmarijuana

Police Corruption & Marijuana

Santa Ana Corruption

In 2015, corruption, abuse and violence among US law enforcement agencies became an issue of discourse at the American dinner table, as deep reservations have spread across the public in regards to their relationship with those “sworn to protect”. Many deadly police shootings occurred with the deaths of several minors, young men and women alike totaling nearly 1,000 deaths (according to the Washington Post) and 10% of those killed were unarmed and not in the process of committing a crime but merely ran from police out of the fear of being murdered. While police shootings and violence have taken a front run in the media, medical marijuana growers and patients are no strangers to such encounters with law enforcement. The medical marijuana industry has endured the edge of the spear of police corruption for several years if not decades counting the passage of medical marijuana laws in the late 90’s and 2000’s. Despite a voter mandate and the implementation of a regulatory structure, again and again, marijuana patients and growers have found themselves subjected to the deadliest side of law enforcement abuse, with such tactics as murder, racketeering, theft, fraud, entrapment, wrongful imprisonment, illegal search and seizure, unlawful surveillance, bribery, extortion and other forms of severe abuse of power.

Why has corruption become so endemic in recent times among our police forces? The first key is the Patriot Act. The Bush Administration literally swept away anti-corruption incentives in favor of ‘anti-terror’ and ‘domestic terror’ incentives, allowing the police in many cases to sidestep the fourth amendment. Many jurisdictions and counties throughout the country took the liberty of interpreting the new rules as they saw fit, conducting their own authorizations of domestic surveillance and using the atmosphere of fear to justify expansion of budgets and more importantly, armaments.



The second key was the change in recruiting policies that took place during the Bush Administration, it began with the federal government reducing the standards for military admittance, allowing ex-felons, known hate groups and known members of gangs and organized crime to serve in the ranks during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In many cases these criminals were promoted to higher rank for their willingness to perform acts of violence against civilians that other more tempered soldiers were not. Police departments petitioned the government to lower their recruiting standards as well to permit the entry of these ex-felon soldiers, many coming back with mental duress from combat, into the police forces upon their return home using veteran employment and Iraqi policing experience as a justification. These new officers were far more prone to violence, brutality, corruption and hate than their prior counterparts and many were promoted due to their views on race and domestic policing.

Joe Biden speaking at the National Association of Police Associations

Joe Biden speaking at the National Association of Police Associations

The third key was the continual recruitment of these personalities into law enforcement well after 2008, mainly due to the success of the Fraternal Order of Police in planting their top lobbyist, Senator Joe Biden, into the position of the Vice Presidency. The police union nationwide saw this a carte blanche opportunity to no longer ‘to protect and to serve’ but simply to rule by fear, violence and corruption. This was supported by the fact that Congress obstructed the placement of federal judges by President Obama, and many of the corrupt Bush appointees were able to continue to make rulings that protected the expansion of police misuse of power, including the acquittal of many murderers serving on the force. The ongoing corruption has led to penetration by foreign organized crime organizations, most notably the Mexican Cartels, who have used their newfound influence in law enforcement to expand their power to whole municipalities as shown by DEA research published in 2015.

Cartel Power

DEA Corruption Report


So now that we know the police forces are riddled with corrupt, war-torn and psychologically unstable officers, let’s focus on their abuse of the medical marijuana industry in both current events and in retrospect:

  1. Yuba County Sheriff, California – NET-5 Transporting Apprehension (2015)
Christopher Heath

Officer Christopher Mark Heath

A recent case, near and dear to our hearts that epitomizes the corruption within policing today. This month Yuba County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher ‘Mark’ Heath, a veteran narcotics officer of the Yuba County Sheriff’s NET-5 drug and gang task force was caught transporting 200 pounds of medical marijuana, taken from NET-5 raids, in Pennsylvania by a local anti-narcotics task force. Heath was en route to New York, where the medical marijuana could fetch a price anywhere from $6,000 to $8,000 a pound. Heath was looking at anywhere from $1 million to $1.6 million in stolen marijuana profits. Whether other NET-5 or Yuba County Sheriff’s Deputies conspired to assist Heath in transporting is still pending investigation but industry insiders know that this is most certainly the case.

NET-5 is a notoriously corrupt anti-marijuana trafficking task force that has been known to ‘tax’ marijuana transporters and local growers alike for several years now, by conducting raids and seizures in violation of California’s Medical Marijuana Law if growers fail to pay or supply them. Yuba County itself is a sparsely populated farming county with most high paying jobs coming from government work with the local air force base or the county itself. The per capita income rate is about 40% less than the California average and like many parts of California, lower income populations have turned to medical marijuana to relieve the financial stress produced by the outfall of the ongoing financial crisis. Yuba County also sponsors FACT, an anti-marijuana group in the area that documents and publicizes police raids and seizures in the county.

Links on Heath Case




Links on NET-5 Raids







  1. Santa Ana, California – Municipal Corruption (2015)

Santa Ana, a city notoriously influenced by Mexican Drug Cartels, not excluding Mayor Miguel Pulido and City Attorney Sonia Carvalho, imposed a state and federally illegal lottery in early February to issue 20 zoning and operating permits for medical marijuana collectives within the city to friends, financial associates and cartel front men associated with Pulido, Carvalho and other members of Santa Ana city council to fast-track their operations and justify the elimination of competition. The Santa Ana Police, since the issuing of these permits, have followed Long Beach’s lead by becoming the Mayor’s personal hit squad for taking out collectives that have taken suit with the city over these illegal measures, using the gang unit and anti-narcotics units to shut down anyone competing against the 20 collectives. In late May, the corruption was unveiled at the Sky High collective when Santa Ana Gang Unit utilized itself as an intimidation force to shut down the collective but was caught on camera conducting the raid, which featured several officers illegally partaking in edibles and stealing product.

Mayor Pulido (right) with his cabal

Mayor Pulido (right) with his cabal

The illegal lottery occurred as part of Measure BB, sponsored by the City Council, the Santa Ana police and Cartel front men; the cities success at the ballot was in large part due to the mishandling of the counter-initiative by OC NORML, who may or may not have sabotaged their own efforts due to institutional corruption and arrogance. OC NORML suspiciously opened a brand new office in the Downtown district of Santa Ana, without opposition, following the City’s victory, let alone NORML’s reputation for selling out local growers and farms for political influence and funding.

See more about the history of NORML’s Lies and Dirty Tricks:


Statements made against the city by OCWeekly Magazine and Attorney Matthew Pappas revealed that “The mayor has a pecuniary interest in [at least] one of the collectives. Prior to the election, there were limousine services and gifts provided to officials. We have evidence of that. People were approached to pay a $25,000 amount and were told they would win the lottery.”

OC Weekly continues:

“Rather than forcing lottery players to go through a lengthy background check, something that might have greatly reduced the number of applications, city officials allowed individuals to submit an unlimited number of applications per location on behalf of various corporate entities. The city’s somewhat-cynical operating theory is that corporations are people, and thus each one, no matter how fictional or freshly conceived or who actually owned it, has the right to its own lottery ball….”

“Predictably, most of the 20 winners were deep-pocketed entrepreneurs, some of whom purchased 100 or even 150 balls to increase the odds of winning. The winners included some high-profile names such as Cypress Hill’s B-Real. Many winners formed legal partnerships, raised money from investors and paid the city with money orders; the Weekly also interviewed eyewitnesses who described successful applicants who drove to City Hall in flashy cars with their girlfriends in tow, hauling shopping bags stuffed with enough cash to purchase dozens of lottery balls.

The Weekly also uncovered allegations of attempted influence peddling by Pulido’s personal attorney and former Orange County Democratic Party chairman Frank Barbaro, as well as aggressive solicitation of campaign donations by both Pulido and powerful Democratic Party operative Melahat Rafiei, whose brother is among the 20 winners. Furthermore, to raise cash for the Measure BB campaign and thus lay the groundwork for the lottery, the city worked with Randall Longwith, a prominent medical-marijuana attorney whose brother-in-law, David Dewyke, happens to manage the Clinic Patient’s Association. The large-scale dispensary operated in Santa Ana without a permit for several years, until it was finally shut down by the police in late May–one of the last such dispensaries left in the city.

Campaign-contribution records obtained by the Weekly show Dewyke was by far the largest contributor to Measure BB, writing checks totaling $57,000–single-handedly footing nearly a third of the roughly $181,000 campaign bill. (Dewyke also gave $10,000 to the Measure CC campaign.) According to limo-company operator and custom-car designer Vini Bergeman–who lives in a 20,000-square-foot mansion in Panorama Heights and is a former associate of John Gotti, as well as a former business partner of Dewyke’s–Dewyke frequently borrowed his vehicles, saying he needed them to wine and dine city officials involved in Measure BB.

Female Officer Who Threatened Patients

Female Officer Who Threatened Patients

The Atlantic Magazine also chimed in by pointing out the presence of corruption in the police union over the marijuana issue and the intended abuse of some of the patients present during the raid:

On-duty police officers appear to be eating edible pot products—OC Weekly transcribes words they spoke while egging one another on. (“Those candy bars are pretty good,” one said. “I kinda feel light-headed though.”) Other dialogue offers a number of insights into the subculture of this narcotics unit. Take the woman with an amputated leg that police encountered on entering the dispensary. “Did you punch that one-legged old benita?” one police officer asks another. The other cop laughingly replied, “I was about to kick her in her fucking nub.” These are people Santa Ana taxpayers empower to use lethal force at their discretion….”

“What’s new is the way that the cops caught misbehaving on camera and the police union that represents them have responded to an internal police investigation—not with embarrassment, contrition, and public apologies, as would befit trustworthy people of good character, but with shameless, discrediting chutzpah: They’ve sued to keep now public video of their indefensible behavior from their overseers!

A lawsuit, filed last week in Orange County Superior Court by three unidentified police officers and the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, seeks to prevent Santa Ana Police Department internal-affairs investigators from using the video as they sort out what happened during the May 26 raid of Sky High Collective,” the Orange County Register reports. The article goes on to characterize the lawsuit’s claims:

The lawsuit argues that the video doesn’t paint a fair version of events. The suit also claims the video shouldn’t be used as evidence because, among other things, the police didn’t know they were on camera. “All police personnel present had a reasonable expectation that their conversations were no longer being recorded and the undercover officers, feeling that they were safe to do so, removed their masks,” says the suit.

The dispensary also did not obtain consent of any officer to record them, the suit says. “Without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer,” the suit says.


To sum up: These police officers are complaining that after rushing into this business with guns drawn, forcing employees outside, and using a crowbar to pry visible surveillance cameras off the walls, they were not warned—by the same employees they forced out—that their efforts to disable all surveillance cameras failed, rendering their decision to eat the business’s products visible to its owners. As well, they’re arguing that, though on-duty cops, they had a reasonable expectation of privacy, having failed to account for their own incompetence at disabling surveillance.

But even more galling is that last bit about how “without the illegal recordings, there would have been no internal investigation of any officer,” as that’s only true if one assumes that all cops present would cover for one another’s egregious misbehavior and sign off on a police report that misrepresented the raid. That isn’t a bad assumption, given that police subculture is rife with cops who fail to report on the misconduct of fellow police officers, but it’s really something to see police officers invoke that reality, even implicitly, in an attempt to wriggle out of accountability.

And most galling of all is the fact that this tactic is going to work temporarily. “A Superior Court judge indicated Tuesday that he plans to issue a temporary restraining order that would prevent the Santa Ana Police Department from using video of officers misbehaving during a pot-shop raid as the department investigates the officers’ actions,” the Voice of OC reports. “According to court documents, Judge Ronald Bauer so far agrees with officers’ claims that they would suffer ‘irreparable harm’ if the department is allowed to use video that the Santa Ana Police Association argues was obtained in an illegal eavesdropping operation.”

Santa Ana Police even went as far as to quash the video for their own internal affairs investigation. Maybe it’s the City of Santa Ana, not the medical marijuana community, that deserves to have an investigation of its own and not just a local one, but a federal one.







  1. Sullivan City, Texas – Top Narc Caught Taking Marijuana From Raid (2015)


Police officers conducting a raid against a marijuana grow site removed marijuana from the scene with permission from the police chief. Unbeknownst to these investigators, the grow has cameras on-site and filmed one officer removing marijuana in bottles of rubbing alcohol. The Department had already been under suspicion of marijuana trafficking for the cartel and a good cop, upon review of the footage, elected to turn in the corrupt cops to the Texas Rangers authority. The police department attempted to cover up the misappropriation leading to a raid by Texas Rangers against the Sullivan City Police Department. The local Valley News tells us more:

Officer Angel De La Mora grabbed a handful and stuffed the marijuana inside a bottle of rubbing alcohol. “It was a stupid, dumb mistake,” de la Mora said months later during an interview. “But there’s more to it.” Police Chief Miguel Martinez stood by the door, watching de la Mora take handful after handful of marijuana. Police Inv. Reynaldo Cortes also stood nearby, occasionally chatting with the chief. They weren’t concerned about two security cameras that recorded the incident on May 21. If a police sergeant hadn’t tipped off the Texas Rangers, nobody would have missed the marijuana.

 “For me, it was more of a Barney Fife deal,” said attorney Ricardo Salinas, who represents de la Mora — referencing the dimwitted but well-meaning deputy from “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“I don’t believe that him or the chief really meant to do anything wrong,” Salinas said. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but I don’t think it’s really worth pursuing.”

 The Texas Rangers apparently didn’t agree.Nearly three weeks later, the Rangers raided the Sullivan City Police Department and seized the surveillance footage.They also presented Sullivan City with a search warrant that placed the police department on notice: The Rangers believed the incident may have constituted theft by a public servant, a state jail felony, and abuse of official capacity, a Class A misdemeanor. While the raid surprised Sullivan City administrators, problems with the police department aren’t anything new. The troubled police department went through five police chiefs during the past five years. In June 2010, federal agents arrested Chief Hernan Guerra Jr., who pleaded guilty to drug trafficking. Frustrated with city politics, Interim Chief Carlos Lucio left just 14 months later. The City Commission fired Chief Jose Anaya for unprofessional conduct. And Chief Juan Alejandro resigned after Sullivan City administrators asked him to stop sleeping at the department. That left Sullivan City with veteran patrolman Miguel Martinez, who got the top job primarily because the City Commission knew he would stick around.


 Constant turnover allowed de la Mora and other officers with questionable records to avoid scrutiny for years. “To me, it wasn’t a police department per se,” said Joe Cantu, a semi-retired Rio Grande Valley lawman who spent a year working for Sullivan City. “It was just a bunch of guys who carry guns and badges and aren’t properly trained.”

Several local officers, including former police Chief Hernan Guerra Jr., have been caught working with smugglers. In June 2010, federal agents arrested Guerra for working with a Tamaulipas-based drug trafficking organization. Guerra helped the organization dodge Border Patrol agents and kept Sullivan City police away from drug shipments. He also rigged city vehicle auctions for drug traffickers. In exchange, the smugglers paid him $500 to $2,000 every month, according to federal court records. He pleaded guilty and received a 10-year prison sentence. “You seemed to scoff, really, at getting caught,” said U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, according to a transcript of the April 2011 sentencing hearing. “You didn’t care. You were going to do it anyway. I remember being appalled listening to some of the things you were saying on wiretaps.”

“Former Sullivan City police Officer Juan Sotelo said he witnessed de la Mora’s dark side on March 10, 2012. While working off-duty security at Jaguars — an Edinburg strip club with nude dancers — Sotelo said he spotted de la Mora. “Officer Sotelo stated that Officer de la Mora was heavily intoxicated and appeared to be under the influence of an illegal substance, due to the fact that he observed a white substance on his nose,” according to records from an internal investigation conducted by the Sullivan City Police Department. Sotelo later filed a lawsuit against Sullivan City, claiming the department retaliated against him for reporting wrongdoing.

 His attorney, Javier Pea, provided the confidential internal investigation to KGBT-TV, which independently verified the document’s authenticity. The police sergeant who investigated the incident confirmed Sotelo’s story by contacting another officer who worked off-duty security at Jaguars that night, according to the report. Afterward, the sergeant bought an off-the-shelf drug test from Walgreens and asked de la Mora to submit a urine sample. De la Mora tested positive for cocaine, according to the internal investigation. He resigned effective immediately. However, the Walgreens drug test wouldn’t stand up to legal scrutiny. Sullivan City had botched the investigation.”

Fewer than two months later, de la Mora reapplied to the Sullivan City Police Department. He submitted the standard 13-page job application, which asked: Have you ever used marijuana or any other drug not prescribed by your physician? “Yes,” wrote de la Mora, according to a copy of the application obtained through a public information request. “Cocaine. The situation was an ordeal.” Sullivan City hired him back anyway. Nearly all drug trafficking and immigrant smuggling cases involve cars, Lucio said, adding that the department would file civil forfeiture proceedings against the vehicles. Money from the vehicle auctions funded equipment and other police department expenditures. “Sullivan City can’t support itself on the citations,” Lucio said, referencing traffic tickets. “It can’t. The money is in forfeitures.” For the cash-strapped city, forfeiture funds have become so important the police chief talks with the City Commission about seized vehicles at monthly meetings. “That’s why they wouldn’t let him go: Because the police department is a business,” Lucio said. “And anyone who says otherwise is lying.”

 De La Mora went on to claim he was stealing the marijuana for a relative, for medical use but given his track record of corruption, nobody took the bait.


The Drug Policy Alliance made a general comment on asset forfeitures and police corruption stating:

Ever wonder why police spend so much time enforcing failed drug laws?  To find the answer, you just need to follow the money.  Funding schemes and asset forfeiture laws have given law enforcement agencies strong financial incentives to continue the drug war.  Because funding for drug task forces is often based on the number of arrests made and the amount of property seized in drug busts, the easiest way for local police to up their numbers and boost their careers is to target low-level drug offenders, not violent kingpins.  To create arrest opportunities, police routinely rely on untrustworthy informants, conduct dangerous home invasions on flimsy evidence, frame suspects and commit perjury.  Asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement agencies to seize property with minimal proof, putting the burden instead on suspects to prove their own innocence.  Because these assets often go straight into the coffers of the enforcement agency, these laws have created financial incentives for property seizures that encourage corruption.”


  1. Phoenix, Arizona – Police & Courts Entrap Medical Grower (2015)
Kyle Catlin

Kyle Catlin

Kyle Catlin, a medical marijuana grower, patient caregiver and medical marijuana activist in the state of Arizona is currently facing trial along with his brother for two cases in Tucson for growing marijuana for sick, elderly and disabled patients. Catlin’s arrest was due to a personal vendetta by local law enforcement authorities, against Catlin’s father a seasoned marijuana veteran who managed to evade arrest and incarceration for several years. The local authorities were so vengeful in going after Catlin that the judge in his trial refused to allow Catlin’s lawyer to reference the state marijuana law. Since Catlin is a state licensed caregiver the marijuana law would have protected his civil rights but the corrupt judge refused to allow the law to be brought into court stating that in Arizona the marijuana law was not an affirmative defense.

According to Tucson Weekly:

“In April 2012, Catlin was pulled over by Tucson Police officers, allegedly for speeding. What really happened, according to Catlin, is a young man had gotten in trouble earlier over having some weed, and he told the cops he had gotten it from Catlin. The police officers interrogated Catlin, and he ended up showing them the two ounces of weed he carried in his backpack (law says you can carry up to 2.5 ounces), and his medical marijuana card. “At some point I asked ‘Am I under arrest?'” he says. “I heard a police officer lie and say that I had said that there were more (marijuana) jars at my house, when I was never asked anything about marijuana at my house,” he says. The cops searched his pockets and found two cell phones and cash, which they saw as sufficient probable cause to search his home.

They found 147 marijuana plants, weed in jars and a gun in Catlin’s safe. Overnight, he was charged with four felonies: possession of weed for sale, attempt production, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a deadly weapon during the “commission of a drug offense.” According to the indictment document, law enforcement found more than two pounds, but less than four pounds of weed for each cultivation, production and possession, roughly adding up to 15 years if given the maximum sentence. Marijuana paraphernalia would be at least four months but no more than two years. A grand total of close to 20 years in prison if given the max, according to the marijuana advocacy group NORML.”

Catlin w/patient

Catlin w/patient

A few months into pre-trial for case one, Catlin’s home was searched again. The investigators overseeing the case found recent information about his healing center— Arizona Medical Marijuana Caregivers—online, and that’s how they justified another search warrant. “They destroyed my house, ripping posters down, and breaking glass water pipes all over the house,” he says. Catlin was pinned with 10 felonies. Among them, “illegally conducting an enterprise that sold and/or possessed for sale amounts of marijuana and cannabis … to customers,” the indictment says. It lists Catlin as the boss, who employed an “associate” to deliver marijuana, and “arranged appointments between the runner and customer for the purpose of selling marijuana.” There was also another charge for possession of marijuana for sale, possession of drug paraphernalia, and conspiracy to possess and sell. “Here I am trying to prove that what I am doing is legal, and I’m getting in trouble. I’m not doing anything illegal, but it appears to (the judge) that I am,” he says. The trial for case one begins on Oct. 13. If he’s found guilty of all or any charge, he’ll face trial two with previous convictions.”

Sheriff Joe

Sheriff Joe

Kyle’s problems are an extension of the municipal and statewide corruption by law enforcement and judicial authorities. Just a little dig into the local marijuana community and we were able to uncover that many Arizona state officials and the local elite have ownership stake in the largest medical marijuana dispensaries in the state and that such persons include famous public figures like Sheriff Joe Arapaio, JP Holyoak of the hedge fund Holyoak Wealth Management, and most notoriously the so called “anti-corruption figure” Representative Ted Downing of Tucson and his relatives. Downing has been perceived as the invisible hand behind Catlin’s trouble in court as Catlin was a direct competitor to Downing’s associated dispensaries in Tucson, Sedona and Cottonwood; he has only admitted to ownership stake in the Sedona dispensary and in a production facility in Cottonwood. Suspicion of Downing has been present ever since the indictment of Downing’s sons for diversion of campaign funds for personal use in 1997 and again in 2011, shattering his anti-corruption image and putting him on the list of corrupt public officials that misuse their political power for personal gain.

Rep. Downing

Rep. Ted Downing

Other advocates have attempted to speak out against the misuse of authority. The Phoenix New Times primarily blames the regime of Governor Jan Brewer and a rogue AZ DEA in a 2012 article for the stunted growth of AZ’s industry:

“The state of medical marijuana in Arizona is messed up. Governor Jan Brewer partly is responsible for that. After a thin majority of voters passed Proposition 203 in 2010, Brewer canceled the dispensary portion of the program, claiming that state workers would be prosecuted for administering it. A federal lawsuit she filed in May 2011 was an obvious attempt by the Republican marijuana foe to get the law declared unconstitutional. It failed. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Richard Gama, in examining a lawsuit by would-be dispensary owners, ordered Brewer to implement the program as voters intended.”



“A few Valley clubs and/or collectives have been raided by police and shut down. But more keep popping up. At least one, the Arizona Cannabis Society in El Mirage, re-opened after a raid. Prosecutions have been fewer. After the federal Drug Enforcement Agency raided Tempe’s Arizona Go Green Co-op, state Attorney General Tom Horne’s office dropped charges against the owner, James Chaney, and an employee. Bill Hayes, one of the founders of the Arizona Cannabis Society, is yet to be charged after his outfit was busted by Phoenix police in May. And Garry Ferguson, whose Tempe club had the distinction last year of being the first such business to be raided, never was charged.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery, an ambitious conservative who wants the medical-marijuana law canceled by the feds, voters be damned, is moving forward with prosecutions of employees of two cannabis clubs… Montgomery is trying to force the issue, possibly in conjunction with police and the state Attorney General’s Office. Fact is, the question about the legality of the clubs still is to be determined in Arizona, as authorities well know.”

Despite the threats of prohibitionists, the names of 97 companies and groups that will be authorized to sell marijuana in Arizona were pulled from a lottery-style air-blower by the state Department of Health Services on August 7. The lucky applicants were culled from a total of 426 who each paid $5,000 for the opportunity to be in the running. The losers get $1,000 back.”

Sound familiar?








  1. Long Beach, California – A Nationwide Model For Police Corruption (2008 to Current)
Mayor Bob Foster

Mayor Bob Foster

Ah yes, Long Beach; the birthplace of the medical marijuana industries problems.

The City of Long Beach was the first city in the United States to racketeer medical marijuana dispensaries under the architecture of former Mayor Bob Foster, Police Chief Jim McDonnell (now LA County Sheriff), City Attorney (and Irish Mob affiliate) Bob Shannon, La County Supervisor Don Knabe, Attorney Matt Knabe, Business Relations Manager Erik Sund (known KKK affiliate) and the Long Beach Police Officer Association led by Narcotics Detective and underworld killer, Det. David Strohman. Long Beach was formerly the jewel of the medical marijuana industry and the top pioneer in dispensary operation, but this all came to a grinding halt when city insiders became deeply threatened by the level of competition that their own dispensaries faced.

John Morris courtesy of OC Weekly

John Morris courtesy of OC Weekly

Mayor Foster, City Attorney Shannon and local OC crime boss John Morris along with local grower Carl Kemp, shared interests in several of the local dispensaries in Long Beach that were not performing well due to the subpar quality of their indoor marijuana. Morris, the notorious owner of Long Beach’s Legends bar in Belmont Shore, peddled his influence to several members of the Long Beach City Council in order to push for an illegal lottery that would determine who would be allowed to stay and who would be forced to go.

*Courtesy of OCWeekly Marijuana Super Investigator Nick Schou:

John Morris (right) partying with Mayor Bob Foster

John Morris (right) partying with Mayor Bob Foster

His pitch to City Hall: work with someone you know, rather than open the door to strangers from out of town who might turn out to be shady characters. “How are we going to make this truly work in Long Beach so it’s not gangbangers doing it?” Morris figured. “Let’s bring the community into this thing so everyone knows who we are.” Since marijuana collectives aren’t allowed to make a profit in California, Morris says, he planned to open at least four different storefronts throughout the city, each affiliated with a nearby charity, including Long Beach Memorial Foundation; the city’s skate-park program, run by ex-councilman Mike Donelon; and Long Beach Gay and Lesbian Center, whose director, Ron Sylvester, recalls talking to Morris and being excited about the concept. I brought it to our board of directors and got back to John and told him that we’d love to be a beneficiary,” Sylvester says. “I kept an eye on what was happening legislatively, and, of course, we’re disappointed that it hasn’t come to fruition. When he met with city attorney Shannon about the project, Morris brought his lobbyist, Matt Knabe, whose father, Don Knabe, sits on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.”

“To create a nonprofit called the Fourth Street Collective at 1069 Wardlow St., Morris reached out to Christine Donelon, wife of the former city councilman who ran the skate-park charity Morris hoped to fund. Another was tax accountant Osvaldo Lainez, who handled returns for both Morris and Dee Andrews, a Long Beach councilman. Lainez is also the president of the nonprofit Chicar, which has won tens of thousands of dollars in Port of Long Beach donations, ostensibly for helping to organize the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, which is steered by Andrews.”

Bob Shannon

Bob Shannon

In late 2010, City Attorney Shannon held a rigged lottery in City Council that essentially forced the dispensary owners to bribe the city into retaining their operating permits, in addition requiring a $15,000 application fee. The lottery was immediately legally challenged thwarting the Morris Syndicate’s plans to fix competition as widespread corruption was alleged by other dispensary owners. In retaliation, Morris’s associate Mayor Bob Foster ordered David Strohman of the Long Beach POA to form a special anti-marijuana task force that would begin to raid, shake down and intimidate the dispensaries that dared to defy the illegal lottery.

“Larry Parks, who owned the 1 A.M. collective, [2] first became suspicious about the city’s program weeks earlier, when he paid a $2,000 consulting fee to Morris’ attorney, Violas.

“I wanted to get his thoughts about the lottery process and what he thought my chances were,” Parks recalls. “He wanted me to hire him for $2,000 a month and told me his clients don’t get bothered by the city. He called it ‘good lawyering’ and said he’d need $5,000 here and $5,000 there to spread around.” Violas claimed to be “good friends” with Erik Sund, Long Beach’s business-relations manager and director of the city’s medical-marijuana program. “Mr. Violas told me that if I paid him money, he would be able to guarantee acceptance of my patient-cooperative group’s application for a Long Beach city permit,” Parks later stated in a sworn deposition. “When I asked him how he could do this, he told me . . . my group might have to make monetary contributions to city projects or to city officials.”

Mike Genera refused to pay the fee to enter the lottery; soon after, the city began sending code-enforcement officers to his collective, threatening his landlord, and issuing him up to $50,000 in fines over a period of several months. The police also showed up and filed misdemeanor charges—violating the city’s marijuana ordinance—against his security guard and manager. “They used every kind of tactic that you can imagine,” Genara says. “It was just so overwhelming.”

Dallas Alexander, who operates the Dank City Collective, also paid only a token fee of $500 to the city, instead of the $15,000. “I was summarily rejected,” he says. Not long thereafter, the police raided his shop while he was on his way to work. “They broke down my door with no warrant,” he says. “They basically robbed me. They took whatever they could in money. I saw Erik Sund walk out with a bag of my merchandise. They arrested three of my people who were working, but they were out in a couple of hours.”

Until she voluntarily closed the dispensary late last year, Katherine Aldrich operated 562 Collective in the north Long Beach neighborhood of Bixby Knolls. She also refused to pay the city’s permit fee and didn’t participate in the lottery. On Feb. 14, 2011, the police raided her collective while she was taking her daughter to the orthodontist. Security footage filmed during the raid shows plainclothes officers accompanied by Sund standing in her lobby. No arrests were made, but Aldrich received a fine. The cops returned again three months later, again without a warrant. When her employees refused to open the safe, police arrested them but left empty-handed. Sund was present for that raid, too.”

Eleven dispensaries immediately found themselves getting served with official city letters demanding $40,000 a month in payments to the City Attorney’s office or face a ‘federal raid’ citing a power to deputize LBPD officers as federal narcotics agents. Strohman and his corrupt POA conspirators began a system of identifying, surveilling, capturing and in some cases assassinating members of the Long Beach and San Pedro marijuana industries including growers, transporters, and dispensary workers alike.

The city’s counterattack came to a grinding halt when they caught the attention of the FBI following the shooting and killing of a corrupt federal law enforcement official, who attempted to kill internal affairs investigators at the Downtown Long Beach Federal Building. According to the LA Times: “ The ICE agent, whose name has not been made public, shot and killed Ezequiel Garcia in February 2012 after Garcia opened fire during a meeting about his job performance. He fired at least six shots at his boss before he was shot dead. Kevin Kozak, the Los Angeles field offices second in command, was severely injured. The shooting left the seventh-floor office in Long Beach riddled with bullets.” This incident sparked a yearlong investigation that disturbed city officials, fearing that their RICO violations of the Long Beach marijuana collectives would be uncovered due to the attention being garnered by the lottery lawsuits. Foster and Shannon’s immediate reaction was to pass a citywide ban on medical marijuana collectives and they entrusted Chief McDonnell and Detective Strohman with carrying out the elimination of over a hundred collectives that operated throughout the city targeting both the collectives, their suppliers and even resorting to intimidating and harming their patients.

Marijuana Super Advocate Joe Grumbine

Marijuana Super Advocate Joe Grumbine

“According to the lawsuit, one of the officers, Dave Strohman led a team of cops who raided the NatureCann collective on March 21, 2012, using a battering ram to knock down the door. “The police officers entered guns drawn and ordered everyone on the ground,” the lawsuit states. “They immediately arrested everyone (four volunteers) for violating LBMC Chapter 5.89,” the city’s ordinance banning marijuana clubs. The lawsuit adds that Strohman and his team “interrogated those arrested,” then seized “all medical marijuana, cash registers, computers and patients records” and that the club was “utterly destroyed.” Elsewhere, the suit claims Strohman routinely failed to provide exculpatory evidence, such as information showing that the clubs were legal under state law, when filing search warrant affidavits. Another cop mentioned in the lawsuit is Oscar Valenzuela, a detective whose prior claim to fame is star witness for the prosecution against Joe Byron and Joe Grumbine, both of whom have the distinction of being the only Long Beach pot purveyors who were prosecuted for doing the same thing that city-permitted clubs were going, i.e. selling pot. (The two men were convicted, but have won the right to a new trial thanks to judicial misconduct).

Further Reading on LBPD Police Corruption by advocate Chief Stephen Downing:



The dispensaries connected to the city were allowed to remain open for a longer duration in order to recover losses and assume profits before the ban became permanently in effect in late 2013. Since that time, Long Beach held city elections in 2014 that were heavily monitored by the marijuana community for anti-corruption. Most notorious was the highly illegitimate election of City Attorney Charlie Parkin, a relative of RICO co-conspirator Bob Shannon, who has continued to hamper efforts to restore medical marijuana within the city.

Councilwoman Price; Anti-Marijuana Advocate

Councilwoman Price – Drug Crusader

Despite attempts by Councilmen Lena Gonzalez, Suja Lowenthal, Rex Richardson and Mayor Robert Garcia to restore the cities medical marijuana business program they have faced staunch opposition led by former prosecutor, anti-marijuana advocate and racist blue blood Susan Price, representing the wealthy 3rd District;  8th District Councilman Al Austin, who was miraculously elected despite his very public displays of illiteracy at council meetings; 5th District Councilwomen Stacy Mungo, a queen bee follower who was subject to attack ads by Americans For Safe Access during the election and retains a bitter resentment towards the industry and Councilman Dee Andrews of the 7th District who is still trying to cover up his involvement in Mayor Foster’s extortion racket. City Council must have a 6 member majority to pass the marijuana law and the final decision may lie in the hands of new Councilman Daryl Supernaw although it appears he has been negatively influenced by the Suzie Price Clique. There is no doubt that Ms. Price intends to sabotage the medical marijuana program to undermine Mayor Garcia, as it is known that she has made statements in private regarding her desire to become the Mayor of Long Beach. Mrs. Price’s prejudices against marijuana and marijuana patients comes from her deep entrenchment as a prosecutor and her racist attitudes towards the black and Latino communities within Long Beach.

Aaron Herzberg, Marijuana Racketeer in Santa Ana and Long Beach

Aaron Herzberg, Marijuana Racketeer in Santa Ana and Long Beach

The opposition to Mayor Garcia’s initiative by Price forced the creation of a highly corrupted city commission, of whose members are dually involved in Mayor Pulido’s racketeering of Santa Ana dispensaries. They seek to reinstate the city insider dispensaries while taking away grow rights from individual patients within city limits. Despite a voter mandate authorizing the restoration of the city’s medical marijuana ordinance, Ms. Price used council procedure to force the commission and stall implementation in order to maintain the ban. Meanwhile, Officer Strohman has successfully eliminated marijuana competition within the delivery serves, and most deliveries now operating within Long Beach city limits are owned by members of LBPD or their children.






The ‘Long Beach Model’ of corruption has been exported to municipalities and law enforcement agencies throughout Medical Marijuana states and this has been seen with the subversion of marijuana law by county and city authorities throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado and possibly many more states to come.

Will 2016 be the year when the marijuana industry says enough is enough?


  • The Green Chazzan
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Interlude: America, The Venetian Republic – Part 2

Freedom From Fear

Shay's Rebellion

Shay’s Rebellion

The currency crisis had also created disaffection among the military veterans, who had been paid in Continentals and had watched their war wages fade to nothing following the end of the war. Daniel Shays, an honored soldier and farmer began collaborating with former members of the Sons of Liberty, most prominently Samuel Adams and Colonial Regulators to begin arming veterans for an insurrection against the oppressive post-Revolutionary oligarchical state. Adams had accused the merchant classes of manipulating access to foreign currency to pay down their own debts by reducing specie availability and then increasing the debts of others by increasing the availability of specie when loans were made to farmers. Daniel Shays opposed the local Massachusetts Courts on the grounds of debt relief, but the courts seized his lands and the lands of many others on behalf of the ruling Boston merchants; effectively using debt, taxation and litigation to deprive Shays and the farmers of their property rights in order to deliver their property into the hands of the oligarchy.

The governor, Daniel Bowdoin, had vigorously attempted to counter the policies set by John Hancock as the previous governor which allowed for devalued currency to be accepted in equivalent value to the dollar for payment of debts. This was successful in insulating Massachusetts farmers from the federal currency collapse and allowed for the exportation of devalued currency from the state keeping inflation and new loan interest low. Bowdoin, using the national debt as a political shield, stepped up tax collections and land seizures leading to general protests against his leadership and accusations of collaboration with the merchant oligarchy. Protests led by Daniel Shay’s broke out in what would become known as Shay’s Rebellion; militias assaulted police and tax collectors, shut down the courts and targeted members of the oligarchy for public beatings.

Gov. James Bowdoin

Gov. James Bowdoin

The state of Massachusetts descended into a state of civil war as middle and working class rebels engaged with pro-oligarchical militias throughout the state, by 1786 the situation had grown direly out of control and the oligarchs enlisted 3,000 mercenaries to help them finish the conflict. Samuel Adams, seeing a threat to the power of the landed classes throughout the country, switched allegiances claiming Shay’s was being backed by British agents and that rights to a trial should be suspended on grounds of treason. By early 1787, the mercenary army in addition to the continental army led by George Washington suppressed the rebellion and Marshall Law was declared to maintain control over the state; anyone deemed to have participated in the rebellion was stripped of their rights as Freemen. Bowdoin would use his response to the rebellion to help formulate the Federalist ideology, calling a strong centralized oligarchical government that could prevent the return of what he regarded as ‘peasant rebellions’.  Many of the leaders of the rebellion fled to Canada and Vermont following the conflict leading to the creation of the temporary Vermont Republic and the State of Vermont itself.

President George Washington

President George Washington

The outcome of the conflict led to the collapse of Bowdoin’s abilities to govern and a landslide reelection of John Hancock, who largely granted clemency to all of the rebellions participants. Hancock cut taxes and restructured the state economic system at the expense of the Merchant oligarchy using avoidance of another rebellion as a pretext. Thomas Jefferson did not fear the rebellion spreading further, stating in his infamous ‘Tree of Liberty’ speech that the bloodshed of the conflict was a good thing for maintaining order among the classes and would dissuade further conflicts related to the matter. George Washington on the other hand viewed the rebellion with great alarm, calling for constitutional and government reforms, fearing an eventual civil war and overthrow of the oligarchy by the lower classes; Washington understood the desires of the laborers and farmers, as they had all fought in the Revolutionary War as patriotic equals. Washington was also aware that English espionage with the Native Americans had not ceased despite the end of the war and that some oligarchical entities had considered a bid to return to English rule in despair over the very obvious failures of the Second Continental Congress and the oligarchical states governments. Washington used his influence to bring these oligarchs into the federalist fold, promising a strong central government like that of England’s, which would bring both peace and prosperity through law and order. Federalism and Anti-Federalism would emerge from this conflict among the oligarchical elite, those who wished a new stronger central government and those who wished to retain their power within the competing oligarchical republican states.

In the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Shay’s Rebellion and the threat to oligarchical rule was discussed at length. Those who had previously opposed the formation of a central government and a strong national military under the Anti-Federalist banner abandoned these positions, citing the lack of coordination by both the state and congressional governments in being able to effectively put down Shay’s Rebellion. The ultimate concern of the oligarchs was the preservation of their wealth and power, ideological compromises would have to be made in order to protect their assets from the revolts of the lower classes. What was also addressed was the inefficiency and corruption of the court systems; robbers and vigilantes had used the confederacy system to commit crimes in some states and flee to others for legal asylum, a tactic used by the Southern planter class to destabilize the North for what they called ‘economic warfare’ against the South. The idea of a Popular Vote was immediately rejected at the Convention on the grounds of the rebellion in favor of an Electoral Vote that could nullify the Popular Vote and ensure oligarchical control over the Republic at all times. Initially House Representatives and Senators were to be chosen only by the state legislatures of the oligarchical elite.

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The model for the Republic of Venice was decidedly adopted over those of the Athenian and Spartan Greek city-states.  A Doge-like executive would be selected as President to be the direct commander-in-chief over the armed forces to clear bureaucratic gridlock and allow for a swift military response to domestic rebellions. A Gran Consiglio of a legislative branch representing the interests of the elite would be created as a counterweight to the President and finally a Venetian Council of Ten or the Supreme Court would be introduced as a third branch judicial body to balance out the other branches. The Republic of Venice was an oligarchical empire that had managed its society through long periods of prosperity through strict laws, political intrigue, domestic surveillance and very strict oligarchical class control. This was assumed to be a more powerful form of government for the American oligarchy and an effective answer to the lack of a strong and willful state. The new Constitution would be created to keep everything the oligarchy had won from their British counterparts, make a compromise on the representation of the middle and lower classes, and create a mechanism of legal control over the populace that could be used to coordinate domestic military operations when needed.

After the Philadelphia Convention, leading figures in the war, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and Richard Henry Lee publically opposed the constitution citing Anti-Federalist values, citing a threat to individual rights and the promotion of the Presidential position as a return to monarchy. It should be noted that Adams and Lee had played major roles in the previous government and had concerns about the decline of oligarchical rule in the colonies in favor to the central government of the constitution. Thomas Jefferson, another anti-federalist warned against popular votes and popular politics being manipulated by the constitutional government, citing an impending ‘Tyranny of the Majority’ that would strip ‘Freemen’ of their class interests. Patrick Henry wrote extensively of fears that the Federalists sought to create a new aristocracy that resembled the British peerage system, which was not too far from the truth for many Federalist oligarchs.

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams

The Massachusetts Convention in 1788 was very vitriolic and contentious. Fist fights broke out at the convention between members of the federalist and anti-federalist factions. The impasse between the two groups finally ended when Samuel Adams and John Hancock (also an Anti-Federalist) threatened to unite the Northern farmers against the Convention and overthrow the government of the Confederation unless Constitutional amendments and a Bill of Rights was included. The landed oligarchs took the threat very seriously; Hancock had already made good on several earlier threats and the popularity between Hancock and Adams as ‘men of the people’ would have brought the population behind them. The Constitution was ratified with the debate over the amendments to continue in the 1st US Congress. George Washington was nearly unanimously elected to be the First President of the United States in 1789, viewed by both oligarchical factions and the public alike with immense respect, he would serve as the compromise candidate to get the ball rolling on the new administration of government.

Washington saw his goal as stabilizing the new republic from the past ten years of economic strife. He signed Jay’s Treaty with England, a new trade agreement that would take off some of the international currency pressures against the dollar. Washington set standards for the presidency, only serving two terms to symbolically reject the notion of military dictatorship, and despite being immensely wealthy, accepting the Presidential salary to establish it so less wealthy men could serve in the position. Washington, understanding that he was setting the tone for years to come rejected the use of aristocratic titles for government positions and accepted opposing views in the form of civil debate, rejecting the notion that the Presidency was an office of political violence and potential tyranny, like many of the governors had come to be seen.

Hamilton and Jefferson

Hamilton and Jefferson

The Constitution was largely influence by Alexander Hamilton who had sought to avert the financial collapse of the new republic and contain the potential British influence that could come from it. His initial propositions to have representatives for life modeled after the House of Lords led to accusations of British collaboration which at times were historically murky given the situation at hand. However Hamilton’s proposals to fix the economy as Secretary of the Treasury contradicted this notion, he allowed the federal governments to assume all revolutionary debt from the states in exchange for a centralization of the currency system. Wealthier states and their representatives like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison opposed this debt centralization plan, citing that their taxes would be used as a form of a bail out for less fortunate states; Hamilton saw Jefferson and Madison as being firmly entrenched in their oligarchical beliefs and positions from previous years citing the currency issues that had arisen between the states.

The original three interests of the revolution would firmly split into two camps over the idea of a National Bank:

Madison objected to Hamilton’s proposal to lower the rate of interest and postpone payments on federal debt as not being payment in full; he also objected to the speculative profits being made. Much of the national debt was in the form of bonds issued to Continental veterans, in place of wages the Continental Congress did not have the money to pay. As the bonds continued to go unpaid, many had been pawned for a small fraction of their value. Madison proposed to pay in full, but to divide payment between the original recipient and the present possessor. Others, such as Samuel Livermore of New Hampshire, wished to curb speculation, and reduce taxation, by paying only part of the bond. The disagreements between Madison and Hamilton extended to other proposals Hamilton made to Congress, and drew in Jefferson when he returned from serving as minister to France. Hamilton’s supporters became known as Federalists and Jefferson’s as Republicans.”


Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were Washington’s top advisors and bitter rivals; Hamilton who had a close relationship with the landed gentry of England through his own family ties sought to create a national banking system to restore American credit and turn the US into an economic force. Jay’s Treaty with Britain was denounced as a result of Hamilton’s close ties to the British and an affront to the French, who were undergoing a republican revolution of their own. Jefferson and his allies supported the anti-monarch bourgeoisie in France and saw Hamilton’s reconciliations as attempts to thwart their plans. Jefferson’s views were largely oligarchical and he sought to restore the predisposition of the Confederation period stating that he was “in a struggle between the Treasury department and the republican interest.”

Hamilton suggested that Congress should charter the National Bank with a capitalization of $10 million, one-fifth of which would be handled by the Government. Since the Government did not have the money, it would borrow the money from the bank itself, and repay the loan in ten even annual installments. The rest was to be available to individual investors. The bank was to be governed by a twenty-five member board of directors that was to represent a large majority of the private shareholders, which Hamilton considered essential for his being under a private direction. Hamilton’s bank model had many similarities to that of the Bank of England, except Hamilton wanted to exclude the Government from being involved in public debt, but provide a large, firm, and elastic money supply for the functioning of normal businesses and usual economic development, among other differences. For tax revenue to ignite the bank, it was the same as he had previously proposed; increases on imported spirits: rum, liquor, and whiskey.”

Gold and Silver

Gold and Silver


The United States owed a national debt of $90 million in 1790, equivalent to roughly 2.3 billion dollars in debt today;  Hamilton came up with a number of alternative solutions to handle the debt that were enabled through various property and excise taxes. Hamilton had also been instrumental in putting the standard for a bimetallic currency in the Constitution to enable the US to mint its own gold and silver coins and finally run the Spanish gold coin out of circulation. Hamilton argued that by undermining gold to maintain a high price and oversupplying West Indies silver imports to keep the silver price low, silver coins would always be readily available to expand the money supply when needed; Hamilton also proposed the minting of smaller value coins of silver and copper for small transaction with the lower classes. He created a naval inspection service called the Revenue Cutters, a precursor to the Coast Guard, whose primary purpose was to crack down and tax interstate smuggling, especially between anti-federalist oligarchical rivals trying to dodge taxes.

Tensions however would rise as Hamilton’s policy popularity led to a number of public declarations in favor of the merchant oligarchy over the agrarian oligarchy, citing French economic theories that pushed for an advanced manufacturing based economy to pay off large debts. The Copper Panic of 1789 would destabilize the Presidency of George Washington, along with Hamilton’s Policy. The Confederation states had minted their own coins using copper to create a hard currency alternative to the devaluing continental; the British had attempted to destabilize the economic markets by having spies introduce counterfeit copper coins into the American market creating a surplus of the coins and lowering the value of copper. The counterfeiting intensified during the period of Shay’s Rebellion, compounded by the fact that states had engaged in following John Hancock’s lead in exporting the fiat Continental currency and borrowing and issuing new loans with the copper currency. This led to debt disparities between the states and states engaging in copper counterfeiting of their own to contain the exported inflation. By 1789, the market was flooded with the debased coins, sharing an inflation rate well over 400% and the ability to do commerce with the coins ceased; state banks tried to stem the currency circulation by issuing new fiat but this was stopped by Hamilton who feared a return to the Confederacy system and its hyperinflationary issues. The copper was taken out of public circulation leading to another contraction in the public money supply and of available credit.

Whiskey Rebellion

Whiskey Rebellion

The Copper Panic and the Whiskey Excise Tax created an uproar among the farming community. Whiskey had been a frontier form of exchange and the new taxes made it less desirable, cutting into the incomes of the poor and farming classes. The farmers outside of the states especially resented the tax because they did not have Congressional representation and farmers who did have representation did not feel fairly represented, leading back to the ‘no taxation without representation’ conundrum that they had spent a decade fighting to free themselves from. A fresh bout of Indian attacks on Western frontier pushed the Ohio Valley farmers into a state of rebellion as they felt the new government was no different from the old despite the progress that had been made. Local Republican oligarchs preyed upon this sentiment politically, hyping up merchant class conspiracies to defraud the poor of their wealth and enlisting them in ad hoc conventions to discuss new types of republican government.  In 1793, hostilities intensified as tax collectors became the victims of lynch mobs, and effigies of local governors were burned publically. In 1791, the Whiskey Rebellion broke out when several rogue distillers refused to pay taxes; Hamilton was accused, even by many modern historians, of exacerbating the controversy by issuing federal subpoena’s to the frontier distillers to create a popular revolt against direct oligarchical taxation that could be crushed by the military to enrich the creditor class at the expense of the taxpayers once the tax system had been enforced. Many historians believed that Hamilton created the excise tax as a means of social discipline against the veterans of the lower classes for the incidents of Shay’s Rebellion and the earlier military payments crisis in 1783.

Western Pennsylvania entered a state of full blown rebellion, peace talks had been a formality by Washington’s government and Hamilton had issued the spread of countryside propaganda to denounce the claims of the rebels. The rebellion demanded concession of rights for the poor and landless Americans but this was refused in favor of military action and domestic policing to suppress the rebellion. Washington empowered the governors to establish deputized militias that would suppress the gathering of any new militias in Western Pennsylvania. Washington led the American army into Pennsylvania to put down the rebellion, appointing Alexander Hamilton the field commander after tactical control of the region was established. Most of the leaders of the rebellion fled west or into Canada, the participants captured were convicted of treason and later pardoned in 1794.



Many oligarchs viewed Washington’s actions favorably, demonstrating decisive military action and government authority in stemming rebellions and enforcing the rule of law. Anti-Federalist oligarchs became more accepting of the new Constitution following this incident but played on agrarian fears to create political distrust against Hamilton and the Federalists, promoting the power of Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr as political contenders to replace the President. Jefferson left Washington’s cabinet after the Whiskey Rebellion, the two would never speak again as Washington considered Jefferson as having a financial hand in the rebellion to undermine the Constitution and of being an agent to French interests. Washington did not trust the new French aristocracy of the Jacobins and their policies of ‘Continental Freemasonry’ which Washington felt were against the principles of traditional oligarchical rule and suggested questionable political morals. Washington’s reasoning’s brought about Republican accusations of close ties to British Freemasonry and the British Royal Family, especially following the political events of Jay’s Treaty which Washington had primarily agreed to as a means of controlling debt.

Washington’s Warning

Farewell Address

Farewell Address


George Washington’s Farewell Address was an important moment for the continuation of republicanism and for the inspiration of democracy within the new American country. Washington was deeply concerned by the civil-political divisions that Hamilton and Jefferson had generated within the new and fragile republic. Washington warns the American public that their independence from the European powers, safety and domestic peace were dependent on the unity between the states and the people. He said that because of this foreign power and domestic tyrants alike will incessantly and fervently work to divide the country to maintain control over it. Washington warns to be suspicious of anyone that promotes secession or sectionalism as a means to accomplish goals, for they are surely to be under the influence of a foreign power. He urges people to put their identities as Americans above their political, racial, and regional identities, place liberty and unity above all else as one. Washington cites several examples of how American unity benefits the welfare of the country and then warns against an overgrown military establish, which he regards as a threat to liberty and a path to military tyranny. Washington warns against anyone who states that the United States is too large to be ruled by one government or that any further state divisions are needed. He then offers strong warnings that the true motives of a sectionalist are to create distrust or rivalries between regions and people to gain power and take control of the government.

Washington points to two treaties acquired by his administration, Jay Treaty and Pinckney’s Treaty, which established the borders of the United States’ western territories between Spanish Mexico and British Canada, and secured the rights of western farmers to ship goods along the Mississippi River to New Orleans. He holds up these treaties as proof the eastern states along the Atlantic Coast and the federal government are looking out for the welfare of all the American people and can win fair treatment from foreign countries as a united nation.” He continued on supporting the Constitution over the Articles of Confederation….“and reminds the people that although it is the right of the people to alter the government to meet their needs, it should only be done through constitutional amendments. He reinforces this belief by arguing that violent takeovers of the government should be avoided at all costs and that it is in fact the duty of every member of the republic to follow the constitution, and submit to the laws of the constitutional government until it is constitutionally amended by the majority of the American people. Washington warns the people that political factions who seek to obstruct the execution of the laws created by the government, or prevent the constitutional branches from enacting the powers provided them by the constitution may claim to be working in the interest of answering popular demands or solving pressing problems, but their true intentions are to take the power from the people and place it in the hands of unjust men. Despite Washington’s call to only change the Constitution through amendments, he warns the American people that groups seeking to overthrow the government may seek to pass constitutional amendments to weaken the government to a point where it is unable to defend itself from political factions, enforce its laws, and protect the people’s rights and property. As a result he urges them to give the government time to realize its full potential, and only amend the constitution after thorough time and thought have proven that it is truly necessary instead of simply making changes based upon opinions and hypotheses of the moment.”

Washington strongly warns against the influence of political parties and their influence on a man’s right to vote. He derides them as oligarchical special interests that do not have the interest of the republic or the common good at heart. Washington was clearly referring to the oligarchical regionalism that was promoted by Thomas Jefferson which sought to benefit the Southern Planter oligarchy and prohibit Merchant Class relations with England. Washington also advocated neutrality between France and Britain, something neither party wanted to do.

“While Washington accepts the fact that it is natural for people to organize and operate within groups like political parties, he also argues that every government has recognized political parties as an enemy and has sought to repress them because of their tendency to seek more power than other groups and take revenge on political opponents. Moreover, Washington makes the case that “the alternate domination” of one party over another and coinciding efforts to exact revenge upon their opponents have led to horrible atrocities, and “is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.” From Washington’s perspective and judgment, the tendency of political parties toward permanent despotism is because they eventually and “gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual.” Washington goes on to acknowledge the fact that parties are sometimes beneficial in promoting liberty in monarchies, but argues that political parties must be restrained in a popularly elected government because of their tendency to distract the government from their duties, create unfounded jealousies among groups and regions, raise false alarms amongst the people, promote riots and insurrection, and provide foreign nations and interests access to the government where they can impose their will upon the country.”

Washington continued on in the speech to promote the new system of Venetian Government as a means of controlling the oligarchical interests, exalting the system as being able to maintain an oligarchical balance in the interest of power. He warns against the use of force and pushes the use of amendments in changing the nature of the government, referring to the violence and terror of the French Revolution occurring at the time. Washington calls for the diffusion of knowledge to prevent an uneducated populace and calls for a maintenance in ethics and morality to ensure the prosperity of culture:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” – George Washington

Washington continues with declaring that public credit is a source of strength and security. He urges the preservation of credit through avoiding war, unnecessary borrowing, and paying off war debts as quickly as possible in times of peace to prevent economic decline. He also implies that the government should choose carefully how to tax to pay off debt and that some goods and services are better left untaxed, alluding to the rebellions over Federalist excise taxes. Washington once again warns of foreign nations using espionage to influence domestic events, citing good diplomatic relations as key but that only ‘real patriots would remain uninfluenced’ by the desires and recommendations of foreign governments who would seek only their own gain. Washington warns against ‘entangling alliances’ alluding to the royal families of Europe and their warlike ambitions, recommending only treaties of convenience and trade not military commitment. He defends the neutrality of the United States and states that the US ‘has the right’ to remain neutral in foreign politics. He concludes the address by asking the American peoples to forgive his sins and failures, hoping that they will pay heed to his final warnings.

As we look at America today, we must take Washington’s warnings to heart. The state of the republic reflects that of the Articles of Confederation with oligarchical tyranny and corruption of institutions being the law of the land; Washington’s desires for the people to be able to change their government has not come to pass with ease and many age old outlying problems of the republic goon without being addressed. Solutions are stifled by the Republican and Democratic parties, owned by oligarchical entities now more than they ever were, with two studies from Princeton and a French author showing that public influence over government decisions is practically non-existent. The political parties today represent the oligarchical elite of international business with hardly a landed class or a merchant class to be represented among the internationalist power elite. They manipulate the value of our currency and the cost of goods and services in order to establish class domination and rule over government, clearly just as they always have. The Middle Class of America must come to a realization that their existence is not natural, but economically and politically unique; and that in order to retain their position of society they must keep to Washington’s warnings of vigilance about the fragility of republicanism and democracy especially among the midst of oligarchical corporate predators. Consider how far we have come since the Days of the Articles of Confederation, and ask yourself sociologically what has changed? Why do we continue to pass our decision making on to oligarchical elites? When will we be prepared for direct democracy ourselves, not held hostage by the cheque  of an elite electoral college but of a true rule by the majority, by the greater interest of the people? Shouldn’t the United States be the tyranny of the majority, a class of true freedom and liberty? Or will we forever be hostages of the wealthy’s paradise, a Venetian Republic.

-The Green Chazzan

Reference List:

Cooke, Jacob Earnest. Alexander Hamilton. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982. ISBN 0-684-17344-1.

Kohn, Richard H. (December 1972). “The Washington Administration’s Decision to Crush the Whiskey Rebellion”. The Journal of American History 59 (3): 567–584. doi:10.2307/1900658JSTOR 1900658.

Chernow, Ron (2004). Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin Press. p. 427. ISBN 1-59420-009-2.

Deconde, Alexander (1957). “Washington’s Farewell, the French Alliance, and the Election of 1796”. Mississippi Valley Historical Review 43 (4): 641–658. ISSN 0161-391X.

Wikisource: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Washington%27s_Farewell_Address

Zinn, Howard (2005). A People’s History of the United States. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-083865-2OCLC 61265580.


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Interlude: America, The Venetian Republic – Part I

Republic of Venice

Republic of Venice

America had always been somewhat modeled after the Republic of Venice. The Founding Fathers initially saw a two class society under the Articles of Confederation, with 13 states to be ruled by their own respective landed gentry and merchant class oligarchy. The Articles of Confederation system was modeled much like the Greek city-states of the ancient world with a large slave population for manual labor, an indentured servant class to manage the slave population, a freeman class for administration and merchant labor, and the oligarchical rulers themselves owners of vast swaths of land and vast swaths of people. However the uniqueness of the American Revolution in its alliance of class against a foreign monarchy and foreign gentry left a desire for freedom and culture that forced the oligarchical rulers to accept a Constitution that was modeled similarly to that of the ancient Republic of Venice. Venice itself being an oligarchical republic of cheques and balances; with a President, a Congress and a council of judges who would all be placed in constant struggle over who would rule the economic juggernaut.

American’s often forget that America was founded as a penal labor colony for England and that many white Englishmen were originally sent to the America’s to work as indentured servants or to fulfill the obligations of their criminal convictions. The first signs of a potential Middle Class, embodied with the values of God, country and freedom, emerged from the Puritan separatists that had sought religious liberty from the machinations of the Anglican and Catholic churches.

America’s history is the embodiment of class warfare; since America’s founding class struggle has emanated and ended with the United States of America. Our founding is embedded in the historical fight for freedom, the serf against the monarch, the slave against the pharaoh; American citizens from when they are born find themselves immediately fighting this struggle and they continue to do so throughout their days, bringing about their own lot to open up yet another front against the old oligarchy and the greed of aristocracy.   It is lamented upon well by many Greek scholars of old, how a republic struggles to stand between the desires of its money class and the desires for democracy from its people.

Freedom of Worship

The Puritans

The Puritans

The 13 colonies began as an overseas farming plantation for hemp, cannabis, and tobacco. In the early 1600s religious strife had wreaked havoc across Europe as the Reformation swept the continent. New interpretations of biblical law surfaced challenging the class structures of the day; the Puritans in particular demanded unlimited access to the Jewish Torah, something the Catholic Church had long forbade without strict priestly interpretation and something, James the First the King of England, was not going to simply allow without his own interpretation involved in the matter. As a result many Puritans, separatist and Calvinist-based religions fled Europe to the ‘New World’ of the 13 colonies to practice their interpretations of the bible in their daily life. Europe in their eyes had become to depraved, religion was openly mocked by the aristocracy and greed warped state institutions into a permanent societal existence of corruption that had simply crushed the faith of the peasantry.

James the First had come to fear the political power of the Puritans. The new interpretations of the Old Testament called for the abolishment of ‘inequity’ and at many times called for the death of corrupt ancient kings for bringing God’s wrath or evil, onto their lands. The religious warfare and strife was widely viewed as a consequence of God’s wrath and thus the King was for the first time in many centuries held to blame for the downfall of the kingdom. James the First however was not one to be taken as a fool; in order to secure control of the colonies in 1604 he ordered that each farmer set aside a mandatory plot of land for the production of hemp and cannabis. The order would carry out two functions: it would expand the hemp production capability necessary to stimulate a naval buildup, for England desperately needed to combat the power of the Spanish Armada and the Spanish Empire which had been at the apex of its power; and the proliferation of cannabis throughout the colonies would stave off rebellion from the growing number of Puritan colonists. James, however would make a mistake in specifying growing Cannabis Sativa in his edict, unaware of the various psychoactive suggestive properties of the ancient remedy. Exposure to Sativa would bring about revolutionary ideas on the relations between the citizen, the government and the crown.

King James I

King James I

The Puritans became a major political power within the English parliament by 1625. Charles The First, heir to the throne viewed the challenge to his powers as a monarch with contempt and further persecuted the Puritan religions using the state apparatus. John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts led a large contingent of Puritan colonists to the New World to escape Charles rule. Between the 1620s and 1640s, England became very religiously oppressive with King Charles and the Church of England censoring the Bible and issuing edicts restricting religious freedom. The Puritan colonists, finding wealth from freedom in the colonies were able to send back their gains to their brethren in England to support a revolution against the crown. The English Civil War broke out in 1642 between the Royalist oligarchy and the Puritan Republican Oligarchy led by Oliver Cromwell; the Royalists were composed primarily of the landed gentry upper class and were thus required to import German mercenaries to counter Cromwell who led the lower bourgeoisie and the Puritan/Presbyterian peasantry.

Execution of Charles I

Execution of Charles I

Cromwell invented a new military concept called the New Model Army, the first non-militia based national army of its kind which allowed for greater organizational and tactical advantage over the traditional militia based regiments of the English nobility. The Army was composed of an uneasy alliance between the Presbyterian Parliamentarians and a set of semi-royalist and uneasy nobility. After several years of brutal civil war, in 1646 Cromwell drove Charles into the highlands of Scotland which followed with a two year peace of two-state Republican rule. In 1648, the King counterattacked leading to the second stage of the civil war which was largely a series of noble revolts around England as the New Model Army had been able to consolidate its grip on England. In 1649, Cromwell overthrew the monarchy of Charles I, had him tried for war crimes and executed; establishing a new Republic under the control of the English puritanical oligarchy. The return on war loans to colonial Puritan planters would enrich them beyond expectation.

Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell

The English Interregnum was a period of rapid economic growth for the colonies and a time of great religious diversity for England and its protectorates. The Anglican Church was decentralized and independent church establishment was widely proliferated. The diversity of religion eventually led to political rivalries within just a few short years; parliament was dominated by the officers of the New Model Army and eventually in 1653 a permanent oligarchy was established under the officer corps, eliminating the prior parliamentarian promises of Cromwell. A pseudo parliament of the oligarchy was adopted for two more years until a military junta under Cromwell was established in 1655. Austere life was imposed upon the English citizenry to conform to the Puritan standards for social conduct; this had actually been a major goal of the revolution given that many felt England under the monarchy had descended into godlessness. Many left wing parliamentarian groups persisted after the war like the levelers and the diggers, seeking to bring about greater social equality as one of the pillars of the religious revolution.

The Puritan/Presbyterian oligarchy, following Cromwell’s death in 1859 saw a large power vacuum that was quickly being filled by a new religious bourgeoisie class that was calling for greater social equality and representation in parliamentary affairs. The oligarchy had attempted to impose one Puritan standard throughout the country but had failed to do so and thus began to believe that a restoration of the monarchy would be required to retain power. Charles the Second was restored in 1660, immediately executing 50 of the rebel leaders and imposing royal control over all aspects of government. Royal views of the colonies would never be forgiven as the purge of Puritan power throughout England commenced with the restoration of the monarchy. A series of subsequent parliamentary acts and royal decrees would restore the Anglican and royalist supporters of the monarchy and all but abolish Puritanical power from the English isles.

Issues in the thirteen colonies continued between the upper class families that believed in religious predestination and the concept of divine election versus middle and lower class families that believed in equality, judgment and divine forgiveness. Religious competition and bids by the Puritan authority to consolidate power had much to do with colonial management:

Those who created the colonies were the most fervent in their religious beliefs, and as their numbers began to decline, so did the membership of churches. The demographics of the churches changed because fewer men were joining. The resulting decrease in male religious participation was a problem for the established church (that is, the colony’s official church for which people were taxed and which they were expected to attend), since men were the ones with secular power. If the men who wielded secular power in the colony were absent from the church, its legitimacy would be undermined.”

Slavery was widely promoted by the Protestant upper class, citing that it was permitted in the Old Testament and thus not a sin against God. The Slave-Rum-Tobacco trade between Africa, the English Colonies and England came into formation during this time and formed a political and economic cartel that primarily functioned out of the Southern United States. Divides between the Northern and Southern United States would also begin in the late 1600s to early 1700s:

Puritan oppression, including torture and imprisonment of many leaders of non-Puritan Christian sects, led to the (voluntary or involuntary) “banishment” of many Christian leaders and their followers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This impact of Puritanism on many new colonists led or contributed to the founding of new colonies—Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire, and others—as religious havens that were created for those who wanted to live outside the oppressive reach of the existing theocracy. The power and influence of Puritan leaders in New England declined further after the Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts, in the 1690s. Beginning as a trial of one or several self-avowed witches who admitted to practicing voodoo-type rituals with malicious intent, the trials ended with a number of innocent people being falsely accused, found guilty, and executed. “

Freedom of Speech

American Plantation

American Plantation


The Thirteen Colonies became the richest European entity by the early 1700s. Europe had been bankrupted by several expensive wars of religion that lasted for almost the span of a century. The Thirteen Colonies had become dominated by enterprising Puritan interests who often defied English trade laws through local smuggling. During the English currency crises that followed the Restoration of the Monarchy, Great Britain imposed stricter mercantilist policies to stem the smuggling in the Americas, but religious conflicts at home made these policies impossible to enforce. The colonies had resorted to utilizing their own local fiat currencies over the British pound, and the secondary economy had become widely accepted and very profitable as a covert means of making transactions with other nations like France and Spain.

In 1688, King James the Second was overthrown in the Glorious Revolution by an alliance between the Parliamentarians and William of Orange-Nassau, the King of Holland. This war was funded by Puritan and Calvinist groups from both the Americas and Holland. William of Orange had seized power following the end of the Eighty Year’s War and had been behind two rebellions with England following the ascent of James II to the throne just three years prior. James II began expanding military buildup to counteract William’s already large standing army coming out of the Eighty Years War; he disbanded parliament completely and passed laws allowing complete religious freedom, even for Catholics. The appointments of Catholics to high political positions immediately triggered hatred among the Protestant oligarchical elite and another parliamentarian coup plot was hatched. The birth of the King’s son as a Catholic triggered immediate call for a coup d’etat to prevent Papal control of the English throne and an alliance with France. William of Orange invaded England, defeating the English Army and displacing the House of Stuart from the throne, becoming William III of England or William the Conqueror. Anti-Catholic riots wiped out what was left of the emerging Catholic power base and English parliament was restored under its new Dutch masters.

William of Orange

William of Orange

A new Bill of Rights was created promoting more social freedoms that had ever been allowed before. Difficulties in maintaining colonial government necessitated that voting be permitted among the white male land owning class in the colonies to make general legislative decisions; this led to the foundation of independent governance in the American colonies. Land ownership was widespread and half of all men who were not slaves were eligible to vote. The Seven Years War, also known as the French and Indian War, started in 1754 brought the colonies to the peak of their prosperity, becoming both the frontline supplier and economic middleman of another war between the imperial powers. Domination by the rich southern planters in American politics had given impetus for the northern merchant class to expand their lands into the Ohio River Valley, this led to promotion of a colonial war with the French by the American aristocracy in collusion with the British military who was already leading a series of colonial conflicts against the French. The French were outnumbered and forged an alliance with the Indian tribes to fight against the British, a rivalry which has already existed since the arrival of British colonists. The American British aristocracy, which included George Washington, the largest landowner in the entire Thirteen colonies to lead failed attacks against the French Forts in the Ohio River Valley provoking a wider war. Ironically many of the leaders of the revolutionary war would lead side by side with their soon to be mortal enemies within the high command of the British military.

Seven Years War

Seven Years War

The British would continue to suffer military defeats until 1757, when the British adopted spreading smallpox into the Indian villages. The British military blockade, which was built on premium American hemp, was successful at limiting French shipments, causing the French military to rely on shady American smugglers who often double-dealed the French transports. The Treaty of Paris in 1763, ceded Eastern Canada and the territory to the Mississippi River to the British. The presence of the British military began to heavily impact colonial life as British military officers began to commandeer homes. Lands that had been sought for expansion were restricted by the crowns as “Indian Territories” and taxes and levy’s on goods and services were increased. The crown and British Parliament had become indignant towards colonial smuggling; it had proven to be a military detriment during the Seven Years War and the British intended to stamp out the problem.  It’s highly questionable as to whether or not the Founding Fathers smoked hemp, George Washington was known to have intense gum disease and false teeth from tobacco use. Hemp was however widely used as the number one cash crop in the colonial period with the Ohio River Valley and Kentucky regions being the most prosperous.

British Parliament established the first direct tax known as the Stamp Act to stem the currency problems in the colonies; this required a British stamp on all legal documents including medications like medical cannabis, contracts, mortgages, titles, newspapers and many other official items. This allowed Britain to collect the colonial currency and take it out of monetary circulation. “In 1764 the British Parliament enacted the Sugar Act and the Currency Act, further vexing the colonists. The following year, the British enacted the Quartering Acts, which required British soldiers to be quartered at the expense of residents in certain areas.” Colonists objected to this as well. The British were turning the colonies into a de facto military colony. Britain would impose the debts of the Seven Years Wars on the colonies as an excuse for the military expansion.

13 Colonies w/ Ohio Rivery Valley

13 Colonies w/ Ohio Rivery Valley

In 1765 the Sons of Liberty formed. They used public demonstrations, violence and threats of violence to ensure that the British tax laws were unenforceable. While openly hostile to what they considered an oppressive Parliament acting illegally, colonists persisted in sending numerous petitions and pleas for intervention from a monarch to whom they still claimed loyalty. The Sons of Liberty were middle class unionists and tradesmen, lawyers, and political thugs; a small minority that had come to benefit from guild like organizations that played off the competition between the industrialist and the plantation class. They would recruit members of the lower classes to brutalize, tar and feather, lynch and publically execute British tax officials to encourage colonial violence against the authorities. The colonists felt they were being punished for being British citizens and the American oligarchy did not like what they viewed as attempts by the crown to lean on their hard earned wealth. The Townshend Acts would impose tariffs on all supplies from Britain, a move of economic subjugation in the mercantilist system. Boycotts of British goods became the colonial response including a restriction on the production of hemp, a very severe detriment to the health of the British navy which had come to rely on American hemp for ships and sails.

Duties were repealed except the one on British Tea because the British East India Company needed a bailout; Britain subsidized the tea price well below the American price and this was met with hostility by the American public. The economic warfare instigated by British parliament along with the colonial violence led to events like the Boston Tea Party and various militia revolts throughout the colonies. British parliament was split between the Tory (Conservative) and Whig (Liberal) parties who were split on the issue of the colonies; the Tories wanted direct control over the colonies while the Whigs favored subordinate but independent government. Whig party leaders however were from the British military and they had interest in establishing colonial America firmly in the military interests of Britain; the Tories were led by Lord Frederick North, The Earl of Guilford. North had ridden the success of Tory influence in the victory of the Seven Years War and had good relationship with King George III. North had experience in handling colonial wars with the first Falklands War over the South American island group with Spain. North was able to obtain French allegiance in the matter and the threat of war forced Spain to retreat from the Falklands and estranged them from France.

North viewed the colonies with contempt, as a Tory he was a royalist and had come to blame the Puritans, which now represented the colonies to most Britons, for the problems of the British Empire during the period following the Eighty Years War. In response to the Tea Party and the various American rebellions, North abolished the Massachusetts government and imposed a military dictatorship under General Thomas Gage in 1774. Gage began a campaign of disarmament throughout Massachusetts, provoking an event known as the Powder Alarm when dozens of American patriots sprang into action to ambush British troops and move supplies to new locations. This would eventually lead to the Paul Revere Incident and the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

Lexington and Concord

Lexington and Concord

The final insult would come with the Quebec Act that extended Canada’s boundaries to the much desired Ohio River Valley to the oligarchy this was the last straw. The American War of Independence would begin, as American oligarchs from both the planter and merchant class aligned to separate themselves from England. They knew that the conflicts with the British military could only increase from here, they had become far wealthier than their British counterparts abroad and did not see eye to eye religiously or politically with them. They had all descended from families that had wished to establish a new world of societal and religious freedom and that chance had finally come; the economic blockades had been effective in keeping supplies balanced, winning the war was a matter of strategy and overcoming the British military experience.  They had attempted to convince the Quebecois to join them during the First Continental Congress but they had turned down the new American oligarchy. The Second Continental Congress would convene in 1775 with representative plantation and merchant oligarchs from all 13 colonies being present.

Freedom From Want

Articles of Confederation

Articles of Confederation


The Articles of Confederation were the law of the land by 1777, however the period of the Articles was very different than how most Americans believe the founding of the country occurred. Many Americans believe following the revolution, the United States was an immediate democracy, but this is very far from the truth; the United States was originally established as an oligarchical republic under the rule of wealthy landlords descended from English nobility. American nationalists led by Samuel Adams would come to reject the Articles of Confederation as a period of oligarchical tyranny and unrest. The oligarchy had intended to formalize an administration over the inter-colonial currency system Benjamin Franklin had created. Governmental developments occurred throughout the revolutionary war and to look at the politics of the provisional government of the Second Continental Congress is key to understanding the ideologies of the upper class during this period.

The idea behind the Second Continental Congress was to form an independent government and coordinate the rebellion that had broken out at Lexington and Concord. The Continental Army was formed under the leadership of George Washington, financing from France and Holland would be provided by John Hanson, a landowner almost equal in wealth and influence to Washington. They began issuing paper money called Continentals to counter the influence of British currency and counterfeiting in the colonies. The Declaration of Independence was passed, along with the Model Treaty, a free trade agreement and the Articles of Confederation which created an oligarchical, Republic of states with a highly decentralized government composed of the reigning landed gentry. Foreign policy from the central government was impossible and state governments began to establish their own trade policies and foreign policies to suit the needs of their local oligarchies. The Second Continental Congress was highly criticized for its inability to impose taxes for military spending and were thus unable to recollect dispersed continentals to stave off inflation from over-circulation. However the Northwest Ordinance which was to establish American dominion over the Ohio River Valley was accomplished and the interests of the American oligarchy to take over the farming prospects of that area had been accomplished.

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

The mistaken perception is that many of the American oligarchs wanted the government to work during the war, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Oligarchical interests were split into three camps that competed and sabotaged processes in the interests of power. The first camp sought an independent set of nation-states based on the 13 colonies, each would be governed by its own oligarchical collective that would have a shared military interest but independent economies that would trade amongst each other favorably to retain economic advantage over Europe, who had come to depend on the colonies for trade. Another aspect of this group were the nationalists, who were primarily nobles who were military officers, who felt that their risk for independence was not only a religious duty but an ‘all or nothing’ task. The first group primarily consisted of the Northern landowners who were heavily vested in manufacturing, the middle class and small domestic plantations. The second camp sought to make war against Britain to vie for an autonomous state within the British Commonwealth that would remain in the British Empire but have nearly autonomous economic freedom and be under the rule of the landed gentry that was tied to the British aristocracy. The second group consisted of large noble landowners who feared threats to their property rights from both British parliament and the merchant class, they were largely southern planters and large Northern plantation owners. The third camp sought to ride the fence and manipulate both sides to ensure the most favorable outcomes to both their lands and loans.

The new government was highly decentralized and allowed state oligarchs to retain the most amount of power as possible. Society was stratified among the white male landowners, white merchants, white laborers and farmers, indentured servants and slaves. Taxes were not allowed to be collected and the oligarchs were content as such, believing that their position in the New World gave them strategic advantages unshared by anyone else in the world and that the civilian militias would be sufficient in repelling Indian and foreign attacks. They also believed in having a manipulative foreign policy with states having the ability to make and break treaties on their own, even at the expense of other states. The Continental Congress was supposed to retain the domain of foreign policy, but this was hardly honored by the ambitious local oligarchs who sought to use treaties to improve their financial standing.

The states themselves were viewed almost like competing oligarchical corporations operating under one confederation. They each retained their own laws, legal courts and jurisdictions that were maintained by the local oligarchs; so called ‘freemen’, which came from the English term for a man who was not bound by debt, servitude or enslavement were permitted to openly travel between the colonies and received equal treatment within each state; people considered ‘paupers, vagabonds and fugitives’ were not permitted freedom of movement and became a discriminated class, not sharing the same rights as the freemen. It was essentially a society drawn upon rigid class distinctions, much like the Republic of Venice and Greek city-states like Athens and Sparta, where being poor had been practically outlawed. The Articles outlined the collection of monies through a property tax but the sovereignty of the states allowed them to nullify the tax, disproportionate currency allotments and inter-state debts also created economic friction between the states.

In order to better control civil order, the position called The President of the Congress was enhanced, borrowing from the idea of a position in the Republic of Venice known as the ‘Doge’, with President’s only being allowed to serve one year terms. The Republic of Venice was a model for much of the American government, drawing from their congressional system known as the Gran Consiglio which was a congressional body of competing oligarchical factions; a rigorous anonymous voting process would occur to pick a member of the Consiglio to become the Doge or President and they would have the ability to administer the government and make military decisions. The Doge was almost always in constant state of political struggle against rival factions seeking to trump each other’s power within the Gran Consiglio, America’s government would be no different.

The President would be elected by the oligarchical representatives of the Second Continental Congress to make administrative decisions and settle disputes between the states; the President would also be responsible for collaborating the military generals to oversee the administrative affairs of the military. Prior to this, the position had been a congressional ceremonial role that was largely administered by John Hancock and John Jay in the First Continental Congress. The first President was Samuel Huntington who had been elected for his effective oratory and meeting skills. He regarded his position as highly ceremonial at first but soon realized the impending crisis between the cost of war debts and the increasing currency crisis that was being created between the colonies. He struggled between 1779 and 1781 to not only get the colonies to ratify the Articles but to also pay taxes and war debts to keep fighting Great Britain. Ill health forced him out of office in mid-1781 to be temporarily replaced by the lawyer Thomas MacKean who oversaw the office until the end of the Revolutionary war hostilities later that year.

John Hanson

John Hanson

Ratification of the laws would occur from 1777 to 1781, with Maryland holding out under the influence of the very powerful John Hansen who had been responsible for much of the financing of the war. Hansen was the second richest man in the colonies and controlled the decisions of the Maryland House of Delegates, its colonial government; he had competed intensely with his rival John Hancock for power within the new government. Hancock had influence within the American military for financing the armaments of the minutemen and his wealth nearly rivaled that of both Hansen and George Washington. The Continental Congress had struggled to govern and the inflation crises generated by the Revolutionary War and the lack of tax collection called for restructuring of the government. This could not be accomplished until all states had ratified the Articles of Confederation. Hansen desiring a position of power within the federal establishment bargained the President of the Congress in exchange for Maryland’s signature barring John Hancock’s ambitions for the position post-war. Hanson would dominate Congress for the following year, implementing his vision of what the Articles of Confederation meant, being a rigid oligarchical society largely built on the economy of slavery. His close relationship with George Washington was effective in spreading his influence and they often worked together politically to reach post-war goals. Hansen was known for his harsh attitude towards slaves, with slave escape attempts from his own plantation occurring even during his presidency.

Hansen’s economic policies from 1781 to the end of 1784 were exceedingly brutal for the American people. The anti-tax stance of the American oligarchy, not wanting to part with silver & gold specie payments to foreign creditors, led to decisions by the Continental Congress to allow the Continental currency to effectively devalue and default. Hansen allowed oligarchical debt to be consolidated with the national debt to stimulate competitive devaluation which led to a period of sharp food and goods inflation. The lower and middle classes, who had primarily used the continental as a means of commerce through the war suddenly found themselves with a valueless currency amidst a sharp increase in the cost of living expenses. Oligarchical entities continued their lives untouched by the economic chaos as their debts were being guilefully transferred to the state and they were able to make payments with traditional hard currency. Hansen and his influenced predecessors Boudinot and Mifflin would continue these policies by implementing austerity on the federal government as inflation increased and tax receipts continued to decline; Hansen did not believe these policies would come to affect ‘Freemen’.

At the end of his term Hansen and Washington chose Elias Boudinot, a lawyer and banker from New Jersey to succeed Hansen. Military engagement with the British had ended prior to Hansen’s term at Yorktown but the war continued on as France. America’s ally in the war, engaged in full conflict with England. Boudinot would work with the British to end the blockade and create preliminary agreements to the Treaty of Paris, his successor Thomas Mifflin would sign the Treaty the following year in 1783 but only after great difficulty in getting all of the states to ratify it.

Richard Henry Lee

Richard Henry Lee

Richard Henry Lee, a colonial aristocrat would take over the position in late 1784; his position in society was much higher and he was able to govern more independently without sponsors. Lee would attempt to resolve the economic crisis that afflicted post-war America; he tried to resolve the currency crisis by pegging the Dollar to the Spanish Dollar of the Spanish Empire. By the time Lee took office, the Continental currency had collapsed and had to be replaced by the US dollar which Lee argued could no longer be backed by collapsing public credit. Oligarchs were unwilling to adopt central banking initiatives which called for a backing by gold and silver specie. Lee negotiated the end of the British blockade and restored the American trade system to bring in more foreign currency.

Lee also denied claims by states to the Ohio River Valley, a highly contentious issue among the state American oligarchies seeking westward expansion; instead Lee claimed the land to be property of the government to be sold back to the oligarchy in a bid to reduce war debts. Lee argued the land grab was necessity because the United States had reached the limit of its foreign credit and he, like many of the oligarchs, refused to implement taxes. Lee, however found it difficult to enforce the new land ordinances without a large standing police force or frontier military to fight Indian raids and enforce laws. The economy continued to deteriorate due to foreign and domestic economic conditions despite the currency pegging agreements; mercantilist policies of both the Spanish and English empires led to price manipulation and a cabal of oligarch’s which included Lee himself used the power of Congress to transfer their own trade debts onto the state. They also nullified interstate debts using their position which led to increased financial friction and rivalry within the Union.

John Hancock

John Hancock

Domestic unrest began to intensify during Lee’s reign over opposition to the abuse of Congress and the oligarchy. The economic disparity between rich and poor had reached an unbearable state within just a few years of America’s infancy and fractured the class alliances which had formed the backbone of the American military during the Revolutionary War. John Hancock, a nationalist who had entertained a strong patriotic reputation along with George Washington, was brought in to be President of the Congress to attempt to resolve the deteriorating situation in the middle of 1775. Hancock, however, had come to resent the Congressional body as an oligarchical dictatorship and declined to attend despite his position due to excuses of ill health and political unrest. Hancock’s subtle but open disdain for the Congress led to organizations of groups that had come from nationalist factions of the government to overthrow the perceived oligarchical threat to their freedom. Following Hancock’s resignation, the President of Congress was assumed by Nathaniel Gorman in the summer of 1786, a member of the Massachusetts elite with close ties to the past regimes. During the same summer, currency pressures would intensify as a shortage of hard currency would prompt a bout of severe deflation, economic depression and heavy handed policies of domestic austerity by oligarchical governments of the states.

In Massachusetts, a large majority of the population were farmers and the deflation had forced them to sell their lands in order to raise money to buy goods and pay debts. The oligarchy used specie to buy these lands at cut rate prices and the currency manipulation became widely viewed as an attempt by the merchant oligarchy, who thrived on the import/export business, to conduct a land grab.  Also foreign debtors became wise to the attempts at competitive devaluation and demanded payment of debts in hard currency, new issuance of credit would not be permitted unless debts would be settled this way going forward creating an economic problem for the merchant class.

Despite the continent-wide shortage of hard currency, merchants began to demand the same from their local business partners, including those merchants operating in the market towns in the state’s interior. Many of these merchants passed on this demand to their customers, although the popular governor, John Hancock, did not impose hard currency demands on poorer borrowers and refused to actively prosecute the collection of delinquent taxes.”

Hancock viewed this problem as self-created by the merchant class for adopting economic policies that punished and ostracized the poor as well as refusing to make good on the merchant classes debts. After resigning his position in the Continental Congress he refused to take on another government position citing government and merchant class corruption; he was already engaged in a rivalry with the landed oligarchy, especially an ally of Richard Henry Lee, James Bowdoin, who had competed on behalf of the merchant class against Hancock for the governorship of Massachusetts.

Gov. James Bowdoin

Gov. James Bowdoin

New tensions also arose between the northern and southern states, as the Southern planters who depended on the value of food prices saw their profits crushed by the deflation and that the Northern merchants were beginning to dominate economic decision making via their access to foreign currency through trade.

The rural farming population was generally unable to meet the demands being made of them by merchants or the civil authorities, and individuals began to lose their land and other possessions when they were unable to fulfill their debt and tax obligations. This led to strong resentments against tax collectors and the courts, where creditors obtained and enforced judgments against debtors, and where tax collectors obtained judgments authorizing property seizures”.

Historian Howard Zinn quoted a farmer from that period as stating:

I have been greatly abused, have been obliged to do more than my part in the war, been loaded with class rates, town rates, province rates, Continental rates and all rates … been pulled and hauled by sheriffs, constables and collectors, and had my cattle sold for less than they were worth … The great men are going to get all we have and I think it is time for us to rise and put a stop to it, and have no more courts, nor sheriffs, nor collectors nor lawyers.”

Part 2: https://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/04/27/interlude-america-the-venetian-republic-part-2/

The Green Chazzan 



Murrin, John M. (2008). Liberty, Equality, Power, A History of the American People: To 1877. Wadsworth Publishing Company. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-111-83086-1.

Jensen, Merrill (1959). The Articles of Confederation. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-299-00204-6.

Ketcham, Ralph (1990). Roots of the Republic: American Founding Documents Interpreted. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 383. ISBN 978-0-945612-19-3.

Burnett, Edward Cody (1941). The Continental Congress. New York: Norton.

Fowler, William M., Jr. (1980). The Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-27619-5.

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Ohio Gears Up For Legal vs. Medical Marijuana Showdown

Three major initiatives working toward marijuana decriminalization are expected to have a big impact this year in the great state of Ohio; all three are still facing uphill battles to get MMJ reform through the Ohio state legislature and the contents of three bills illustrate the heart of the marijuana debate the battle between those who seek to decriminalize marijuana as a legal narcotic and those who seek to decriminalize it on the basis of a medication for patients.

Two of the initiatives are being spearheaded by the retiring liberal democrat Bob Hagan, a ranking member from Ohio’s 58th district and a classic labor Democrat politician with strong connections from Youngstown and northeastern Ohio’s Mike Foley, another Democrat with strong labor relationships. Ohio’s legalization initiative is being pushed by Keith Stroup’s NORML and the Marijuana Mafia’s Ohio front group, the Ohio Rights Group or ORG who are seeking state legalization of marijuana in Ohio along with monopolization of marijuana licenses as they have sought in so many other states. Luckily the Marijuana Mafia’s plans have been slow to action partially as ORG is significantly behind in collecting enough signatures to make the ballot by July.


First we will review ORG’s legalization bill which is the most egregious of the three. ORG’s diabolical Ohio Cannabis Rights Amendment or “OCRA” desires to establish an unaccountable licensing board that controls the states medical marijuana industry under Colorado style rules.


    • Creates an Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control which supports and upholds the rights of eligible residents; licenses, regulates and controls Cannabis for therapeutic use in Ohio; serves the public interest; and ensures statewide compliance with this Amendment.
    • Establishes a nine-member Board of the Ohio Commission of Cannabis Control consisting of two eligible residents who are Ohio voters, two Ohio farmers, a licensed medical practitioner, a licensed mental health professional, a law enforcement officer, a representative of the ODA and a representative the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). No more than four members shall be of the same political party. Initial appointments of the two Ohio voters, the two Ohio farmers, the medical practitioner and the mental health professional shall be selected by the Committee to Represent the Petitioners for this Amendment.
    • Gives Commissioners the authority to make regulations, recommendations or findings as they pertain to Cannabis for therapeutic use in accordance with this Amendment and the Ohio Administrative Procedure Act. Requires the Commission to license or authorize other personnel to regulate the therapeutic and industrial use of Cannabis within the State.
    • Authorizes the Commission to delegate the enactment and amendment of regulations, recommendations or findings pertaining to Cannabis for industrial use to the ODA, which shall implement them according to the same time table as the Commission.
    • Allows the Commission to set fees, and issue licenses, permits and fines for therapeutic Cannabis use, and for the ODA to set fees, and issue licenses, permits and fines for industrial Cannabis use.

This entire bill is designed to create a legalization cabal type structure for medical marijuana throughout the state of Ohio, and initial appointments to this unaccountable board according to this law are to be chosen by these people.


The following people are designated as the committee to represent the petitioners in all matters relating to the petition or its circulation.

Robert Fitrakis, Esq.

Linda Pardee

Connie Everett

Mary Jane Borden

Don E Wirtshafter, Esq.

Despite ORG’s overall political failures the Marijuana Mafia isn’t without an ace up its sleeve. George Soros’ Marijauna Policy Project has backed both of Hagen’s bills HB 153 and HJR 6; the latter, House Joint Resolution 6, being the focus of MPP’s support as it provides for an amendment to HB 153 to make marijuana regulated and taxed like alcohol but also provides the power of cities to ban or limit dispensaries, this behaves like a California style stealth monopolization provision for the HB 153 medical marijuana bill.

My case in point, let’s look at medical HB 153; the legislation that decriminalizes marihuana as a medicine and sets medical regulations under the Ohio Department of Health. Many growers have been concerned with the concept of regulatory capture serving the needs of the Marijuana Mafia, seeing the impact of competition rigging in medical states like California.  There are provisions in HB 153 designed to prevent regulatory capture of the Ohio Health Department by such entities as seen below.

HB 153:

Sec. 3728.13.  The department of health shall issue a registry identification card to an applicant not later than five business days after approving the applicant’s application under section 3728.12 of the Revised Code. The registry identification card shall contain all of the following:


Sec. 3728.14.  An application for an initial or renewed registry identification card shall be deemed a registry identification card on the twentieth day after the date the complete application was submitted to the department of health if all of the requirements for approval of the application have been met and the department does either of the following:

(A) Fails to approve or deny the application within the applicable time period specified in division (A) or (B) of section 3728.12 of the Revised Code;

(B) Fails to issue the registry identification card within the time period specified in section 3728.13 of the Revised Code.

Sec. 3728.15.  If, at any time after the date that is one hundred forty days after the effective date of this section, the department of health is not accepting applications from qualifying patients for a registry identification card for any reason, including failure to adopt rules under section 3728.35 of the Revised Code, a written certification for the qualifying patient together with a notarized statement by the qualifying patient of all of the following shall be deemed a registry identification card for the qualifying patient:

Sec. 3728.16.  If, at any time after the date that is one hundred forty days after the effective date of this section, the department of health is not accepting applications from primary caregivers for a registry identification card for any reason, including failure to adopt rules under section 3728.35 of the Revised Code, a notarized statement by the primary caregiver of all of the following shall be deemed a registry identification card for the primary caregiver.

These measures are very impressive, they keep competition open by compelling the Ohio Department of Health to recognize caregivers even if they fail to recognize the changes in policy; this circumvents many of the problems that occurred in California that resulted in fixed markets.


Marijuana Policy Project seeks to circumvent this by providing an amendment to the bill of which they have financially pressured Hagen to sponsor as well, which is House Joint Resolution 6 or HJR 6. Measures within HJR 6 contradicts HB 153 by trying to make marijuana regulated like alcohol and thus subject to high taxes that small and medium sized farmers can’t pay; they also seek to limit competition by allowing municipalities to circumvent the Department of Health’s regulatory authority.

HJR 6:

 (5) A locality may enact ordinances or resolutions, not in conflict with this section or with rules adopted or legislation enacted pursuant to this section, governing the time, place, manner, and number of marijuana establishment operationsestablishing procedures for the issuance, suspension, and revocation of a license issued by the locality in accordance with division (E)(7) or (8) of this section; establishing a schedule of annual operating, licensing, and application fees for marijuana establishments, provided that the application fee shall only be due if an application is submitted to a locality in accordancewith division (E)(8) of this section, and a licensing fee shall only be due if a license is issued by a locality in accordance with division (E)(7) or (8) of this section; and establishing civil penalties for a violation of an ordinance or resolution governing the time, place, and manner of a marijuana establishment that may operate in the locality. A locality may prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana productmanufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, or retail marijuana stores through the enactment of an ordinance or resolution or through an initiated measure; provided that anyinitiated measure to prohibit the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana testing facilities, or retail marijuana stores must appear on a general election ballot during an even-numbered year.


      (c) Issue an annual license to the applicant between forty-five and ninety days after receipt of an application unless the department finds the applicant is not in compliance with rules adopted pursuant to division (E)(1) of this section or the department is notified by the relevant locality that the applicant is not in compliance with ordinances and resolutions made pursuant to division (E)(5) of this section and in effect at the time of application, provided, that if a locality has enacted a numerical limit on the number of marijuana establishments and the number of applicants that seek licenses exceeds that limit, the department shall solicit and consider input from the locality as to the locality’s preference or preferences for licensure;

These clauses in HJR 6 allow municipalities to set up marijuana rackets under MPP and the Marijuana Mafia’s guidance, fixing and limiting competition to Marijuana Mafia controlled dispensaries much like they have done throughout California and Colorado. The Marijuana Mafia will bribe the local municipalities to fix who may open a marijuana dispensary in their locality, fix marijuana at very high prices, reduce patient care and push other illegal remedies, and allow entry by the black market.

In California, thanks to similar legislation to HJR 6, municipalities working with Marijuana Mafia organizations like MPP and NORML have issued municipal ‘bans’ on marijuana dispensaries shutting out competition and medical entrepreneurship, limiting dispensaries to privileged members of the Marijuana Mafia.

See: https://thegreenpulpit.com/2014/03/05/something-is-rotten-in-the-city-of-long-beach/

With all of these being said it’s very apparent that Ohio needs to say YES to HB 153 and NO to HJR 6, because HB 153 is bar none one of the best medical marihuana bills conceived in the country; it provides excellent protections for patients, caregivers, doctors and growers and allows marijuana to be used as a medicine, dispensed by medical caregivers for qualified patients who need it. HB 153 provides for open non-profit pharmaceutical competition that is regulated by an authoritative regulatory body, the Ohio Department of Health, and HB 153 provides for responses to any possible regulatory capture or government corruption contingencies that have occurred in the other medical marijuana states thanks to the Marijuana Mafia.

HB 153 also maintains marijuana as a medicine and does not subject it to anti-competitive alcohol laws. Alcohol laws subject growers to unnecessary costs which are enumerated in HJR 6 and provide for taxes that when applied to medical marijuana are illegal under federal law since marijuana is scheduled as a medication.

Looks like Ohio has a true Wild West mess on its hands, but it has a pathway to medical marihuana victory. Ohioans need to tell the Marijuana Mafia to Get Their Greedy Hands Off Of Our Medicine, Say NO to “OCRA” (how lame), Say NO to George Soro’s HJR 6 and SAY YES TO MEDICAL BY TELLING YOUR STATE CONGRESSMAN YES TO HB 153.


The Green Chazzan

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