Category Archives: Military

Antifa “activist” facing assault charges was tied to demorat policymakers

Antifa member Joseph “Chepe” Alcoff

This story is from February 2019 yet I thought it appropriate to highlight given the rise in Antifa’s violence and the demorats who support them.

I was not able to confirm if Alcoff is still in jail. He must be out on bail awaiting trial.

From Fox News: What a difference a year made for Joseph Alcoff.

On Monday, the 37-year-old has a court date in connection with charges he’s facing in Philadelphia that include aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation for allegedly being part of an Antifa mob in November that attacked two Marines, Alejandro Godinez and Luis Torres, both Hispanic. Alcoff and two others charged in the attack have pleaded not guilty.

But while Democratic officials are distancing themselves from Alcoff now, until recently he was a well-connected, aspiring political player in Washington who may have even had a hand in key policy proposals.

His endorsement apparently mattered when several congressional Democrats in February 2018 issued press releases with his quote backing their bill on regulating payday lenders.

As the payday campaign manager for the liberal group Americans for Financial Reform, Alcoff participated in congressional Democratic press conferences, was a guest on a House Democratic podcast and met with senior officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from 2016 through 2018.

He was also pictured with now-House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Both committees oversee financial regulatory policies Alcoff was advocating.

Alcoff met with then CFPB Director Richard Cordray and other senior CFPB officials on April 2016, again in March 2017 and a third time in May 2017, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. During this time, he reportedly was an Antifa leader in Washington.

Alcoff’s former employer had little to say about the matter. “As of December, Mr. Alcoff no longer works for AFR,” Carter Dougherty, spokesman for Americans for Financial Reform, told Fox News in an email.
Dougherty didn’t answer whether Alcoff had been fired or resigned. He also didn’t answer whether the organization was aware of Alcoff’s associations during his employment.

Alcoff was reportedly also an organizer for Smash Racism DC, the group responsible for gathering and shouting threats outside the home of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in November and for heckling Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife Heidi at a Washington restaurant in September. Reports have not said Alcoff was directly involved in either incident; only that he was associated with the group.

Democrats are hardly eager to be associated with Alcoff now. Most spokespersons for Democratic members of Congress did not respond to inquiries from Fox News, or distanced themselves from Alcoff.

In one appearance, Alcoff dressed up as “Lenny the Loan Shark” at an event last March held outside the CFPB headquarters, which featured Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.

“The congressman has never interacted with him nor has he taken any financial policy advice from him. Their names have appeared on the same piece of paper,” Beyer spokesman Aaron Fritschner told Fox News. “He appeared at the same press conference, but they didn’t speak to each other. This person was literally wearing a shark outfit.”

In the February 2018 press statement, House and Senate Democrats co-sponsoring the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act, which boosted regulation on payday lenders, issued versions of a press release, most including the Alcoff quote.

The Consumer Bureau and Congress have in the past understood the way that payday lenders structure loans to catch Americans in a cycle of debt with exorbitant interest rates,” Alcoff said in the press releases. “It is unfortunate that some in Washington would rather open the loan shark gates than continue to think about sensible borrower protections. The SAFE Lending Act would put Washington back on track to stop the debt trap.”

In August, Alcoff was a guest on the House Democrats’ Joint Economic Committee podcast, criticizing the decline of the CFPB under the Trump administration. “It’s been an incredible kind of erosion [Trump administration actions] recently, but these are really, really important basic functions [CFPB’s mission] that people across the country should be able to look to Washington and expect,” Alcoff said on the podcast.

In connection with the subsequent attack in Philadelphia, the two Hispanic Marines said the Antifa mob of about 10 or 12 attackers shouted racial slurs during the beating. Only three from the mob were identified and arrested. The attack happened at the same time as a right-wing rally in Philadelphia, which Antifa showed up to protest. The Marines who were assaulted said they were not even aware of the rally.

“On one side, you have the Proud Boys, a racist group of Nazi thugs. On the other side, you have anti-racist activists,” Alcoff’s lawyer Michael Coard told Philadelphia Magazine. “Unfortunately, in the mix, there were two Marines who were caught up in the whole thing as innocent bystanders.”

Coard, an African American activist in Philadelphia, also told the magazine regarding the alleged slurs, “The question that I have for the D.A.’s office and the police is this: Does anybody think that I, Michael Coard, would represent a racist? … I would never represent a racist. In fact, if I believed that he was a racist, I would prosecute him myself.”

DCG

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Make. Her. STOP: Obese model Tess Holliday celebrates her 34th birthday as she opens up about struggling with “stress-related insomnia” (NSFW)

Eye bleach warning (NSFW)
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Tess shares a pic of her fat ass to highlight her “struggles”

From Daily Mail: Tess Holliday marked her 34th birthday with a confident and sizzling nude snap, days after revealing she identifies as ‘pansexual’.

Posting an update to her Instagram stories, the body positive activist also claimed she has experienced anxiety and trouble sleeping for multiple nights, asking followers to send tips for ‘stress-related insomnia’.

These updates come just one week after the married plus-size model told Nylon magazine that she has recently been ‘figuring out’ her sexuality and her relationship to her ‘queerness’.

Since the interview became public, the Mississippi-born star has shared a series of heartfelt posts in defiance of those who told her she would ‘never amount to anything’.

The mom-of-two also proclaimed that ‘being a visibly fat model/public figure’ is ‘exhausting as hell’ and she longs for the day where marginalized people won’t ‘unnecessarily offend’ the world.

Tess told followers that her only wish for her birthday is that they will look in the mirror and love what they see. The self-claimed ‘proud trailer trash’ promoted the idea that ‘self love can change the damn world’ as she posed in multiple swimwear looks.

Tess celebrated Independence Day with social media sensation and actress Chelcie Lynn in San Diego, California.

Her husband, Australian artist Nick Holliday, joined in the fun, posing in a mullet and red bandana on Instagram. ‘What’s more American than wearing a mullet next to your loud, wide, obnoxious, amazing wife,’ he caption the image of the couple.

This week also marks the Los Angeles-based couple’s fourth wedding anniversary.

The model graced the cover of Nylon magazine’s July 2019 digital issue in a flirty yellow swimsuit, and during her interview, she recalled recently chatting with a man at a hotel pool in Mexico when he asked if she was bisexual.

‘I said, ‘Thank you so much for asking. I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship to my own queerness, and I think the word pansexual speaks to me more than bi does,’ she said, but it turned out the guy was only asking if she was ‘buying’ ⁠— not ‘bi.’

Tess isn’t exactly sure how to describe her sexual identity, but the interaction is proof that it is something that has been on her mind.

Read the whole story here.

I am so sick of this obese womyn who experiences “anxiety” due to her inability to put down a freaking cheeseburger.

I’ve had just about ENOUGH of this COW and her claims of perpetual victimhood.

You want to talk about “exhausting,” you fat womyn?

You want to talk about “looking in the mirror and loving what they see,” you fat womyn?

You want to talk about people who would “never amount to anything,” you fat womyn?

You, Tess Holliday, are nothing but a self-serving, narcissistic, egotistical FAT womyn trying to justify your own indulgences while ignoring the REAL sacrifices humans around the world live with EVERYDAY.

Enjoy your Instagram fame you self-centered, FAT woman.

See also:

Obese model Tess Holliday comes out as queer while her husband calls himself a “queer dad”

Make It Stop: Obese model Tess Holliday again promoting unhealthy body size

‘He is a PIG’: Plus-size model Tess Holliday dons ‘Dump Trump’ T-shirt for new fashion ad

DCG

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Happy Fourth of July, America!

Enjoy your blessings this weekend.

Say a prayer for U.S. soldiers stationed overseas away from their families.

And God Bless the USA!

DCG

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Corruption: Defense Secretary James Mattis made secret $10B no-bid Pentagon contract with Amazon

James Mattis, 68, former U.S. Marine Corps general who was widely revered by rank-and-file Marines for his blunt talk and leadership, was recruited by President Trump into his administration as Secretary of Defense, to the roaring approval of conservatives and patriots.

See “Obama regime purges 5th senior military officer: Cmdr of CENTCOM James Mattis

Mattis was defense secretary for only two years, from January 20, 2017 to December 31, 2018, after resigning reportedly over disagreement on Trump’s announcement of an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Syria. A day after Mattis’ departure, on January 2, 2019, Trump criticized Mattis’ performance as Secretary of Defense and said he had “essentially fired him.”

My post of May 24, 2019 was on what may be the real reason why Mattis resigned or was fired: At least seven months before he resigned, Mattis had put together a plan to challenge Trump in the 2020 Republican primary elections.

Now, we are told by FoxNews’ Tucker Carlson that, in addition to being disloyal, Mattis is also corrupt. As defense secretary, Mattis made a secret, no-bid $10 billion Pentagon contract with Amazon.com.

On June 14, 2019’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Carlson said (beg. 30:21 mark in this video):

“The Department of Defense exists to protect America from foreign threats and does a great job of that, thank God, but it’s also a massive consumer of tax dollars — the biggest, really. And for that reason, concerns about corruption are always there.

There’s reason to believe that over the past couple of years, some at the Pentagon had worked to enrich Amazon, already the world’s richest company. In 2017, the Pentagon announced a $10 billion cloud-computing contract. According to critics, the contract wasn’t actually competitive and was designed from the very start to be fulfilled by Amazon and only by Amazon. Several of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ aides had prior professional ties to Amazon. A key official working on the Pentagon’s cloud computing program was carrying out secret job negotiations with Amazon even as he worked on the Pentagon’s program.

And we can report exclusively tonight on this program that in March 2017, before the cloud computing contract was announced, [Defense] Secretary Mattis had a secret dinner in London with Amazon’s top cloud sales executive Teresa Carlson.”

Tuckson Carlson then interviewed Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC), the chair of the conservative Freedom Caucus and considered one of President Trump’s closest allies in Congress. What they said:

  • The Pentagon’s contract with Amazon, “the largest of its kind ever,” is not yet “in place”.
  • Rep. Meadows said the $10 billion contract “was designed” to be given to only one vendor — Amazon — with “perhaps, inside negotiations”. Meadows alluded to the Pentagon official who was carrying out secret job negotiations with Amazon as “now employed with Amazon”. Meadows calls the contract “inside baseball that enriches certain individuals“.
  • Tucker Carlson emphasized the fact that the Pentagon tried to keep secret then-Defense Secretary’s Mattis’ meeting with the Amazon official “like some national security secret,” which it is not. Carlson asks: “Why wouldn’t they be open about that?”.
  • Rep. Meadows said Pentagon’s “procurement process should be open and transparent and competitive…. Somebody as high as General Mattis being with a potential bidder on a contract of $10 billion, and even beyond that there are some suggestions the Department of Defense Inspector General is looking at this in terms of possible conflict-of-interest. So whether it be with General Mattis or with other individuals, what we want to make sure is that the American people get the best value for the dollar, and you can’t do that if you’re designing a contract to go just to one bidder.”
  • Carlson then asks: “Do we trust Amazon this service to keep the Pentagon’s data? It’s not an American company; it’s a . . . multi-national. Are we comfortable with that?”
  • Meadows replies that it’s not a matter of the company, but that this is about the American people putting their trust in Washington, DC, to “get it right”, but Washington don’t get it right all the time. “What you have basically is the Department of Defense…is so bloated…we’ve got hundreds of thousands of people that, candidly, are not necessarily investing the American people’s tax dollar in the most wise and efficient way.”

For the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” video, go to Bitchute.

~Eowyn

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Saturday funnies!

DCG

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U.S. Navy pilots reported almost daily UFO sightings 2014-2015

What are we to make of this?

The New York Times reports, May 26, 2019, that U. S. Navy pilots reported that they had seen unidentified flying objects (UFOs) almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015, high in the skies over the East Coast. In late 2014, a Super Hornet pilot had a near collision with one of the objects, and an official mishap report was filed.

The pilots began noticing the objects after their 1980s-era radar was upgraded to a more advanced system, which suggests that the UFOs had been present before, but were undetected.

The UFOs had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds. Some of the incidents were videotaped, including one taken by a plane’s camera in early 2015 showing an object zooming over the ocean waves and pilots asking what they were seeing. One pilot exclaimed: “Wow, what is that, man? Look at it fly!”

The pilots’ reports prompted the Navy, earlier this year, to issue an update of its classified guidance for how to report suspected intrusions into our airspace by “unexplained aerial phenomena”.

No one in the Defense Department is saying that the objects were extraterrestrial, and experts emphasize that earthly explanations can generally be found for such incidents. Navy spokesman Joseph Gradisher said, “There were a number of different reports.” Some cases could have been commercial drones, but in other cases “we don’t know who’s doing this, we don’t have enough data to track this. So the intent of the message to the fleet is to provide updated guidance on reporting procedures for suspected intrusions into our airspace.”

The pilots reported their sightings to a little-known shadowy Pentagon agency called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). Founded in 2007, the secretive program investigates reports of UFOs, consuming $22 million of the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget. Until October 2017 when he resigned, the AATIP was run by military intelligence official Luis Elizondo from the fifth floor of the Pentagon’s C Ring. Elizondo is quoted by the NYT as calling the sightings “a striking series of incidents.”

In interviews with the New York Times, five Navy pilots said they saw the UFOs in 2014 and 2015 in training maneuvers from Virginia to Florida off the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. The pilots are Lieutenants Ryan Graves and Danny Accoin, F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots in the VFA-11 “Red Rippers” squadron, and three other pilots of the squadron who declined to be named. In the summer of 2014, the squadron was training out of Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., for a deployment to the Persian Gulf.

Lt. Danny Accoin said he interacted twice with the objects:

  • The first time, after picking up the object on his radar, he set his plane to merge with it, flying 1,000 feet below it. He said he should have been able to see it with his helmet camera, but could not, even though his radar told him it was there.
  • A few days later, a training missile on Lt. Accoin’s jet locked on the object and his infrared camera picked it up as well. He said: “I knew I had it, I knew it was not a false hit, but I could not pick it up visually.”

Lt. Ryan Graves, who has been with the Navy for 10 years, still cannot explain what he saw. He said the UFOs showed up at 30,000 feet, 20,000 feet, even sea level. The objects could accelerate, slow down, and then hit hypersonic speed:

“These things would be out there all day. Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy. With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect. People have seen strange stuff in military aircraft for decades. We’re doing this very complex mission, to go from 30,000 feet, diving down. It would be a pretty big deal to have something up there.”

Lt. Graves said that in late 2014, he was back at base in Virginia Beach when he encountered a squadron mate just back from a mission “with a look of shock on his face” who told Graves “I almost hit one of those things.” The pilot and his wingman were flying in tandem about 100 feet apart over the Atlantic east of Virginia Beach when something flew between them, right past the cockpit. The UFO looked like a sphere encasing a cube.

The near-miss so spooked Graves’ squadron that an aviation flight safety report was filed.

What was strange was that the video showed objects accelerating to hypersonic speed, making sudden stops and instantaneous turns — something beyond the physical limits of a human crew. Lt. Graves explains: “Speed doesn’t kill you. Stopping does. Or acceleration.”

Until then, Lt. Graves and the other pilos had thought the UFOs were part of some classified and extremely advanced U.S. drone program. But the near miss angered the squadron, and convinced them that the objects were not part of a classified drone program because government officials would know fighter pilots were training in the area and would not have sent drones to get in the way.

Asked what they thought the objects were, Lts. Graves and Accoin refused to speculate:

  • Lt. Graves said: “We have helicopters that can hover. We have aircraft that can fly at 30,000 feet and right at the surface. But combine all that in one vehicle of some type with no jet engine, no exhaust plume.”
  • Lt. Accoin said only that “we’re here to do a job, with excellence, not make up myths.”

Lts. Graves and Accoin, along with former American intelligence officials, appear in a six-part History Channel series, “Unidentified: Inside America’s U.F.O. Investigation,” to air beginning tomorrow, May 31. Below is a snippet.

The pilots said the UFO sightings tapered off after they left the United States when, in March 2015, the aircraft carrier Roosevelt left the coast of Florida and headed to the Persian Gulf as part of the U.S.-led mission fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

See also “Invoking the name of Jesus Christ repels demons/alien abduction

~Eowyn

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Memorial Day 2019: President Trump and Melania at Arlington National Cemetery

Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN (photo by Frank Glick)

On May 23, 2019, knowing that he would be in Japan on Memorial Day, President Trump and First Lady Melania honored America’s fallen soldiers by visiting Arlington National Park.

For every Memorial Day, flags are placed at every headstone in Arlington.

This year, more than 260,000 American Flags were placed, including the ones planted by our President and our beautiful First Lady.

President Trump tweeted this:

We will never forget our fallen HEROES. It was our great honor to be with you today!

On this Memorial Day, while you’re enjoying the day off from work, please say a prayer for the repose of the souls of the countless American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

~Eowyn

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Honor the Fallen: Unknown Soldier Guard Places Flag Through Severe Rainstorm

From Department of Defense Twitter:

“On Wednesday, torrential rain and drastic wind gusts overcame America’s most hallowed grounds. Visitors ran for cover. News media piled into vehicles together. The streets flooded. Trees as old as the cemetery itself broke at the trunk and came crashing down.

But America’s Regiment endured. They found low ground and held fast through the wind and the rain. Some had to be to ordered to stand down from planting flags, still determined to continue to #HonorTheFallen.

One of the most extraordinary displays of discipline and dedication to duty ever to be witnessed at @ArlingtonNatl was taking place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. With only a few watching from cover, a Tomb Sentinel approached the Unknowns with U.S. flags in hand.

As thunder shook the ground & rains washed down, the Tomb Sentinel pierced through the elements w/breath-taking precision. He knelt & placed the flags in honor of the Unknowns. Humans have their limits, but @USArmyOldGuard has yet to meet theirs. #KnowYourMil”

DCG
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Months before resigning as defense secretary, James Mattis plotted to challenge President Trump in 2020 GOP primary

James Mattis, 68, former U.S. Marine Corps general who was widely revered by rank-and-file Marines for his blunt talk and leadership, was recruited by President Trump into his administration as Secretary of Defense, to the roaring approval of conservatives and patriots.

See “Obama regime purges 5th senior military officer: Cmdr of CENTCOM James Mattis

Mattis was defense secretary for only two years, from January 20, 2017 to December 31, 2018.

According to Wikipedia, on December 20, 2018, a day after Trump’s announcement of an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Syria over the objections of his national security advisers, Mattis submitted his resignation after failing to persuade Trump to reconsider. Mattis had recently said that the U.S. would remain in Syria following the defeat of ISIL to ensure they did not regroup.

Mattis’ resignation letter contained language that appeared to criticize Trump’s worldview, such as praising NATO which Trump has often derided. In his letter, Mattis wrote that Trump has “the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with [his] on these and other subjects” and that his resignation would be effective February 28, 2019. Three days later, angered by Mattis’ implicit criticism of Trump’s worldview, Trump moved Mattis’ departure date up to January 1. A day after Mattis’ departure, on January 2, 2019, Trump criticized Mattis’ performance as Secretary of Defense and said he had “essentially fired him.”

Now we know the real reason why Mattis resigned or was fired: At least seven months before he resigned, Mattis had put together a plan to challenge Trump in the 2020 Republican primary elections.

This stunning news is from Big League Politics, whose sources are:

  1. Travis Snyder, 25, an Indiana-based political consultant who was the point man for a team working to launch a Mattis Republican primary campaign against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Insiders say Snyder is close to Vice President Mike Pence.
  2. Alex Rountree, a conservative consultant whom Snyder tried to recruit for the Mattis team.

As recounted by Patrick Howley for Big League Politics, May 22, 2019, then Defense Secretary “James Mattis and some White House employees were directly aware of and monitoring a team working to launch a Mattis Republican primary campaign against President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, according to documents obtained by Big League Politics and statements from the organizers who put the team together.”

In a series of interview, Travis Snyder told Big League Politics: “My job was to see what his [Mattis’] pathway to the White House would look like. There was a very small team. I oversaw early states polling, putting together possible running mates. I did not work with the fundraising team. I solely looked at what his path to the nomination would look like, and then his pathway to the White House. General Mattis was aware of the effort. He knew of the team, who exactly brought the team together. There are people who currently serve in the White House who knew that the team was coming together. This group is no longer active.”

Snyder kicked off his Mattis whisper campaign by planting an article with Andrew Feinberg, who wrote an August 2018 piece for Beltway Breakfast headlined, “Defense Secretary Mattis Weighing 2020 Bid, Predicts He’d ‘Kick Trump’s Ass’“.

August 2018 was four months before Mattis submitted his resignation.

Mattis’ running mate prospects included Nikki Haley, the Trump administration’s U.S. ambassador to the UN (2017-2018), and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas).

Snyder said Nikki Haley and Dan Creshaw were polled as a VP nominee in the event that Mattis ran. Also Jackie Walorski, Mitch Daniels, and regional smaller named people like Staff Sergeant Johnny Joe Jones. Snyder said his team also polled Vice President Mike Pence’s chances to run against Trump, but found that Pence had no chance.

Snyder declined to name the donors to the effort or the main person organizing it.

Snyder approached conservative consultant Alex Rountree about being part of the team, but Rountree told Big League Politics he wanted nothing to do with it. Rountree had signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Snyder, but the agreement is now expired.

Rountree says he never had any intention of helping Snyder, only in exposing the establishment plot to betray President Trump. Rountree identifies Snyder as being “good family friends with Pence” and also an adviser to Jackie Walorski, the congresswoman in Pence’s old district. According to Rountree, Snyder made it appear that Pence was supportive of the primary challenge to Trump. Rountree told Big League Politics:

“He [Snyder] was fluffing around a little bit about Pence, saying, ‘Pence wouldn’t be upset if Mattis ran.’ Somebody who knew the President’s every move all the time was working with Mattis: that turned out to be (John) Kelly. They were hoping for Nikki Haley on the ticket. [Snyder was trying to put together] 15 consultants or operatives in 15 different states. He said he had a polling firm that just signed an NDA that worked for the [Ted] Cruz campaign.”

Ted Cruz’s pollster during the 2016 election was The Polling Company, the president and CEO of which was KellyAnne Conway, who resigned from the company on January 20, 2017 to become Counselor to President Trump. Snyder did not deny Conway’s possible involvement in the Mattis team.

Snyder told Rountree that the Mattis team had representatives in Arizona, Michigan, Virginia and Florida.

Below are screenshots of handwritten notes that Rountree took of his conversations with Snyder on May 16 and 17, 2018, seven months before James Mattis submitted his letter of resignation:

~Eowyn

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No surprise: After legalization, illegal pot sales boom in California

As reported by Thomas Fuller for the NY Times (via SF Gate): In the forests of Northern California, raids by law enforcement officials continue to uncover illicit marijuana farms. In Southern California, hundreds of illegal delivery services and pot dispensaries, some of them registered as churches, serve a steady stream of customers. And in Mendocino County, north of San Francisco, the sheriff’s office recently raided an illegal cannabis production facility that was processing 500 pounds of marijuana a day.

It’s been a little more than a year since California legalized marijuana — the largest such experiment in the United States — but law enforcement officials say the unlicensed, illegal market is still thriving and in some areas has even expanded. “There’s a lot of money to be made in the black market,” said Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman, whose deputies seized cannabis oil worth more than $5 million in early April.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared that illegal grows in Northern California “are getting worse, not better” and two months ago redeployed a contingent of National Guard troops stationed on the border with Mexico to go after illegal cannabis farms instead.

Stepped-up enforcement comes with a certain measure of irony — legalization was meant to open a new chapter for the state, free from the legacy of heavy policing and incarceration for minor infractions. Instead, there are new calls for a crackdown on illegal selling.

Conscious of the consequences that the war on drugs had on black and Latino communities, cities like Los Angeles say they are wary of using criminal enforcement measures to police the illegal market and are unsure how to navigate this uncharted era.

The struggles of the licensed pot market in California are distinct from the experience of other states that have legalized cannabis in recent years. Sales in Colorado, Oregon and Washington grew well above 50 percent for each of the first three years of legalization, although Oregon now also has a large glut of pot.

But no other state has an illegal market on the scale of California’s, and those illicit sales are cannibalizing the revenue of licensed businesses and, in some cases, experts say, forcing them out of business.

Entrepreneurs in the industry, which spent decades evading the law, are now turning to the law to demand the prosecution of unlicensed pot businesses. “We are the taxpayers — no one else should be operating,” said Robert Taft, whose licensed cannabis business in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, has seen sales drop in recent months.

“This is starting to get ridiculous,” he said of the illegal pot shops, including nearby businesses that list themselves as churches and advertise marijuana as a kind of sacrament. “It’s almost like the state is setting itself up to lose.”

California gives cities wide latitude to regulate cannabis, resulting in a confusing patchwork of regulations. Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and San Diego have laws allowing cannabis businesses, but most smaller cities and towns in the state do not — 80% of California’s nearly 500 municipalities do not allow retail marijuana businesses. The ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana passed in 2016 with 57% approval, but that relatively broad support has not translated to the local level. Cities like Compton or Laguna Beach decisively rejected allowing pot shops.

Regulators cite this tepid embrace by California municipalities as one of many reasons for the state’s persistent and pervasive illegal market. Only 620 cannabis shops have been licensed in California so far. Colorado, with a population one-sixth the size of California, has 562 licensed recreational marijuana stores.

But the more fundamental reason for the strength of the black market in California — and what sets the state apart from others — is the huge surplus of pot. Since medical marijuana was made legal in California more than two decades ago, the cannabis industry flourished with minimal oversight. Now many cannabis businesses are reluctant to go through the cumbersome and costly process to obtain the licenses that became mandatory last year.

Of the roughly 14 million pounds of marijuana grown in California annually, only a fraction — less than 20% according to state estimates and a private research firm — is consumed in California. The rest seeps out across the country illicitly, through the mail, express delivery services, private vehicles and small aircraft that ply trafficking routes that have existed for decades.

This illicit trade has been strengthened by the increasing popularity of vaping, cannabis-infused candies, tinctures and other derivative products. Vape cartridges are much easier to carry and conceal than bags of raw cannabis. And the monetary incentives of trafficking also remain powerful: The price of cannabis products in places like Illinois, New York or Connecticut are typically many times higher than in California.

The state’s illicit cannabis exports appear to be increasing even now, well into California’s second year of legalization. New Frontier Data, a data research company that specializes in cannabis, calculates that high demand and more advanced growing techniques will contribute to approximately half a million pounds more illicit cannabis this year compared with 2018.

The federal government still considers marijuana illegal, and the Drug Enforcement Administration says it still investigates marijuana-related crimes. But a spokesman, Rusty Payne, said the agency has a bigger crisis to attend to.

“We’ve got our hands full with the opioid epidemic to be honest,” Payne said. In wildland areas, seizures of illicit pot by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife more than doubled in 2018, the first year that recreational cannabis was legal.

The department destroyed 1.6 million marijuana plants in 2018, up from 700,000 in 2017 and 800,000 the year before — all of them illegally grown.

“There’s a subset of people who are just refusing to get into the process,” said Nathaniel Arnold, the department’s deputy chief of enforcement.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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