Newspapers Caught in Email Hoax by Medical Cannabis Group – US Attorney Vows Legal Action

by on August 1, 2012 · 0 comments

in California, Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Culture, Health, Media, San Diego

Yesterday – July 31 – witnessed a page right out of the annuals of Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin – pranksters from the Yippie days of the Seventies: several newspapers, including the prestigious LA Times and our local San Diego Reader, ran stories about how the US Attorney in San Diego, Laura Duffy, was starting to target pharmacies for illegal sales of  drugs. (See this story from San Diego Free Press.)

The stories were sent to the media by emails that purported to be from Duffy’s office.  But the emails were discovered to be phonies and Duffy had to send out her own email saying so.  Hours later at a press conference, Americans for Safe Access, a national advocacy group for medicinal cannabis with a local chapter, announced that they were responsible for sending out the false emails.  Eugene Davidovich, the head of the local chapter, stated that it was a “satirical” way for his group to call attention to the federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries. He called it civil disobedience.

Yet, Laura Duffy, in her own press conference, warned that it is against the law to impersonate a federal officer, and that the crime carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.  The FBI is investigating. Duff also said that the characterization of the prank-like hoax as “satire” does not change anything. “This matter will remain under investigation to determine if it’s appropriate to file charges,” she said.

Here’s the beginning of today’s U-T San Diego article on this:

Hoax claims legal drugs crackdown; feds unamused

SAN DIEGO — An elaborately staged hoax that included fake notices about the shutting down of beach-area pharmacies and two letters purporting to be from U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy took several bizarre twists Tuesday before the real players behind it were revealed — medical marijuana activists.

Laura Duffy, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, said her office focuses on illegal immigrants with the most serious criminal records.

The San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s largest medical cannabis advocacy group, took responsibility for the scheme at an afternoon news conference.

Local coordinator Eugene Davidovich said it was a “satirical” way to call attention to Duffy’s crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries for closure and possible prosecution and asset forfeiture.

For the remainder of this article, please go here.

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