It's a question every modern California parent has run up against at one time or another: How do I explain the Justice Department's continuing crackdown on medical marijuana clinics in a way that my six-year old can easily understand?
Heres an idea: "There was once a land called NorCal, amongst the cannabis trees, and the folks who smoked their flowers lived a happy life in peace. But an ancient law dictated that all cannabis is bad, so the G-men confiscated every flower that they had."
So begins "The Haag," a YouTube video retelling the story of the federal government's quest to destroy medical marijuana in California, all done in the style of Dr. Seuss.
The title is a reference to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, who has spearheaded the government's efforts to shutter California's pot clubs and has drawn the ire of medical marijuana activists around the country.
"It was the Haag, U.S. Attorney, who corrupted with her power, set out to bring destruction of every last cannabis flower," recites the video's sing-song narrator, as a blue-faced monster representing Haag attacks peaceful cartoon marijuana patients.
The concept was conceived by noted local medical marijuana attorney James Anthony and written/illustrated by Goose Durante (aka Dr. Guess).
The video is an animated version of a play first performed last July during a protest in front of Oakland's City Hall, only a few miles from Harborside Health Center. Harborside, the nation's largest medical marijuana dispensary, has been engaged in a fight to stay open against a skittish landlord and federal officials hell-bent on shutting it down.
Earlier this month, a U.S. District Court Magistrate ruled that the club could remain in business.
In a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, Haag explained her reasoning for going after Harborside:
I now find the need to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as Harborside. The larger the operation, the greater the likelihood that there will be abuse of the state’s medical marijuana laws, and marijuana in the hands of individuals who do not have a demonstrated medical need.
The filing of the civil forfeiture complaints against the two Harborside properties is part of our measured effort to address the proliferation of illegal marijuana businesses in the Northern District of California.
The personal backlash against Haag has been growing in recent months. She recently cancelled an appearance at San Francisco's Golden Gate Law School after a protest against her medical marijuana crackdown was planned in front of the building where she was to speak.