Independent, but not unsupervised or unguided. This is a top-down organization, with people setting priorities. Doper busting seems to be a priority, certainly more so than the previous outfit.
Holder can tell them what they're priorities should be, but in the end, he can't tell them what to do and what not to do. And if they don't follow the priorities exactly, there's not a whole lot of recourse available to Holder. Every time I read about these incidents, it's usually mentioned that the actions were taken by the US Attorney's, and not a directive of the DOJ or Washington.
Dope is more prevalent than under the previous outfit, especially once they thought they were all in the clear. It's a false equivalency.
As for Lee and Oaksterdam, of course medicinal marijuana is a farce, but that has nothing to do with the bust. By all accounts they were completely above board. Busting them was a message job. It's also hard not to notice that Lee was one of the primary activists supporting proposition whatthehellevertheycalledit.
And the US Attorney said it was his call, based upon local law enforcement and officials requests. Not the DOJ waging a war on legal pot. Also, the fact that Lee was a primary activist clouds the fact that he was also heavily involved in the industry; they were a large, easy target, one that very questionably supplies "medical" marijuana. The fact that he was such a staunch supporter of that proposition only bolsters that argument.
Remember, I'm not supporting the actions taken, far from it; all I'm doing is objecting to where you lay the blame. I think where you lay the blame is unproductive, and doesn't do anything to solve the problem of marijuana being in illicit drug.
And the IRS wasn't simply stuck in a shitty position. This was an orchestrated effort. Honestly, I can't believe you're even suggesting that.
Shitty position is probably the wrong wording, because that implies they didn't want to do what they did. But basically, they were aptly applying the tax code, and it's ridiculous to say that a bunch of pen-pushers in the IRS following the tax code is some orchestrated effort to shut down the legal pot market. Operating costs from federally illicit activities are not allowed to be tax deductible. Marijuana production and sale is illicit under federal law. It directly follows from this that marijuana productions costs are not tax deductible. It's the completely rational and logical conclusion of the law, and that's what I would expect IRS employees to do.