Court sides with Feds in pot club dispute


Blatantly disregarding a California law allowing the selling of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the Justice Department last year began to ramp up its crackdown on legal dispensaries.

They often employed questionable tactics to get their way, like bullying and threatening dispensaries owners and their landlords into closing up shop. The pressure has caused several San Francisco shops to close, along with many more around the state.

Marijuana advocates didn’t take it lying down. They have filed lawsuits in San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, and Sacramento.

But the suits have not exactly received a warm reception. This week, a judge in Sacramento threw out one of the four lawsuits on the grounds that their argument was not valid.

Their case was built on a 2009 memo from the Obama administration that seemed to indicate individuals and collectives would be left alone if they complied with state law. Which most have done, to the letter.

However, U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell said that the memo being referenced was not a binding promise  — just a “statement of priorities.”

The plaintiffs have promised an appeal.

The lawsuit filed in San Francisco by advocacy group Americans for Safe Access is still awaiting action by the court. Their argument centers on a question of constitutional authority, saying the Feds are trampling state’s rights.

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