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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pot Club Crackdown Continues, Judge Rejects Demands to Stop Feds

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 5:30 PM

Up in smoke
  • Up in smoke
A judge has ruled that she would not interfere with the feds' efforts to shut down medical marijuana dispensaries across California.

Oakland U.S. District Court Judge Saundra Armstrong ruled on Monday that pot clubs failed to show that  the federal government was violating their rights by cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries in the state where medical cannabis is legal.

"The Court is sensitive to the desires of individuals to use medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation, as permitted by California law," Armstrong wrote in a 27-page ruling filed earlier this week. "Nonetheless, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and in Congress' view, it has no medicinal value."

In September, U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag issued a letter to landlords of five Bay Area dispensaries that were located with 1,000 feet of parks or schools, warning them that they either had to close up shop or have their properties seized and operators thrown in prison. Since then, three dispensaries in San Francisco closed, and one in Oakland relocated. Last week, Haag began forfeiture proceedings for the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana.

Pot clubs, attempting to fight this abrupt crackdown,  filed lawsuits three weeks ago, claiming the feds aren't playing by their own rules. Dispensaries said memos that came from the federal government led them to believe they would not be prosecuted as long as they followed state medical cannabis laws -- which they did.

However, Armstrong had a different take on those memos, saying they were not to mean pot clubs were exempt from federal scrutiny, and thus the recent crackdowns.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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