Medical Marijuana Lawyers Challenge Feds to Bust All Pot Dispensaries or Bust None

Categories: Marijuana
hamilton6.jpg
Pretty sure Hamilton was a pot head
It's rarer these days, but you can still find some medical marijuana purveyors fond of saying how much they welcome the federal government throwing them in prison for decades.

Each dispensary in San Francisco, for example, violates the Controlled Substances Act -- hundreds, if not thousands of times a day. Legally, Uncle Sam could lock up nearly every marijuana collective operator in California, if that's what the feds wanted to do. But no collective is asking them to do that, of course, especially not after the U.S. Attorneys in California began their crackdown on the state's medical marijuana industry a month ago. But that is, in a very real way, kinda what the  Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group, did when it filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court.

"The 10th Amendment forbids [the government] from selectively employing coercive tactics" on state and local governments to compel them to do its bidding in waging the war on drugs, reads the complaint filed in federal court Thursday. In other words, the government should lock up every violator, or none at all. Also, the federal government can't spook local and state governments so badly that it essentially forces the states to use cops to dictate policy.

Could this be the landmark case that lands the government's War on Drugs before the Supreme Court? Maybe -- and that's something. Bear with us as we wax Hamiltonian and get all Federalist: The Constitution's 10th Amendment reserves powers not specifically delegated to the Congress and federal authority to other governments, as in state or local governments. While marijuana is federally illegal, state and local governments can, nonetheless, make their own laws and must, according to the piece of paper (probably drafted on hemp paper, just like the Declaration of Independence) legally binding our states together, be left alone to do so.

The lawsuit does not attempt to overturn federal authority or change federal marijuana laws; it essentially uses federal law against itself. "Under the 10th Amendment, the government may not commandeer the law-making functions of the state or its subdivisions directly or indirectly through the selective enforcement of its drug laws," the lawsuit alleges. It's the "misuses of the Commerce Clause powers, designed to deprive the state of its sovereign ability to chart a separate course" that's the thrust of ASA counsel Joe Elford's suit.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, named as the chief defendant in the suit, offered no comment to SF Weekly. But it appears the government may have created a monster with some recent missives.

The feds mailed notices to the cities of Chico and of Eureka, informing them that their dispensary ordinances violate federal law. The feds also sent letters to Oakland city officials, informing them that permitting marijuana factories would subject them to prosecution. That's the legal error: Locking them up is fine, but telling them how to run their cities is anathema to the spirits of Madison and Hamilton.

"I like this lawsuit," said San Francisco attorney Kenneth Wine (and as he should, seeing how he represents violators of federal law in federal court).

"While the federal government and its agents can do what they like in enforcing the federal criminal laws, they cannot compel the state to assist them," Wine said. "I suspect this case will cause the federal government in California to be very careful in the way they address state and local officials. Certainly, the threats and coercion against state and local officials by the U.S. Attorneys must stop, and likely will. For the feds to do otherwise is to put their marijuana enforcement strategy in jeopardy."

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Tim Giangiobbe
Tim Giangiobbe

Melinda the Hag is ROGUE and this is all part of an effort that seems to go beyond the USA lately as Amsterdam Police RAIDED the Cannabis cup Today for the first time since they organized  24 years ago. EVIL EVIL EVIL 

rsteeb
rsteeb

The prohibition of Earth's most potentially beneficial plant species is a crime against humanity.  The "Justice" Department's extortion scam is about to be cease-and-desisted.  Word.

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Of course the lawyers would love that.  They'd have so much business . .. the lawyers don't want pot decriminalized, because they would have to go hustle for business.  The "activists" like NORML and ASA would be like deadheads after Jerry died if pot were decriminalized.  And if it's illegal to lease to a dispensary, then no elected or appointed official of local or state government should be allowed to take ANY revenue, call it taxes, fees, whatever.  Because that's racketeering!

Vincent Von Dudler
Vincent Von Dudler

There is a way to ensure the federal government doesn't raid any more medical marijuana dispensaries.  We need to remove its power via legislation.  Pass H.R. 2306 and limit the federal government's power to enforcing only cross-border trafficking.  Regardless of how you stand on the marijuana debate we can all agree it should be left up to the states and the federal crackdown is an abuse that California should not have to tolerate. Tell your representatives -> http://pvox.co/CdiFqY"[Prohibition] attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes." - Abraham Lincoln

sisterlauren
sisterlauren

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Tim Giangiobbe
Tim Giangiobbe

That's what the OCCUPY MOVEMENT is doing a huge redress of Gri

Elizabeth Frantes
Elizabeth Frantes

Congress needs to do one right thing and DUMP THE ENTIRE SCHEDULE LAW.

John Patrick-Thomas
John Patrick-Thomas

Why does nobody understand that the Constitution is the law of the land, not the bench of a judge. The constitution states the laws will come from the states not by federal dictationThe Federal Governement was never supposed to be incharge of the States. The Constitution states the laws that each state wants supercedes all Federal Governement. The states may chose to make there OWN LAWS that are different from neighboring States.JThomasCalif.

Farouete
Farouete

No, you get it legally wrong. Yes, Constitution is the law and States have the right to make their own laws but only as long as they do not run afoul of federal authority that trumps. It's the doctrine or preemption and clearly federal law preempts this controlled substance. 

HermitatLarge
HermitatLarge

The 10th Amendment also reserves these rights to the people, though I suspect that California has more leverage.

Timothy Leary Byrnes
Timothy Leary Byrnes

I do love this. All cities across the country ought 2 rise up in protest!

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