Marin Alliance For Medical Marijuana Dodges Feds -- for Now

Categories: Marijuana
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Praise Legalists
Second SF Dispensary Closes Under Federal Pressure

An eviction notice was never so welcome.

Last Wednesday, California's oldest storefront medical marijuana collective, Fairfax-based Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, received an eviction notice from its landlord -- which means the dispensary gets to defy the federal government's new war on medical marijuana and remain open, for now.

You see, MAMM is one of the at least five Bay Area medical marijuana dispensaries which received letters from Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for Northern California, at the end of September. The letters, addressed to the property owners renting to the dispensaries -- which were within 1,000 feet of parks or schools -- gave a 45-day deadline to close up shop or risk property forfeiture and lengthy prison terms.

Three San Francisco dispensaries also received letters from Haag at the end of September. All have either closed or relocated as of Monday, with the second to close, Medithrive, shutting its doors Sunday evening.

But since MAMM was served with an eviction notice which it is now contesting in court, the feds' 45-day mark has come and gone -- so MAMM is still selling medical cannabis, according to founder Lynette Shaw.

"The landlord was able to tell the feds we are in the process of being evicted," Shaw said. "That keeps us in the process in the civil arena ... and while we are in the process, we are absolutely not going to close."

Shaw's $2,500 monthly lease on the property runs through April. Her only regret is that the lease isn't longer, she told SF Weekly on Monday. "I wish we had a lease for five years more, not five months," she said.

While we are no legal scholars, the situation is clear: Landlord-tenant law is the purview of state and local government, not the feds; interrupting eviction procedures would constitute an abuse of the Tenth Amendment, the very law which is at the center of two lawsuits filed against the federal government by medical marijuana patient advocates. "They won't break the Constitution over marijuana," Shaw said. "It's funny -- we now have more rights than we've had for a long time."

It's unclear how Haag's office will react. In a brief e-mail exchange Monday with SF Weekly, Haag said only "now that the deadline has passed, we will look at the current status and make decisions based on the individual facts and circumstances."

Federal law enforcement officials have not contacted Shaw or her dispensary, she said.

No eviction notices "saved" San Francisco's Divinity Tree Wellness Co-Op, whch sold through the last of its stock and shut its Geary Street doors -- for good, judging by the tearful hugs shared by the budtending crew at the end of business Friday night -- last week.
Mr. Nice Guy, formerly located at 174 Valencia St., has reportedly moved to a nearby location and is now delivery-only.

On Monday, a spokesman for Medithrive confirmed the Mission District dispensary -- quite possibly San Francisco's largest, with 26,000 registered patients -- shut down as of Sunday, though only "temporarily," according to the outgoing message on the dispensary's telephone line.

"It's a fluid situation," said dispensary spokesman PJ Johnston, who noted that Medithrive has decided to join Shaw in the lawsuit filed against the federal Justice Department last week as a co-plaintiff. "We hope to force the federal government to engage in rational dialogue on this issue."

That could happen as soon as this week. The government's response to the initial court filing last week is due today [Tuesday], and a judge could schedule a preliminary hearing as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, Johnston said.

In the meantime, an unknown number of dispensaries statewide have yielded to federal pressure and shut down. The number is in the "dozens," according to Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, a medical cannabis users' advocacy group. "Keep in mind there are over 1,000 dispensaries in California," Hermes said. "The more important point to make is how many landlords and facilities across the state are calling the feds' bluff and remaining open despite the threats."

As of Monday, there are no reports of eviction proceedings or raids against defiant dispensaries, thought the feds' overall intent is clear, according to Shaw.

In a conference call with her attorneys, lawyers for the Justice Department said "they intend to remove the entire cannabis industry," Shaw said.

"They're starting with us," she said.

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10 comments
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damspam
damspam

So the Feds are enforcing laws based upon proximity to a school? What federal law does that violate? Since when does DOJ go around enforcing zoning laws? Selective enforcement is grounds for appeal.

Doob Tubes
Doob Tubes

Appalled shocked and sickened by the actions of the federal government.  I guess our budget improved overnight and we no longer need all the tax revenue or jobs that our clubs/dispensaries have generated for all these cities.  My small shop paid 80,000 in just taxes for sales in 1 year.  How sickening.  As far as I know, my staff moved on to other dispensaries, and I remain with Doob Tubes.  Every dispensary that shuts hurts other businesses as well.  The packaging companies, cleaning supplies, furniture, everything we use comes from a "legal"company.  They will have legal businesses like myself falling victim as well as all our clients are shut down, or taken..  What a flipping world.  Yes, we need to occupy and gather even to be heard, but we know how that usually ends, tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets.  They really don't care what the people want, vote for or need!!!

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

Prohibition is actually an authoritarian war on the economy, the Constitution and every civic institution of our once great and free nation.

It's all about the market and cost/benefit analysis. Whether any particular drug is good, bad, or otherwise is irrelevant! As long as there is demand for any mind altering substance, there will be supply; the end! The only affect prohibiting it has is to drive the price up, increase the costs and profits, and where there is illegal profit to be made criminals and terrorists thrive.

The cost of criminalizing citizens who are using substances no more harmful than similar things that are perfectly legal like alcohol and tobacco, is not only hypocritical and futile, but also simply not worth the incredible damage it does.

Afghani farmers produce approx. 93% of the world's opium which is then, mostly, refined into street heroin then smuggled throughout Eastern and Western Europe.

Both the Taliban and the terrorists of al Qaeda derive their main income from the prohibition-inflated value of this very easily grown crop; Prohibition is the "Goose that laid the golden egg" and the lifeblood of terrorists as well as drug cartels. Only those opposed, or willing to ignore this fact, want things the way they are.

Kindly Google: A GLOBAL OVERVIEW OF NARCOTICS-FUNDED TERRORIST GROUPS

Prohibition provides America's sworn enemies with financial "aid" and tactical "comforts". The Constitution of the United States of America defines treason as:

"Article III / Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

Support for prohibition is therefore an act of treason against the Constitution, and a dire threat to our nation's civic institutions. Each day we remain silent, we help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of our own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­’s Inquisition or Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge­, it’s supporters are servants of tyranny and hate who’s sole purpose is to make the rest of us suffer their putrid legacy of incalculable waste and destruction.

Prohibition Prevents Regulation - Legalize, Regulate & Tax!

Leland Cole
Leland Cole

Since the government threat is actually against the landlord, not the tenant, the eviction notice will be seen by the  state court as a different issue then the threat from the government,   as the landlord  is being threatened with losing the property to the government - and although that is what is  motivating  the landlord to evict , it is the landlord doing the eviction, which he/she could choose to refuse to do- but probably will not do this, and instead may  testify in state and federal court, that the threat from the government, is forcing him/her to send  the eviction notice , not because of  his/her own free will to do so.                                                                                  

Then the state court will  have no choose but to rule that it remains a valid eviction regardless of these facts, and order it to go ahead, and in doing so, opens the door for a further federal court  injunction against the eviction, of which  the state court will accept as the federal injunction will remain supreme for sometime into the future, while the federal suit continues  and the court considers the issues before it. This then, allowing Shaw's dispensary operations to continue during the federal  process-a process that will take an unknown amount of time-giving Shaw , a freedom  to operate that has not existed before-just as she has said.                                                          As to the final ruling of the federal court, regarding the tenth amendment issues , Shaw herself may not be around for it, as her personal tax  and other problems with the state, offer a bleak future for her personally. Should the federal court eventually,  rule in favor of the government, then the closure will happen, regardless of where Ms, Shaw is at the time.  On the other hand, should the federal court rule in favor of the side moving for the relief under the tenth  amendment, then the dispensary may remain open , and it could be  run by others, regardless of where Ms. Shaw is at that time-which anyone who has an  understanding of  the etiquette  of mellow Marin County California  knows,  would most certainly happen, under such conditions .

-Leland Cole

Tristan
Tristan

It's funny that stoners seem to know more about the law than the Federal Government.   I was out in LA last Friday and there were 100s of tents parked outside of City Hall.  I'm sure they are loving that lol

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

A prison cell is too good for Melinda Haag.

Michael Andrew
Michael Andrew

really? so we're cracking down on medical marijuana, when there's criminal bankers taking government money ten times and more what was ever even authorized, depositing it anonymously in foreign banks, deliberately devaluing our currency - this is our priority? trampling on the right of sick people to medicine?  It's time that we show the feds that they CANNOT bully the majority into submission simply because they say something is bad. Regulate marijuana like wine - For states' rights, if for nothing else. The federal government is out of touch with Californian values, and out of line.

Joey Danger
Joey Danger

Lets see... They try supporting a new initiative to try to rewrite California State law that allows medical use which they are not following anyway. Then they sue the feds for upholding federal law which they are also breaking. But what they never do or have ever tried to do is change federal law. whining about Obama is not very convincing. How about our State Senators or Congresspeople? Very strange...

Elora Flocka Flame
Elora Flocka Flame

My FAVORITE dispensary is now closed and I have the government to blame. BRICKS ARE GETTING THROWN. I am seriously ready to riot in the streets because if MARIJUANA SMOKERS are the top fucking priority for our feds then NO ONE IS DOING THEIR JOBS EVEN A BIT. PICK SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE TO DEVOTE ENERGY AND PROSECUTING TO!!!!!! MORONS. I SWEAR ANY ONE OF MY FRIENDS COULD RUN THIS COUNTRY BETTER THAN THESE MONEY-HUNGRY PARASITES SUPPOSEDLY REPRESENTING US. fix REAL WORLD problems instead of creating issuses about a system HELPING PEOPLE WITH CANCER, DEPRESSION, ANOREXIA, INSOMNIA. 

James Burtnett
James Burtnett

Remove the Entire Cannabis Industry I really can't see our citizens allowing our OWN GOVERNMENT to TRAMPLE on OUR CONSTITUTION they can't WIN in the Middle East so they BEAT UP THEIR OWN PEOPLE OVER HERE! What a CHICKEN SHIT GOVERNMENT WE HAVE! 

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