Oakland, Berkeley Both Fighting Cannabis Crackdown; San Francisco Not Joining Anytime Soon
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It may be time to face facts: The East Bay is simply more down with marijuana than San Francisco.
The City of Berkeley has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice in an attempt to block federal prosecutors from seizing the property that houses the medical marijuana dispensary Berkeley Patients Group, Berkeleyside is reporting today.
So the East Bay is fighting the crackdown. In San Francisco, the home of some of the Democratic Washington establishment's heaviest hitters? Not so much. A recent letter from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, telling the feds to respect local medical marijuana laws, didn't even earn Mayor Ed Lee's consideration.
San Francisco has seen eight dispensaries closed due to the federal crackdown on California's state-legal cannabis industry since October 2011. These city-licensed clubs, which have yet to violate local or state law -- they did break the federal Controlled Substances Act by providing medical cannabis -- all received letters warning of stiff fines or property seizures unless the pot sales stopped.
The federal government can, by law, seize properties -- including cash and goods as well as real estate -- that were acquired via the sale of illegal drugs or are used to sell illegal drugs. That would mean any place in the state where a dispensary is located could be seized.
Asset forfeiture is a relative newcomer to the federal war on medical marijuana, and has been a more useful threat than reality: Harborside's case, filed nearly a year ago, is still in the courts, and the dispensary has remained open.
But there's also little doubt that the city family in S.F. is just not that into fighting the feds on drug policy. At its meeting in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution that asked the federal government to respect local drug policy.
Lee did not sign -- but he did support some tech initiatives, his spokeswoman told us.