The medical marijuana advocacy group, “Americans for Safe Access” is trying to use the court system to stop the raids of dispensaries in the State of California. NORML Show Live has been covering the systematic threats, closures and harassment of dozens of dispensaries in California following letters sent out to landlords by California US attorneys earlier this month. ASA, based in Oakland is suing US Attorney General Eric Holder and Melinda Haag, the top federal prosecutor in Northern California. The group is accusing them of violating the Constitution’s 10th amendment by using coercive and unfair tactics to interfere with the powers that are delegated to the states.
The medical marijuana industry in California is now faltering after its recent expansion during the early part of the Obama administration. That administration made a promise early on to end federal revenue for prosecuting state-licensed marijuana program participants. That promise has fallen flat. The present raids occurring on dispensaries are not unlike the aggressive raids that occurred during the George Bush administration. Joe Elford, the chief counsel for the ASA says that the aggressive Attorneys are not just enforcing the medical marijuana laws of the state of California. They are doing something unusual in their efforts to repress the medical marijuana program in the state. He added that US Attorneys are not supposed to be allowed to commandeer the lawmaking functions of the state. The 17 page ASA lawsuit was filed late last week. Different courts in the state have made different rulings on the matter since the marijuana initiative was passed back in 1996. A California appellate court recently ruled that municipalities can’t authorize the cultivation and distribution of a federally controlled substance by way of licensing it, but other appellate courts in the state have ruled that federal law does not trump state law in this matter. The lawsuit cites several threats by the US attorneys telling cities that officials could face federal prosecution for enacting medical marijuana policies, in Chico and Eureka and Arcata. The suit cites the specific case of a federal raid this month on a Collective in Mendocino county. The lawsuit notes on behalf of 48 year old collective member Mark Perillo who suffers from chronic pain from a degenerative joint disease that he was was deprived of his share of the harvest that police cut down and destroyed, denying Mr. Perillo of his medicine since no other delivery service provides medical marijuana at a low cost. California Attorney General, Kamala Harris warned last week that an overly broad federal enforcement program will make it difficult for many California patients to have access to their physician-recommended medicine. She urged the feds to adhere to the US Department of Justice’s policy issued in 2009 – the Holder memo – and stick to significant traffickers of illegal drugs.