Pot clubs want end to harassment

February 11, 2008 3:58:19 PM PST
San Francisco supervisors Tuesday will consider a resolution condemning federal authorities for issuing landlords that lease space to pot clubs letters notifying them of the possibility of prison and seizure of their property.

The resolution calls the letters -- issued in December by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to about 50 Northern California landlords, some in San Francisco -- "misguided and sensationally threatening harassment."

The resolution, authored by Supervisor Chris Daly and co-sponsored by supervisors Jake McGoldrick and Ross Mirkarimi, will be considered at the full board's meeting Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.

According to DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry, "the letters were sent out basically as a courtesy," informing landlords that the cannabis clubs were operating on their property, constituting a violation of federal law, the penalty for which includes seizure of assets, including property, and up to 20 years in prison, she said.

In the past, said McEnry, the DEA would notify landlords after raids on marijuana dispensaries.

"This is a different approach," she said. "We're hoping that people comply with federal law," she added.

The resolution, which reaffirms San Francisco as "a sanctuary for medical cannabis," states that the DEA "has repeatedly subverted and undermined California's, and many other states', laws governing medical cannabis."

It also accuses the DEA of "increasingly acting on its irrational policy and hysteria regarding medical cannabis specifically, and the so-called War on Drugs in general."

According to the resolution, medical marijuana dispensaries are a health and safety issue that should be governed by the state of California. The resolution pledges to support "lawfully operating" cannabis dispensaries and property owners who lease to them. Those facing federal prosecution would receive the support of the city attorney, according to the resolution.

The resolution also calls on the U.S. Congress to investigate the conduct of the DEA and to revise federal law to authorize states to legalize medical marijuana.