Supes call for end to Federal 'harrassment'
of medical cannabis dispensary landlords
By Ari Burack
February 12, 2008
San Francisco supervisors today 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
The resolution, authored by Supervisor Chris Daly and co-sponsored
by supervisors Jake McGoldrick, Ross Mirkarimi and Tom Ammiano,
will be considered at the full board's meeting this 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
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
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.