Supes defer MCD landlords resolution
By Ari Burack
February 13, 2008
A San Francisco Board of Supervisors resolution condemning federal
authorities for sending landlords who lease space to pot clubs
letters notifying them of the possibility of imprisonment and
seizure of their property was postponed today after one supervisor
The resolution calls the letters -- issued in December by the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to about 50 Northern California
landlords, some in San Francisco -- "misguided and sensationally
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who represents neighborhoods in southwest
San Francisco, said he wanted the opportunity to go on record
against the resolution and asked that a vote on it be deferred.
The resolution was part of a group of resolutions that would have
passed or failed as a group, by unanimous vote and without specific
According to Elsbernd, a few medical marijuana clubs in his district,
along Ocean Avenue, "have caused an inordinate amount of
neighborhood concern and I don't want to be on record as supporting
District 7 Supervisor Sean Elsbernd
Supervisors will now vote on the resolution individually at their
Feb. 26 meeting, when Elsbernd will register his "no"
vote. Elsbernd acknowledged the resolution would likely pass.
The resolution was authored by Supervisor Chris Daly and co-sponsored
by supervisors Jake McGoldrick and Ross Mirkarimi.
According to DEA spokeswoman Casey McEnry, "the letters
were sent out basically as a courtesy," informing landlords
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.