January 29, 2014

Fearing The Feds, Marijuana Shop On Mission Planning To Move

2441%20Mission%20Street.jpg

Two years ago the United States Department of Justice notified the owners of 2441 Mission Street that their tenant, the medical cannabis dispensary doing business as the "Shambhala Healing Arts Center," was operating in violation of federal law.

Facing a hastily drafted notice to vacate the premises, the operator of the Shambhala Healing Arts Center shut the dispensary down but reopened at the end of 2012 at which point the Fed’s sabre-rattling had seemed to subside.

Last year, however, the U.S. attorney for Northern California filed a forfeiture proceeding against the property at 2441 Mission Street, the first such forfeiture filing for a leased dispensary's real estate in San Francisco.

While the dispensary could not be legally evicted as it does not violate any state or local laws, Shambhala is now planning to move in order to kindly assuage their landlords' ongoing concern with respect to fines, forfeiture, and /or imprisonment. But they’re not planning to move too far.

The likely new location for the dispensary is 2489 Mission Street, a location which San Francisco’s Planning Department has deemed to be permitted for a dispensary business but will require a Mandatory Discretionary Review hearing before the Planning Commission.

San Francisco Landlords Caught Between The Feds And A Pot Club [SocketSite]
A Real (Estate) Attack On Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries [SocketSite]

First Published: January 29, 2014 12:00 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

I meant to post this link to an article about Haag, the US Attorney, on here earlier but I guess I had posted on the previous article from last year. But I don't see it there either. Maybe ed doesn't like it? Anyway, click on my name for some background on Haag and weed.

Posted by: Boo at January 29, 2014 3:08 PM

Seriously, doesn't the US Attorney have larger fish to fry than going after medical cannabis dispensaries?

And is this forfeiture going to some kind of administrative process because a jury of Californians is not going to convict. Think of "Brownie Mary" etc.

I am waiting for all the right-wing and Libertarian "states-rights" politicians to take a stand against Federal intervention.

Regulate and tax the dispensaries on the State level; and watch how quickly the Feds want a piece of the revenue pie.

Posted by: Jackson at January 29, 2014 3:26 PM

"While the dispensary could not be legally evicted as it does not violate any state or local laws"

This is utterly false, originally coming from some lawyer who has no idea what he is talking about. Selling marijuana is a FEDERAL crime and plainly would be grounds for being "legally evicted" (as well as federally prosecuted and imprisoned for criminal violations). This lawyer is mixing up principles of federalism and supremacy. (Jackson, SF juries convict people of unlawful marijuana sales and send them to prison all the time. I know this area of the law well.)

The supremacy of federal law is a critical component of our governance (enshrined in the Constitution at Art. VI). It is what permitted the enforcement of civil rights laws and lots of other good causes over state and local officials' objections. SF can't "choose" to violate federal drug laws that they disagree with any more than some town in Alabama can "choose" to violate abortion rights or federal gun control laws that they disagree with.

SS, you should not repeat farcical quotes like this as if they were fact.

Posted by: anon at January 30, 2014 8:24 AM

@ Jackson - ha, those right-wing states are some of the worst offenders - think Arizona passing the law requiring local law enforcement to check the immigration status of suspected illegals (because the feds wouldn't), or Virginia coming within a vote or two of requiring a woman to get an invasive ultrasound before getting an abortion. The right-wing grumpiness about government intervention is simply against government intervention in things they don't want; they're more than happy to use the government as a tool to achieve their own desires.

Posted by: Sierrajeff at January 30, 2014 11:45 AM

Boo, I am not a lawyer, but i'd like a link to the federal complaint.

The comments above sympathetic to the operator of the dispensary are simply assuming that the business is engaged in legitimate Prop. 215 distribution.

Unfortunately, the feds have found in several cases that some legal dispensaries have augmented their medical cannabis lines of business with selling recreational marijuana to anyone who wants it, to the point of keeping dual sets of books and engaging in money laundering for themselves and other street-level sellers.

So even if the place was operating in compliance with state law, the feds could still have a case against it, even without the particular US Attorney having an animus against the Compassionate Use Act.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at January 30, 2014 12:27 PM

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