Officials in Mendocino County revealed Jan. 11 that the US Attorney's Office in San Francisco had threatened to sue the county over its medical marijuana cultivation permit program, prompting its suspension. The warning was delivered at a Jan. 3 meeting between County Counsel Jeanine Nadel and representatives of the US Attorney's Office, Nadel said. County supervisors are scheduled to review the permit ordinance on Jan. 24. The program was also suspended pending the outcome of a Southern California court case that tests the legitimacy of issuing permits for cannabis-related endeavors—the reason given by officials at the time of the suspension on Jan 9.
Nadel said in a Jan. 11 press release: "In response to the threat of litigation made by representatives of the US Attorney’s Office and ongoing concerns regarding the effect of the recent court ruling in the case of Pack v. Superior Court of Los Angeles (Long Beach), the Board of Supervisors directed that a review of County Code Section 9.31 be on the January 24, 2012 Board agenda. At that time County Counsel Jeanine Nadel will present proposed amendments that will conform to the Pack decision and the concerns expressed by the US Attorney’s Office."
County Supervisor John McCowen, who was instrumental in drawing up the county's permit ordinance, criticized the threat and the federal crackdown on medical marijuana operations in California. He said such actions "will have the effect of driving medical marijuana back underground, making it more illegal, profitable and dangerous." (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Mendocino County press release, Jan. 11)