Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country's largest cannabis patients advocacy organization, filed suit in federal court Oct. 27 challenging the Obama administration's attempt to subvert local and state medical marijuana laws in California. ASA argues in its lawsuit that Obama's Department of Justice (DoJ) has "instituted a policy to dismantle the medical marijuana laws of the State of California and to coerce its municipalities to pass bans on medical marijuana dispensaries." The DoJ policy has involved aggressive SWAT-style raids, criminal prosecutions of medical marijuana patients and providers, and threats to local officials for merely implementing state law.
"Although the Obama administration is entitled to enforce federal marijuana laws, the Tenth Amendment forbids it from using coercive tactics to commandeer the law-making functions of the State," said ASA chief counsel Joe Elford, who filed the lawsuit in San Francisco's federal District Court. "This case is aimed at restoring California's sovereign and constitutional right to establish its own public health laws based on this country's federalist principles."
The ASA lawsuit, which seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, was filed on behalf of its 20,000 members in California who are adversely affected by the DoJ actions. On Oct. 7th, California's four US Attorneys announced in a highly unusual joint press conference that the DoJ would be engaging in a multi-pronged attack on the state's cannabis dispensaries. In addition, the four US Attorneys have been sending threatening letters to several municipalities across the state in an attempt to undermine the passage of local medical marijuana regulations. On Aug. 15, the Eureka City Council received a letter from the US Attorney for the Northern District of California warning that its regulation of dispensaries violates federal law. On July 1, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California sent a letter to Chico Mayor Ann Schwab stating that the city's proposed ordinance regulating dispensaries would violate federal law. (ASA, Oct. 27)
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