Democrats seek to re-open closed dispensaries & call for passage of statewide regulations
San Francisco, CA–(ENEWSPF)–April 27, 2012. The San Francisco Democratic Party adopted a resolution yesterday demanding that President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag “cease all Federal actions in San Francisco immediately, respect State and local laws, and stop the closure of City-permitted medical cannabis facilities.” The resolution was co-sponsored by 21 members of the party’s Central Committee (DCCC) including: its author Gabriel Haaland, Assembly member Tom Ammiano, State Senator Leland Yee, Supervisor David Campos, Supervisor David Chiu, former State Senator Carole Migden, and former Supervisor Aaron Peskin.
At least 5 permitted San Francisco dispensaries have been forced to close in the last few months as a result of the Obama administration’s heightened attack in California. The operators and landlords of these and several more dispensaries were threatened with federal criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture in an effort to shut down access points for the city’s tens of thousands of qualified patients. San Francisco has been especially hard hit since October, when California’s four U.S. Attorneys escalated an already vigorous federal campaign against medical marijuana.
The DCCC argues that, “the U. S. Attorneys in California are not targeting individuals and organizations that are operating outside of the law, but instead are aggressively persecuting a peaceful and regulated community, wasting Federal resources in using a series of threatening tactics to shut down regulated access to medical cannabis across the state of California.” The DCCC also accuses the federal government of “depriving…the State of California [of] much needed tax revenue.”
The DCCC resolution comes as President Obama deflects concern and anger over his aggressive enforcement practices in today’s issue of Rolling Stone. Backpedaling, President Obama is claiming that “there haven’t been any prosecutions” of medical marijuana patients, but he has ignored the broader negative effects of his campaign and the need to treat medical marijuana as a public health issue. “With a highly contentious bid for the White House, Obama should think twice about being out of step with his party and the 80 percent of Americans who support safe and legal access to medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, which is part of the SF United campaign.
The passage of yesterday’s resolution also comes on the heels of a rally held earlier this month, attended by hundreds of medical marijuana patients and supporters. Since then, the coalition San Francisco United for Safe Access has lobbied legislators to stand up to federal intimidation and coercion. In response to this effort, the DCCC is coming to the aid of city dispensaries by seeking to “establish an emergency plan to expedite the re-permitting of any [shuttered] medical cannabis dispensaries.”
The DCCC also endorsed Assembly Bill 2312, a statewide regulatory framework for the medical marijuana industry in California, and called on their fellow Democrats to do the same. Last week, the Assembly Public Safety Committee passed AB 2312, which is now set to be heard by Assembly Appropriations within the next two weeks. “It’s irresponsible for the federal government to dismantle established and responsible regulations in California,” said the resolution’s author and DCCC member Gabriel Haaland. “Hundreds of thousands of patients will be forced into the illicit market, creating unnecessary public safety issues that will affect us all.”
San Francisco Democratic Party resolution adopted yesterday: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/DCCC_Resolution.pdf
President Obama in Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/ready-for-the-fight-rolling-stone-interview-with-barack-obama-20120425