|Courtesy of Briana Bilbray via IBPatch|
SAN DIEGO – In October of last year several U.S. Attorneys from the Department of Justice (DOJ) held a press conference in Sacramento announcing a new Federal crackdown on medical marijuana patients and providers across California.
Days after the announcement, hundreds of letters from the DOJ were sent to landlords renting commercial spaces to dispensaries threatening criminal prosecution and property forfeiture, unless their dispensary tenants were immediately evicted. Similar letters were sent to patients threatening federal criminal indictments.
In San Diego, the attacks involved both the DOJ and local officials. Jan Goldsmith, the San Diego City Attorney with support from City Council also wrote landlords and patients, making similar threats. In addition, his office filed almost one hundred lawsuits against the facilities claiming they were in violation of local zoning ordinances.
The letters were followed by several swat-style raids on a handful of dispensaries that remained open. In less then five months the attack from both Federal and local officials, the lawsuits, and raids, caused over 150 legitimate, tax paying, businesses, to shutter their doors in San Diego alone.
The community however, did not remain quiet. Massive outcries and opposition came from patients and advocates across the state. Protests were quickly organized, new legislative efforts started, and lawsuits filed against the DOJ in every district of the State.
Once such lawsuit jointly filed by patients and collectives in San Diego, involves republican Congressman Brian Bilbray’s daughter, Brianna Bilbray. A cancer survivor and medical marijuana patient herself Ms. Bilbray, joined the suit in November.
“My cancer has a 40 percent chance of reoccurrence and I'm really nervous I'm not going to be able to get it [marijuana] cause, the nausea's just unbearable." Ms. Bilbray was quoted as saying in an article by the Imperial Beach Patch.
In an attempt to stop the issue from being heard by the courts, the DOJ filed a motion demanding the case be thrown out. Oral arguments for the ‘motion to dismiss’ were scheduled to be heard this Friday, March 3, in Judge Sabraw’s courtroom.
Days before the hearing, on Wednesday, attorney’s representing the patients in the case learned the hearing was cancelled.
"Judge Sabraw has decided again to cancel oral arguments and decide the Government's ‘Motion to Dismiss’ based solely on the pleadings. Accordingly, there will be no court appearance on Friday. In the event the Court grants the Government's motion, this case will be ripe for appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which is what we intend to do." Lance Rogers, one of the attorney representing patients and collectives said.