Calif. Judge Deals Blow To Medical Pot Movement

Calif. Judge Deals Blow To Medical Pot Movement
Posted by CN Staff on April 17, 2008 at 20:07:04 PT
By Evan Hill, The Recorder
Source: Recorder
California -- A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday that federal law allows landlords to boot medical marijuana dispensaries that rent from them.The decision by Judge Margaret Oldendorf was a strike against dispensaries in their legal battle against the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency, over the past year or so, has notified landlords who rent to dispensaries that doing so is a violation of federal law, even though medical marijuana is legal in California.
The case before Oldendorf stemmed from Northridge, Calif., landlord Parthenia Center's attempt to evict dispensary Today's Health Care Inc.Oldendorf ruled that federal law gave Parthenia the right to evict THC, citing the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1, that supported the federal government's ability to prohibit medical marijuana despite the passage of California's Compassionate Use Act in 1996.The high court's majority opinion, Oldendorf said in a written ruling, found that the Constitution's Supremacy Clause "unambiguously provides that if there is any conflict between federal and state law, federal law shall prevail."Several attorneys involved with medical marijuana-related litigation say the decision could hurt dispensaries' ability to find landlords willing to rent to them. The DEA letters alone have already forced several Bay Area dispensaries to close. Arcata, Calif.-based attorney Steven Schectman, who represented THC and said he plans to appeal, said the case will determine the future of medical marijuana. "We see this as an opportunity ultimately to have the California courts clear this up once and for all," he said.Attorneys on both sides said state appellate courts will ultimately have to decide the issue. Ruzicka, Snyder & Wallace of counsel Richard Sontag, who represented Parthenia, said he expects it may take five to 10 years for courts to resolve the matter. Sontag, based in Irvine, Calif., said both Gonzales v. Raich and Ross v. Ragingwire, 07 C.D.O.S. 1098 -- a California Supreme Court decision that found an employee could be fired for using medical pot -- show the CUA doesn't act as an umbrella against federal action. He said the state Supreme Court has interpreted the CUA as a narrow exemption for patients and their providers, not an overall protection that extends to employment law or landlord-tenant matters.Sontag said he has always advised landlords who come to him for advice that renting to a pot dispensary is "a can of worms."Parthenia sent THC a notice to move out last November, less than a month after receiving a letter from the DEA threatening penalties of property forfeiture and up to 20 years in prison for renting to a medical marijuana dispensary. The DEA sent similar letters last year to landlords throughout California who were renting to dispensaries.Oldendorf issued her tentative decision for Parthenia in January. Schectman asked her to vacate her earlier ruling, and on Thursday, she declined. But Schectman said he felt confident that a higher court will follow California precedent and find that the CUA is not pre-empted by federal law.Schectman has taken on legal work for numerous dispensaries fighting eviction in the wake of the DEA's letters. In a similar Los Angeles County case, he successfully argued that it was beyond the superior court's jurisdiction to rule on the reach of federal law and that an eviction was solely a contract-law issue that centered on the terms of the lease.Source: Recorder, The (CA)Author: Evan Hill, The RecorderPublished: April 18, 2008Copyright: 2008 ALM Properties, Inc.Contact: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on April 18, 2008 at 07:44:12 PT
Judge Oldendorf
It looks like the powers that be in CA, working for the DEA, are wanting to keep cannabis firmly in the hands of organized street criminals.Now why do you suppose the DEA have an interest in keeping cannabis under control of organized crime rather than legitimizing it under state medical laws.The DEA obviously has financial interest in keeping cannabis under their control, or rather under organized crime there a difference? Organized crime profits, the DEA profits. Hey, they're in business together!Who pays for it all? We all do, in taxes and then in punishment. 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on April 17, 2008 at 21:40:26 PT
American reality. (In Case You Missed It)
America places again!Time to bust out your miniature American flags, proud citizens — we’ve got some celebrating to do! It seems America has made it onto another global Top 5 list. That’s right, Top 5. Do you know how many countries there are in the world? One hundred ninety-five! That means we’re better than 190 other countries! But what for?Amnesty International recently published its 2007 report on court-ordered executions, and we placed fifth with 42 government-sanctioned slayings. The U.S. only trails behind such human-rights advocates as China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan. But we can take care of them later. To help get you in the celebratory mood, here’s a list of a few other international categories that we totally school other nations in.— Worst health care system for an industrialized nation. (Take that, Canada!)— Most pampered pet boutiques per capita! How fun is this category?— Worst political leader. (OK, so Zimbabwe and North Korea have us beat here, but we have to let the little guys win every once in awhile. Plus, Zimbabwe is all the way over in Africa, so it shouldn’t even count.)— Most gun-related domestic deaths! (We’re pretty sure these were all in self-defense, or caused by kids watching those darned video games.)— Most T-shirts, stickers and car magnets sporting “freedom” phrases made in factories by Chinese dissidents! (The most!) Go America! We’ve worked hard for global positions in the world. Killing our own citizens takes a lot of chutzpah, and we should all take pride. After all, as the magnet we saw on a Hummer read, these colors don’t bleed. Or do they?
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Comment #1 posted by mykeyb420 on April 17, 2008 at 20:30:00 PT
why McPain can't win in November
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