US Drug Nannies Send More Dispensary Landlord Letters

California NORML Release April 30, 2013

US Attorney Melinda Haag has issued a spate of new landlord letters targeting medical cannabis dispensaries in Northern California.

Cal NORML has so far heard reports from dispensaries in San Jose, San Francisco and Ukiah. The letters warn landlords that the facilities are operating too close to a school or park. Under federal law, distribution of controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a school or youth recreation area is punishable by enhanced penalties. In addition, the letters warn landlords that they are liable for forfeiture under USC Title 21, Section 881(a) 7. Unlike some previous letters, they do not threaten immediate prosecution or set a deadline for compliance.

The targets include some dispensaries that have been operating in their present location without complaint for years. One San Jose club was scolded for being located 881 feet from a school on the other side of the freeway and an industrial park. Another in San Francisco was over 900 feet from a small public park.

Cal NORML denounced the DOJ letters as yet another indication of the bankruptcy of federal marijuana policy. "Federal bureaucrats have no business butting in on local land use decisions," said Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer. "The DOJ's claim to be protecting school children is risible, given the closer proximity of liquor stores, sex shops, and other adult businesses to schools. It's time for the Obama administration to stop threatening law-abiding businesses, and to start revising federal marijuana policy."