Mike Madriaga 3 p.m., June 22
Medical Marijuana Dispensary to Challenge U.S. Attorney's War on Medical Marijuana
Laura Duffy is moving forward with her crusade to wipe out medical marijuana dispensaries in Southern California. The U.S. Attorney has threatened the owner of the building that houses the Mother Earth Cooperative in El Cajon with stiff fines, or confiscation of the property, if the dispensary does not shut its doors by tomorrow.
But dispensary owners, patients, and medical marijuana advocates are not backing down from the fight.
Today, at the steps of the federal courthouse in Downtown San Diego, those representatives said they plan to challenge the action in court if the letter is not rescinded.
"We will take it all way to the supreme court if necessary, says co-op spokesperson, Bob Riedel. "Mother Earth is the only licensed co-op in Southern California. We receive patients from all the major hospitals.
"Duffy is going after the landlord but this fight isn't between the feds and our landlord, this fight is between the State of California and the Federal Government."
Even some members of congress are asking Duffy to back down. In a letter to Duffy, congressman, and San Diego mayoral candidate, Bob Filner, called Duffy's letter to the landlord "a form of unwarranted intimidation."
"The Co-op operates under a strict county ordinance that mandates that the facility is inspected monthly by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and according to these inspection reports, all parties have followed the letter of law.
If the My Mother Earth Co-op Was to be shut down, thirteen employees would lose their jobs and 2300 members of the Co-op would lose access to their legal source of marijuana. The My Mother Earth Co-op is the only licensed facility in all of San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties. This means it is the only facility able to serve the patients referred by physicians from these counties," wrote Filner.
But without a stay of action from an appellate judge there isn't anything for the cooperative to do but shut its doors.
If that doesn't come today, says Riedel, members will spend tomorrow removing all the marijuana from the facility and lock the doors until the judge issues a ruling.
"What will the patients have to do? Well, chances are they will have to go back to the streets to get their medication from drug dealers."
Riedel says he expects the judge to issue a ruling in the next couple of days.
Read Bob Filner's letter here:
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- San Diego County's Last Legal Marijuana Dispensary Forced Out of Business — Aug. 31, 2012
- “Safe Access Now!” Shout Pro-Pot Protesters at Downtown Rally — July 25, 2012