No Grey Sky, a medical marijuana dispensary in California, has sued the United States Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration, claiming that the federal crackdown is an illegal crusade that threatens to prevent thousands of patients from having safe access.
The collective and its members are seeking an injunction agains the DoJ, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the DEA, whose agents raided its downtown storefront this month,j reports Matt Reynolds at Courthouse News.
No Grey Sky said it has been licensed by the state of California to dispense medicinal cannabis, and that Atty. Gen. Holder is acting “in excess of the government’s authority granted by the Controlled Substances Act” by threatening to shut it down.
According to No Grey Sky, continuing its business is “vital to the safe and affordable distribution of medical cannabis to patients suffering from chronic and acute pain, life-threatening and severe illnesses, diseases, and injuries.” The dispensary said it has complied with all state laws concerning distribution of medical marijuana.
No Grey Sky maintains that medical marijuana dispensaries have operated lawfully and “transparently” to offer relief to thousands of patients after voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, and that Los Angeles established an ordinance to allow providers to distribute medicinal cannabis, according to the federal complaint. The dispensary further avers that marijuana collectives have provided “billions of dollars in revenues.”
The complaint points out candidate Barack Obama’s 2007 promise that dispensaries following state medical marijuana laws would be left alone. But in 2010 L.A. proposed to license marijuana cultivation in the city, and the DoJ reversed its position, pursuing “a de facto ban on the collective and cooperative cultivation and distribution of marijuana,” according to the complaint.
“Plaintiff relied on those statements and the DOJ’s policy of non-enforcement of conflicting federal law to support the growth of a local industry that is considered a national model for safe access,” the complaint states. “Now, over five years later, the federal government is attempting to act beyond its authority in seeking forfeiture of property associated with the plaintiff’s dispensary.”
No Grey Sky said a shutdown would force patients, including the elderly and disabled, to buy marijuana illegally, and divert law enforcement resources away from more serious crimes.
Also named in the complaint are DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, and federal prosecutor Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. No Grey Sky is represented by attorney Barry Fischer
of Beverly Hills.