December 13, 2007 - Washington, DC, USA
Washington, DC: Efforts by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) urging landlords in California to evict tenants who legally dispense medical cannabis to state-authorized patients has drawn public criticism from US Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
In a statement issued Friday by the 21-term Congressman, Conyers said: "I am deeply concerned about recent reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration is threatening private landlords with asset forfeiture and possible imprisonment if they refuse to evict organizations legally dispensing medical marijuana to suffering patients. The Committee has already questioned the DEA about its efforts to undermine California state law on this subject, and we intend to sharply question this specific tactic as part of our oversight efforts."
In July, DEA administrators mailed letters to dozens of landlords in Los Angeles warning owners that they risk arrest, up to 20 years in prison, and the loss of their property if they continue renting to cannabis dispensaries. Since that time, similar letters have been sent to the landlords of other medicinal cannabis providers throughout the state, including several in San Francisco, leading to the closure of various high-profile dispensaries.
Last week the Arts District Healing Center, a Los Angeles-based medical cannabis provider, filed a federal lawsuit in US District Court claiming that the DEA extorted its landlord by sending a letter threatening imprisonment and property seizure.
House oversight hearings regarding the DEA’s actions are anticipated to take place early next year.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Dale Gieringer, California NORML Coordinator, at (415) 563-5858. A transcript of Representative Conyer’s remarks appear online at: http://judiciary.house.gov/newscenter.aspx?A=889.