Congresswoman Introduces Bill To Protect Landlords Of Legal MMJ Businesses
Joe | Aug 03, 2012 | Comments 1
Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced a bill (HR 6335) in the U.S. Congress that would protect landlords of compliant medical marijuana businesses from civil asset forfeiture laws, which the feds are using to intimidate landlords into forcing out dispensaries and collectives.
“Yesterday, I introduced legislation to urge the Administration and the Congress to begin to align federal law to states’ laws that allow for safe access to medical marijuana for patients,” said Congresswoman Lee. “As a long-time supporter of the rights of patients to have safe and legal access to medicine that has been recommended to them by their doctors, this bill will provide clarification to California businesses and security for California patients. The people of California have made it legal for patients to have safe access to medicinal marijuana and, as a result, thousands of small business owners have invested millions of dollars in building their companies, creating jobs, and paying their taxes. We should be protecting and implementing the will of voters, not undermining our democracy by prosecuting small business owners who pay taxes and comply with the laws of their states in providing medicine to patients in need.”
HR 6335 will prohibit the federal government from using the civil asset forfeiture statue — 21 U.S.C. 881(7) — to go after real property owners if their tenants are in compliance with state medical marijuana law. At the same time, the new law would not prevent the Justice Department from using the civil asset forfeiture statue against real property owners in connection with conduct not sanctioned by state law.
Steph Sherer, Executive Director of the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, said of the bill: “This is not a hypothetical threat. The DOJ has already initiated civil asset forfeiture proceedings against the property owner of California’s largest medical cannabis patients’ collective, and the threat of additional federal action has sent shock waves through the medical cannabis community nationwide. Numerous providers’ associations have already been closed or evicted in response to federal intimidation.
“Federal civil asset forfeiture laws were created to target large-scale narcotic traffickers, but the DOJ is using these draconian measures to target legally-organized and operated medical cannabis associations. This is fundamentally unfair, and we have to stop it. HR 6335 will prevent the DOJ for misusing the powerful and controversial civil asset forfeiture laws against medical cannabis patients, cultivators, and providers whose conduct is legal under state law.”
Without federal civil asset forfeiture laws, the federal government will have to stretch already scarce resources to continue the job of crushing medical marijuana. How much money and manpower will end up being wasted on fighting a losing battle? Medical marijuana is here to stay, and every year more and more states will pass legal protections for patients until MMJ is nationwide.
Will the feds still be fighting it at that point?