Robert Raich, a medical marijuana lawyer who took two landmark medical marijuana cases to the U.S. Supreme Court, says the new federal crackdown against landlords who rent to marijuana dispensaries is an intimidation tactic that probably won’t work.

Sending threatening letters to landlords is not a new tactic by the federal government. In 2007 the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Justice sent similar letters to landlords, but never filed a criminal or civil case against them.

“The appropriate thing to do is to put those letters in the trash, where they belong,” Raich said. “A lot of people realize that [the feds] don’t have the resources nor the will to prosecute every single one, but [landlords] are concerned and no one wants to be in the crosshairs.”

Raich speculates that the U.S. Attorney will try to make an example of a few in an attempt to create fear, but the “genie is already out of the bottle.”

“It’s an efficient way to make people scared,” he said.

So why does he think the feds are doing this now?

There are certain bureaucrats, Raich said, who have always been against medical marijuana and had to adjust to the Obama Administration’s initial liberal approach.

“I think it’s because Obama has proven politically inept and weak,” he said. He added that bureaucrats in the Justice Department have figured Obama out now and are able to push their anti-marijuana agenda.

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Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

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  1. I have no problem with Mr. Raich’s analysis, although I think it surprising that Obama would attack a natural constituency in an obvious must-win state. A scarier proposition (in time for Halloween) is that the DOJ moves are part of an overall escalation of the Drug War currently being waged against “Mexican Drug Cartels” allegedly operating in U.S. cities. As Mr. Raich and others have noted, prohibition inevitably increases violence while invariably failing to stop that which is banned. Wasn’t that one of the reasons we voted from Prop 215 in the first place?

  2. I’m shocked Raich recommends ignoring letters warning of property seizure. These aren’t merely threats. Seizures have already occurred in Lake Forest, CA and there is no reason to believe it will end there.

    Stunningly bad advice…

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