Odds and Ends

Sorry for the lack of posts the past few days — the L.A. trip wiped me out, and now it’s the last week of school with a lot of catching up to do.

bullet image Interesting legal development: California Court: Landlord Can’t Evict Medical Marijuana Dispensary

One of the tools that the feds have been using has been to threaten the landlords and get them to do the dirty work for them by evicting the dispensary. This ruling notes that as long as the lease indicated that the business was for medical marijuana, the landlord can’t use the state courts to evict them for doing what they said they would do and what’s legal under state law.

bullet image Gee, maybe there really are some limitations to applying U.S. law to the entire globe. U.S. law targeting drug smugglers in foreign waters is deemed illegal

In a bit of a blow to the endless war on drugs, a federal appeals court has concluded the 1986 law used to charge the defendants is illegal. In November, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta vacated their convictions after finding that Congress exceeded its constitutional power when it passed a portion of that law that was used to prosecute them.

The appeals court found that the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act could not be used for prosecuting drug smugglers arrested within the 12-mile territorial waters of foreign countries such as Colombia, Panama, Guatemala and Honduras.

Only a minor restriction to the global domination of the U.S. drug war, but important nonetheless.

bullet image Pretty pathetic. Colorado Business Groups Ask Feds to Enforce Marijuana Laws

That’s right – a bunch of Chambers of Commerce and other organizations have sent a letter asking for the feds to step in. It’s a truly bizarre letter. They say that the legal uncertainties of the clash between state and federal laws create a difficult business climate, but their only suggestion for solving it is for the Feds to impose draconian enforcement and they completely ignore the other way to resolve the difference.

On November 6, 2012, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, a statewide initiative that makes it lawful for any adult to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational use. Passage of Amendment 64 has left considerable uncertainty for employers and businesses in Colorado with regard to their legal rights and obligations. At a time when the Colorado economy is successfully emerging from the most recent economic downturn, enjoying certainty in our business decisions will assure continued growth in our economy.

The Colorado business community, as represented by the signatory organizations noted below, seeks clarity from the Department of Justice with regard to your intentions to enforce federal law under your prosecutorial discretion.

The provisions of Amendment 64 are in direct conflict with the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and other provisions of federal law. The CSA clearly states that federal law preempts state law when there is a positive conflict between the two jurisdictions.1 Furthermore, Amendment 64 violates the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution as well as our government’s treaty obligations ratified by Congress.2
Consequently, we encourage the enforcement of the CSA, to provide the certainty and clarity of law we seek.

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