Court Will Not Hear Oral Arguments Over Motion to Dismiss Medical Marijuana Case

February 29, 2012

Dave Rice, San Diego Reader

San Diego courts will not hear oral arguments concerning a motion by the Department of Justice to dismiss a lawsuit filed by medical marijuana patients and local collectives concerning a flurry of threatening letters sent beginning last October to landlords of commercial properties where marijuana dispensaries were located. Property owners were threatened with criminal prosecution and forfeiture of their buildings unless they moved immediately to evict their tenants.

San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith joined the feds and sent out his own batch of letters, followed by raids on dispensaries that were able to remain open. “In less than five months the attack from both Federal and local officials, the lawsuits, and raids, caused over 150 legitimate, taxpaying businesses to shutter their doors in San Diego alone,” alleges the San Diego chapter of Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana activist group.

One of the plaintiffs to the lawsuit is Briana Bilbray, a Stage 3 melanoma cancer patient, daughter of Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray and sister of Imperial Beach city councilmember Brian Patrick Bilbray.

“My cancer has a 40 percent chance of reoccurrence and I'm really nervous I'm not going to be able to get it [marijuana], cause the nausea's just unbearable,” Bilbray told the Imperial Beach Patch in November.

“I respect my daughter's right to fight for what she believes in based on her personal experiences. We may not agree with our children on every issue, but Karen and I are very proud parents,” Bilbray’s father said in a statement when the lawsuit was filed.

Because oral arguments will not be heard, the plaintiffs will not be allowed to appear before the judge to argue against the dismissal of the case.

“In the event the Court grants the Government's motion, this case will be ripe for appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which is what we intend to do,” says Lance Rogers, one of the attorneys representing collectives and patients.



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