Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers Opposes DEA Tactics Pledges to Question DEA During Oversight Hearings
As many of you know, DEA recently launched an entirely new tactic in their continued efforts to undermine the effective implementation of medical marijuana laws in California. They have sent hundreds of letters threatening prosecution and asset forfeiture against property owners who rent to legal medical cannabis collectives - a strategy that could have ramifications for medical marijuana programs nationwide.
ASA Government Affairs Director Caren Woodson has been talking to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers' (D-MI) staff and other Democratic leadership to encourage them to oppose these tactics and stand up for patients in states where medical cannabis is legal. On December 7, Chairman Conyers issued at a statement saying:
"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."
Then on April 29th, Chairman Conyers sent a letter to DEA Director Michele Leonhart, demanding an explanation of DEA's intent in threatening landlords and in conducting raids on legal collectives. The letter included condemnation of DEA's tactics by San Francisco and Oakland Mayors and the City of Los Angeles, as well as a copy of SJR20, the resolution passed by the CA Senate and currently under consideration by the General Assembly, which also condemns DEA's interference in CA. Chairman Conyers gave a deadline to the DEA to respond by July 1. You can read the letter here.
In conjunction with more than fifty raids at medical cannabis collectives in California this year, the asset forfeiture threats against property owners represent the most serious challenge to patients' access in the United States today. Conyers' support signals the first significant Congressional opposition to the DEA's attempted end run around voters and state lawmakers.
ASA welcomes this statement and we look forward to working with Chairman Conyers to finally end DEA interference in state medical marijuana laws.