Pubdate: Thu, 29 Mar 2012
Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)
Copyright: 2012 SF Newspaper Company LLC
Author: Stephen Buel


San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon disagrees with a legal 
brief in which his office argued that marijuana sales are illegal, 
and he said Wednesday that prosecuting marijuana cases will not be a 
priority for his administration.

The brief, filed this month in the case of a woman arrested on 
suspicion of possessing and attempting to sell cannabis products, 
argued that any sale of marijuana is illegal under state law.

But Wednesday, following publication of a story in The San Francisco 
Examiner, Gascon said the argument was made without his knowledge or 
approval. And he pledged that his office will no longer advance that position.

"I support medical marijuana and I have said that very many times," 
Gascon said. "This particular brief was crafted three years ago and 
has been used from time to time by our attorneys. ... I have already 
taken steps to take that memo out of circulation."

Although the legality of medical marijuana is far from clear under 
federal law, operators of The City's numerous dispensaries generally 
view state and local as protective of their right to operate.

Gascon said his office recently met with the attorney for the 
arrested woman, former District Attorney Terence Hallinan, and agreed 
to a two-week continuance for the purpose of reassessing the 
appropriate next step.

Prosecutors and Hallinan disagree about the facts of the case, but 
Gascon said if the woman truly was working on behalf of a registered 
dispensary and selling marijuana to licensed patients, the charges 
against her would probably be dismissed.

The district attorney said he disagreed with some of the legal 
arguments made in the now-disavowed legal brief, which he said failed 
to take into account how medical marijuana law has evolved locally.

"Dealing with marijuana is not a priority for this office," he vowed.
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