HopeNet, S.F.'s oldest continually operating medical marijuana dispensary at 223 Ninth Street, is not going to take a threat from the federal government lying down. Owners Catherine and Steve Smith are not going to comply with a cease-and-desist order from federal prosecutor Melinda Haag which would have forced them to close on Friday, and they're hoping that a legal puzzle between a federally forced eviction having to play out in a state court where medical marijuana is legal could make for some interesting courtroom theater.
The Smiths faxed Haag 1,200 petitions from their members, and they say that because they're a cooperative, they can't shut down when they've got 1,200 members telling them not to.
As we mentioned before, the federal crackdown on medical marijuana doesn't show any signs of stopping, and all legally endorsed marijuana sales in the city could be doomed if this keeps up, and if no one fights back. The CA Supreme Court is set to weigh in on some of this federal vs. state controversy soon.
It remains to be seen what the owners of the building will do if they get a threat of seizure from the feds, as happened in Marin with the Marin Alliance.
HopeNet was raided by the feds in 2005, and also received a similar threatening letter from Haag's predecessor Joe Russoniello in 2007, so they're just taking this one in stride. But they may not be feeling so swell if they get raided again, as Oaksterdam University in Oakland just was this morning.