San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón 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, Gascón 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,” Gascón 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.
Gascón 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 Gascón 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.