San Diego Mayor, U.S. Attorney May Face Off on Medical Marijuana
By Elizabeth Murphy | January 18, 2013 12:21 pm

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a former congressman, may soon again be at odds with U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy over medical marijuana dispensaries , according to a report by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Bob Filner

Filner, a Democrat, recently ordered city officials to lay off of medical marijuana dispensaries. But Duffy, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, told the Union-Tribune that she doesn’t take her direction from the mayor.

“I take my guidance from the Attorney General of the U.S., and he from the president,” she said. “And thus far, that direction is, we are going to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.”

The local and federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries has caused a major shift. In 2011, Duffy told the paper, about 200 medical marijuana outposts were open and operating in San Diego. Today, fewer than 10 are in operation.

Duffy told the Union-Times that her prosecutions have not centered on “individual patients or caregivers.”

“We’re going after businesses who are engaged in for-profit marijuana sales on a retail basis,” she told the paper.

But, “I don’t think this particular issue we are going to see eye to eye on,” she told the paper, adding that she has not spoken to Filner about the issue, though she is open to meeting with him.

Last week, Filner directed city authorities to stop prosecutions of medical marijuana dispensaries, including asking police to stop sending those cases to city lawyers, the paper reported. He also said he’d help draft an ordinance to allow dispensaries in the city. Filner was not available for comment in the Union-Tribune story, but this is not the first time Duffy and Filner butted heads on the issue of medical marijuana.

Duffy declined to comment on how her office would handle any city ordinance that allowed medical marijuana outposts to blossom in San Diego.

Laura Duffy (DOJ)

Last summer, when Filner was still serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the California Democrat sent Duffy a letter calling some of her medical marijuana dispensary prosecutions “unwarranted intimidation.”

What’s more, Filner called for Duffy’s resignation during his battle for the mayor’s seat in San Diego. After a heated debate between Filner and his Republican challenger Carl DeMaio at a candidate forum, Duffy sent an email to the Republican’s campaign apologizing for Filner’s “uncivil” style. Duffy helped organize the candidate forum as a member of her temple in San Diego. After the email was circulated to local media, Filner argued Duffy violated federal regulations barring federal employees from engaging in political activity. Duffy said she was acting properly as a private citizen.

Duffy told the Union-Tribune that she did not face any repercussions from the Justice Department related to the episode. She also said she sent Filner a congratulatory email after his win in the race.

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