Pot Law Could Land Oakland City Council in Jail: DA

County DA says Oakland law crosses the legal line.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Just because Oakland says medical pot is legal does not mean it is.

    Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley has two strong warnings for the city as Oakland prepares to enact a new medical marijuana ordinance.

    In July, the Oakland City Council approved an ordinance that would allow the city to license and regulate four large-scale commercial pot farms that would provide marijuana for Oakland's dispensaries. Dozens of people have expressed interest in operating the large scale growing operations.

    O'Malley wrote a four page letter (read a PDF of the letter here) earlier this month to Oakland Mayor-elect Jean Quan where she warns that the ordinance goes beyond the provisions laid out in California's medical marijuana laws and that city officials and employees could face criminal prosecution for passing the ordinance.

    "The Alameda County District Attorney's office makes the point that enactment of this ordinance does not provide a defense "... to any criminal charge," O'Malley wrote in her letter that was also delivered to council members and the city attorney. "Persons should not rely solely upon pronouncements by city officials or enactment of the Ordinance as providing any legal or equitable defense to a criminal prosecution."

    O'Malley said her letter was not intended to be an "advisory opinion" about the ordinance. She wrote that she has never done with a previous ordinance.

    But instead, the district attorney wanted to warn that because of the ordinance's conflict with the state and federal laws, her office may be forced to prosecute anyone, including city officials, seen to be aiding and abetting any criminal activity.

    The Oakland City Council is scheduled to discuss the ordinance during Tuesday night's meeting.