SHERIFF PLANNING TO CLOSE DOWN S.F. POT CLUB BY TUESDAY NIGHT
Says he has to follow judge's order.
He won't say when, but Sheriff Michael Hennessey is putting together a plan to forcibly close and lock the Cannabis Healing Center sometime before Tuesday afternoon, taking everything that isn't nailed down with him.
Hennessey said he has no choice but to obey a ruling by San Francisco Superior Court Judge William Cahill, issued Thursday, that ordered the club shut down within five days.
"We will hire a locksmith, we will enter the premises, we will make sure all the individuals are removed and we will close it down," said Hennessey, a supporter of Proposition 215, the California ballot measure that legalized the use of medical marijuana for people with AIDS, cancer and other diseases.
Cahill's ruling said the club is a public nuisance, not a primary caregiver authorized to provide marijuana to sick patients.
The ruling came three days after a U.S. District Court judge ordered six Bay Area cannabis clubs to close, saying federal drug laws supersede Prop. 215.
Defiant club patrons and operators vowed to fight on despite the rulings while attorneys for the San Francisco club filed a motion to delay the closure until a hearing Tuesday morning.
"It's going to be a big medical catastrophe if we're shut down quickly," said Lynne Barnes, a registered nurse volunteer at the center. "Through our lawyer, we're trying to slow down the process. We feel that it would be somewhat unreasonable for (Hennessey) to close it down before the order expires."
When that closure would occur is still a little hazy. Hennessey said the order specifically directs him to close down the club before 5 p.m. Tuesday, which he plans to do. He wouldn't say, however, whether it would be shut down over the holiday weekend or sometime Tuesday.
Whenever it occurs, he said, the department will be prepared to deal with protesters and building inhabitants who resist the closure. He doesn't expect to have to arrest anyone, however.
Hennessey would not say whether he disagreed with the ruling but he made clear he was a supporter of the club.
"I thought they were trying to do their best to carry out the will of the voters," Hennessey said. "They were trying their best to follow the law but the courts interpret the law differently."
1998 San Francisco Examiner