San Francisco Uses Eminent Domain to Build Pot Farm: Official News Agency (San Francisco CA), 11/1/07

By Angela Berera

They wouldn't sell at any price. Now it doesn't matter. After four generations of Davidsons owning Orchards by the Bay, one of the few farms within San Francisco city limits stands to be seized under eminent domain... because San Francisco needs a steady supply of marijuana.

Eminent domain detractors say this is one of the most outrageous examples of the abuse of this long-standing law, which allows government to seize private property for public use or in recent years, if they deem it 'for the public good'. The fact that government officials plan to grow 400 acres of pot where walnut trees once stood is simply adding insult to injury.

"Don't think for a moment that this is for public use," says Grant Dennis, director of The Private Property Front, a Los Angeles based coalition of attorneys who work pro-bono in fighting eminent domain abuse. "This is about someone pushing their pro-marijuana agenda, and using the livelihoods of innocent citizens to accomplish it."

Not true, says San Francisco city councilman Ted Brenner. Brenner claims that the Davidsons were offered fair market value for Orchards by the Bay, but refused to sell.

"They were stubborn, so they get what they get, which is half that," he says.

"This project is absolutely needed to keep San Francisco on the cutting edge of societal evolution." Brenner says, "Marijuana will be legalized, if for no other reason than the treatment of chronic pain and the after-effects of chemotherapy. Private property is the last refuge for the aristocracy in this country, and aristocrats will not stand in the way of the people's progress in San Francisco."

Brenner explains that medical marijuana outlets in San Francisco are being targeted by U.S. Drug Enforcement agents, supplies 'stolen', and that a reliable source of the drug is needed in order to keep their controversial program going.

Asked if 400 acres of marijuana might be overkill for limited medical use, he said, "I'm sure the rest will find a home."

Private Property Front has already filed for an injunction in San Francisco Federal Court to delay the seizure of the property until the legality of its future use can be determined. That may not stop the city council.

"Regardless of whatever legal remedies the Davidsons or their allies might think they have," Councilman Brenner smiled, "we're going to start clearing trees on Monday... as a fire hazard. I have the distinct feeling that by the time this issue is decided, it will already have been decided."

Dennis assures us that his group will follow this case to the Supreme Court if necessary. The Davidsons are afraid that even if they do win their fight in court, with city bulldozers already waiting in their orchards, what they'll win is 400 acres of bare dirt and holes where their life used to be.

Official News Agency (San Francisco CA): http://www.officialnewsagency.com

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