Briana Bilbray, San Diego Dispensaries Seek Injunction to End Federal Medical Marijuana Crackdown

Santee's nearest medical marijuana dispensary joins in the legal fight with a local Congressman's daughter against the recent crackdown on dispensaries in San Diego.

Cancer patient Briana Bilbray and local medical marijuana cooperatives on Monday filed for an injunction to stop a federal crackdown on marijuana sales.

Attorney Matt Kumin, who filed for the injunction, said the goal is for the U.S. Justice Department and U.S. attorneys "to stop threatening folks who are in compliance with state law."

The filing comes a month after the Justice Department pledged to crack down on California's commercial marijuana cooperatives and dispensaries.

Plantiffs in the case include , which operates right on Santee's border with , three other medical marijuana cooperatives from across San Diego, and 25-year-old Briana Bilbray. Bilbray's brother, Brian Patrick Bilbray, is an Imperial Beach city councilman and her father, Brian Bilbray, is a U.S. Congressman representing California's 50th District.

Bilbray has Stage 3 melanoma cancer and opposed the earlier this year. 

"Before I had cancer I thought it was people just trying to get it legalized," she said. "That changed pretty much once I realized that it really did work and it was a legitimate way to get nausea to go away." 

Ultimately she would like to see more discussion on the federal side about marijuana's medicinal benefits.

Bilbray said she also chose to "stand up for it" to ensure she and other patients have access. 

"My cancer has a 40 percent chance of reoccurrence and I'm really nervous I'm not going to be able to get it [marijuana], cause the nausea's just unbearable," she said.

, she said she bought $200 worth of nausea reducing medicine that provided her no assistance. In contrast, she said one dose of medical marijuana relieves her for an entire day.

"You have no idea. It is like the difference between night and day for chemo patients," she said. "Not only are you infringing on my right as a California resident to obtain the medicine I need, but you are punishing me by making it more difficult to get the one thing I really need.

"It is one of the worst feelings imaginable," she said.

Regarding her family's opinion on her being a party to the injunction, Bilbray said they're still skeptical.

"They believe me that it works but there's such a negative image in everyone's head in general about marijuana. They still have that but they support me in what I want to do," she said.  

In a statement released by the Congressman's office Monday, Brian Bilbray said, "Karen and I raised our children to be strong individuals who think for themselves. I respect my daughter’s right to fight for what she believes in based on her personal experiences. We may not agree with our children on every issue, but Karen and I are very proud parents.”

Councilman Brian Patrick Bilbray voted against city of Imperial Beach efforts to limit marijuana dispensaries earlier this year and agrees with his sister's call for an injunction.

"I'm supporting her 100 percent. I'm proud of her. She's definitely taking a stand most people won't," he said.

Defendants in the case include U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Southern District of California U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy and a Drug Enforcement Administration official.

Among reasons for the injunction, the document states the federal government’s actions violate ninth, 10th and 14th amendment constitutional rights, the Commerce Clause and matters previously decided in other court cases.

Last week, Americans for Safe Access filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice in an attempt to get the federal government to honor local and state medical marijuana laws.

Local Americans for Safe Access activist Marcus Boyd asked Briana Bilbray to be a party to the injunction. 

"I'm just happy I was able to put her in touch with a team of attorneys that were willing to go after the federal government," he said.

"I'm proud of Ms. Bilbray's courage to stand up against the federal government's meddling in state medical issues," he said. " And I'm hopeful that either the Americans for Safe Access lawsuit or this one is able to prevent the federal government from carrying out their threats against providers."


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