A federal judge in Philadelphia is considering whether to take a case that could have an enormous impact on the medical marijuana industry nationwide.
The case involves a dispensary permitted for Philadelphia Mills in the Northeast.
Pharma Cann got a state permit and city approval to open in a former Chi-Chi’s near the Mall, but mall operator, Simon Property, sued in federal court to block it from opening.
It claims the deed forbids “illegal activity” and that would include the dispensary, since marijuana is illegal under federal law.
Pharma Cann wants the issue resolved in Common Pleas Court, arguing it’s simply a case of an outdated restrictive covenant. Its attorney, Jeremy Unruh, says Simon’s attempt to make it a federal case is unduly excessive.
“I think they’re trying to mushroom this into the bigger policy issue as to whether or not the federal controlled substances act operates to preclude all 30 of the states that now have some sort of state medical marijuana law on their books,” he said.
Simon’s attornies declined to comment.
Judge Gene Pratter has heard oral arguments and given the two sides until this week for written comments before she rules on whether she’ll keep the case in federal court and hear those bigger policy issues.