CANNABIS LAW GROUP Attorney Damian Nassiri is taking a unique approach in the fight to defend one of Los Angeles’ dispensaries from closure: Targeting the L.A.P.D.
Other lawsuits have been filed on behalf of other collectives and dispensaries following the city’s decision to ban storefront medical marijuana facilities from operating under Ordinance No. 182190. However, none, until now, have taken on the police department.
The case is Collins Collective v. City of Los Angeles, LAPD.
The reason is because police officers, in violation of state law, threatened “severe repercussions” if the collective continued in their efforts to establish a storefront presence. This occurred on Aug. 13. while the plaintiff was in the process of constructing a location for its members to associate. Police officers stated that if the collective opened, they would forcibly shut down the collective and arrest the members.
The collective continued its efforts, and members were again visited by L.A.P.D. officers, who again threatened forcible closure and criminal prosecution.
Now, this is a collective that back in May, submitted its proposed articles of incorporation to the Secretary of State. On that same day, the state legally recognized Collins Collective as a medical marijuana, non-profit, mutual benefit organization founded with the specific purpose of growing marijuana and facilitating transactions for medically-qualified members.
The right of Collins Collective to operate is expressly spelled out in California’s Health & Safety Code section 11362.775.
The city, with the recent passage of Ordinance No. 182190 effectively established a ban on marijuana cultivation – despite its classification by city officials as a “gentle ban.” But as anyone who has ever attempted to grow marijuana will tell you, it requires an ample, dedicated growing location, specialized equipment and expertise. Most patients and caregivers, in groups of three or less, do not have the time, the resources or the overall ability to cultivate their own medicine. The contention here is that for all applied purposes, this is essentially a total ban, and as such, defies the California Constitution and the state’s passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996.
Just as with the other collectives throughout the city, officials have issued a “Medical Marijuana Business Letter,” indicating that failure to close will result in a court-ordered closure, fines of up to $2,500 each day, criminal prosecution with the potential for up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine and administrative action to padlock the property.
With this action, the defendants – both the city and the police department – have acted arbitrarily and capriciously in regulating business and land use in a manner that defies California state rights and benefits, as well as due process of law.
Collins simply wants the chance to serve its members and legally provide relief to legally-qualified patients in a manner that is protected by state law. The city’s ordinance – and the police officer’s threatened enforcement of those actions – conflicts with the general laws by in essence removing the rights of those individuals in the city who seek to obtain medicine which they need and which they are prescribed.
As such, the CANNABIS LAW GROUP is seeking the following remedies on behalf of Collins Collective:
- A temporary restraining order, followed by a preliminary injunction and ultimately a permanent injunction, that would prevent the city and its employees from enforcing the city’s ban against the plaintiff and its qualified patient members.
- A permanent injunction barring the city and the police department from taking criminal or civil action against Collins Collective.
- An order declaring that the city’s actions are not only invalid, but unconstitutional, in violation of Article I, Section 7(a) and Article XI, Section 7 of the state constitution.
- Award of costs and attorney fees.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
L.A.’s Ban On Marijuana Dispensaries Halted For Now, by Mandalit del Barco, NPR