Federal drug enforcement agents earlier this month burst through the doors of three Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries.
Our Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers understand federal officials haven't been forthcoming to the public about what they were looking for or whether any arrests were made. We do know that the storefronts that were raided have been identified as LA Wonderland, Iron Works and DTPG.
The raids continue throughout the state, despite presidential promises that such operations would not be a top priority for federal prosecutors.
In San Diego, where the mayor has ordered local police authorities to end their constant barrage on medical marijuana operations, federal authorities aren't expected to fall in line. The U.S. Attorney's local office has said that while it would be open to a meeting with the newly-elected official, selling marijuana for any purposes is illegal under federal law. The office underscored its intention to continue to enforce the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.
This is the act that holds marijuana is a Schedule I narcotic, meaning it's classified as a highly-addictive narcotic with no medicinal value. This of course is despite countless independent and global studies that provide solid, medical evidence to the contrary. It's ultimately a matter of how long the federal government wishes to bury its head in the sand and deny the truth.
The previous mayor of the city supported both the local and federal crackdown. In fact, dispensaries there have all but disappeared in the wake of federal efforts to dismantle them one-by-one. Where there were once hundreds, there are only a small few.
The mayor in San Diego received generous praise from marijuana advocates both locally and throughout the state, amid continuing assaults on patients' and states' rights.
Earlier this month, Southern California dispensary owner Aaron Sandusky was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison, following his conviction on drug trafficking charges. Although the judge gave him the minimum sentence under the guidelines, the law did not allow him to consider that the defendant was abiding by state statutes.
The most recent federal raid in Los Angeles comes as city leaders are working to draft a third proposal for regulation of the city's dispensaries. The first two were reportedly not strict enough for council's liking, though they will still be considered by voters in May. One option would allow most existing dispensaries to remain open, while raising taxes and increasing city oversight. The second and third measures would limit the number of dispensaries to those that were open prior to the city's failed moratorium that was passed in 2007.
No matter what happens, until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a ruling on whether states have the right to allow medical marijuana cultivation and distribution within their borders, such operations will remain at risk. Owners should take the utmost care and caution to consult regularly with an experienced marijuana attorney to ensure compliance with local and state laws and, to the extent possible, avoid the attention of federal authorities.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
DEA Raids Three LA Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Jan. 20, 2013, By Phillip Smith, The Daily Chronic
Feds Won't Stop Medical Marijuana Raids in San Diego, Jan. 17, 2013, By Thomas H. Clarke, The Daily Chronic
More Blog Entries:
Former Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner Gets 10 Years in Prison, Jan. 12, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog