Police unit assembled to raid Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries

A new team has been established at the Los Angeles Police Department to aggressively target medical marijuana dispensaries that are remaining open in defiance of a new city ordinance, the L.A. Times reported.

The Los Angeles Marijuana Dispensary Lawyers at the CANNABIS LAW GROUP are providing aggressive representation to dispensaries and collectives that are targeted for closure under the new ordinance. The city law, which took effect last month, seeks to close dispensaries that have opened since the city adopted a moratorium in 2007. The law seeks to close more than 400 shops, while permitting about 100 to continue operating. Shops must also comply with strict new laws governing their location, including a prohibition on operating near parks, schools or residential areas.

As we reported this week on our Marijuana Lawyer Blog, Los Angeles County is also moving aggressively to prevent marijuana collectives from moving into unincorporated Los Angeles County. And the District Attorney’s office has announced intentions to pursue collectives who seek to survive and serve patients by operating as delivery services. The result is a legal industry that is under attack in Southern California. We believe there is strength in numbers and urge marijuana collectives to seek an immediate consultation with an experienced Los Angeles marijuana dispensary attorney to protect their rights.

Authorities say the new unit will immediately begin targeting collectives believed to be operating in defiance of the ordinance.

“This is a high priority for the City Council and a high priority for the city attorney, so it’s a high priority for us,” said Capt. Kevin McCarthy, head of the Gang and Narcotics Division.

The Times reports police are using undercover narcotics officers and raid vans to target businesses. In one case on Colorado Boulevard, minvans and SUVs pulled up out front, plainclothes officers fanned out. Startled security guards were disarmed as police covered the door using scoped rifles and phoned the store to announce the raid. Security guards, employees and customers were led out with their hands in the air.

Owners and employees were arrested and more than 40 pounds of legal medical marijuana and $17,000 in cash was seized.

While the ordinance allows for civil fines and jail time against owners, city leaders say that is a costly, ponderous and ineffective process. Instead, they are settling for raids and the seizure of cash and product.

It is unclear how or why city authorities believe they have the legal rights to conduct such raids. But the department has assembled a team of 8 narcotics officers to target dispensaries the city contends are operating illegally.

The city is also targeted dispensaries for raids based on citizen complaints. Though it is unclear whether the citizens know which dispensaries are targeted for closures. While the Times and other outlets have posted lists, the city has been forced to change the list at least once due to clerical errors.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP is a law firm dedicated to the rights of medical marijuana patients, collectives and growers and has built a reputation for high-powered, aggressive legal representation of the medical marijuana industry in Southern California. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.