Local police officials conducted a huge raid on an alleged marijuana grow operation at a Los Angeles loft downtown, arresting at least two suspects and seizing hundreds of pounds of the plant.
Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers know that the details in this case are so far scant, but it’s important to point out that in general, marijuana providers need to be cautious about how and where they conduct their trade.
We do understand that the rules of engagement, so to speak, are vague and broad and it can be difficult even for those attempting to be involved in a legitimate cultivation or dispensing operation to know the boundaries. This is why it is so critical to consult with an experienced marijuana lawyer before you make the investment and get started.
Just for starters, this is going to involve aspects such as regulatory deadlines, zoning considerations, surety bond requirements, registration and licensing rules and proper documentation of inventory and sales. All of these aspects are critical for dispensary owners and cultivators to carefully consider.
Attempting to do any aspect of this business without careful consideration may earn you a small fortune in the short-term. In the long-term, however, you risk not only a substantial hit on your original investment, but also massive fines, attorneys’ fees, potential property forfeiture and even severe federal criminal charges.
It’s not that we want to discourage anyone from entering the industry, but it should be done with extreme care and consideration, as well as extensive consultation with a legal professional who is well-versed in this area of law.
In this case, it was likely the electricity expenditures that first alerted authorities to problems. The city’s Department of Building and Safety reported that the loft space was generating electricity costs that topped $17,000 each month. There are very few business models that would find that kind of expenditure sustainable long-term – not to mention the fact that this space was not zoned for either business or agricultural purposes.
As a result of the stress on a wiring system that wasn’t equipped for that kind of use, the electrical wires are reportedly melted together, and the entire building has had to be evacuated until further notice.
Investigators say the entire top level of a three-story structure was being used to grow marijuana.
When local police raided the facility, they reportedly found some 1,500 pounds, two shotguns and two assault rifles. They believe the center produced an estimated $7 million worth of the plant every two months.
There are both federal and state laws that ban against arbitrary growing or sale of marijuana. At the federal level, there is 21 U.S.C. 841, which covers trafficking marijuana. It involves the intentional manufacture, distribution, dispensing or possession of marijuana with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense.
A single first-time offense for violation of federal law (of up to 49 kg or 49 plants) is up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. A second offense is double that. Amounts of more than that could carry up to two decades in prison for a first-time trafficking offense.
This is not something to take lightly.
Before you open up shop, call us.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.