Proposition D Violators Face Los Angeles Criminal Marijuana Charges

When Los Angeles voters approved the strict regulatory guidelines laid forth in Proposition D, it was inevitable that the majority of the city’s marijuana shops would be forced to close or face an intense legal battle.
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Now, that battle has begun, with seven medical marijuana dispensaries facing criminal charges for operating outside Proposition D’s slim parameters. Operators of these facilities have been sent notices to appear to answer for the misdemeanor violations. The notices were sent by the L.A. City Attorney.

Landlords, operators and collective organizers should not face these proceedings alone without strong legal representation. Even though they are misdemeanors and despite recent concessions from the U.S. Justice Department to back off on marijuana prosecutions, it’s entirely possible that these cases could snowball into federal complaints leading to much more serious charges or costly civil forfeiture actions.

That each of these cases would be directly handled through criminal courts rather than administrative means speaks volumes.

Among those facilities targeted:

  • The Cannaverse;
  • San Pedro West Third Collective;
  • L.A. Cal Med Access;
  • LA Nature’s Wonders Caregivers Group;
  • South LA Universal Holistic Collective;
  • LA View Park Caregivers;
  • South LA Optimal Global Healing.

We would encourage any of those facing charges to reach out to one of our experienced Los Angeles marijuana criminal defense lawyers.

At this point, as we understand it, none of the facilities have been forced to close. However, it’s likely as these cases proceed, we will begin seeing hundreds of facilities shuttering their doors.

This is the first time since Proposition D has passed that the city attorney’s office has attempted to exert regulatory control over the hundreds of collectives and dispensaries that have continued to operate while other regulatory efforts have become embroiled in court challenges.

Voters approved Proposition D in May, amid a limited number of other options, following city council’s abandonment of its previous dispensary ban, which was met with fierce opposition.

Proposition D effectively outlaws dispensaries, but it allows grandfathered status for the 134 that were registered with the city back in 2007, when a citywide ban was first initiated. Some 1,000 others didn’t make the cut, including the seven that are now facing criminal charges.

The city attorney’s office said dozens of dispensaries shuttered of their own accord after the passage of Proposition D, and that these criminal actions are just the first of what we expect to be many. More are expected in the upcoming weeks.

The criminal complaints provide no specific details, except for providing dates and citing language from the municipal code.

In the meantime, there are several dispensaries that are working to challenge Prop D on the grounds that, for one thing, the 2007 cut-off date is arbitrary and fails to afford existing businesses due process.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Criminal Complaints Filed Against Individuals at 7 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, September 2013, By Patrick Healy, NBC 4
More Blog Entries:
California Marijuana Lawyers: Don’t Rely on Assumptions, Sept. 3, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog