The CANNABIS LAW GROUP continues to fight for the rights of several Lake Forest dispensaries targeted in a federal raid earlier this month on 8 stores located in a two-story strip mall.
“These collectives had a hard time finding landlords who were willing to rent to them,” said Lake Forest Medical Marijuana Attorney Damian Nassiri.
The feds targeted the complex with a forfeiture action after contending the building’s prior owner had received a warning letter from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The feds also seized $136,686 from the building owner’s bank account, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
It is “a Costco, Walmart-type model that we see across California,” said Andre Birotte Jr., U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, who also called it “the new California gold rush.”
Problem is the feds are all over the map. Small shops, big shops and growers. The Internal Revenue Service is in on the action in some cases. And all this comes after two years in which the Obama Administration had indicated it would not make enforcement a priority in states where medical marijuana is legal. California became the first state to legalize marijuana with the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Today, 16 states have legalized medical marijuana.
In this case they point to the city’s efforts at closing the dispensaries as a primary reason for the action — saying Lake Forest has spent more than $585,000 trying to shut down the dispensaries operating out of the building.
A recent Long Beach appeals court decision calls into question a city’s rights to regulate dispensaries, hold lotteries or make other moves that would put it in a position of sanctioning retail sale of marijuana.
The Los Angeles dispensary fight has just begun. Voters legalized marijuana 15 years ago. As recently as the Great Depression, medical marijuana was a state right. All of the wrangling is a bureaucratic construct that in the end must not be allowed to interfere with the will of the voters or the rights of the patient.
The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California– including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.