Lawmakers in California put us one step closer to shutting down the practice of asset forfeiture law that gives the government the right to seize cash, cars, real estate and other property solely on the belief that it has been used to further criminal activity.
Senate Bill 443 was passed 67 to 7 by the California Assembly, backed by a bi-partisan effort led by Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and David Hadley (R-Torrance).
The way the current law stands, certain public agencies are allowed to use this action as a means of recovering expenses used to seize, eradicate, destroy or take remedial action in connection with any controlled substance. The local or state agency in question does have to provide some type of clear and convincing evidence that the property should be subject to forfeiture and proceeds from the sale of that property can only be distributed to specified agencies, with the attorney general publishing annual reports of forfeitures in the state. It’s a process that has been used repeatedly to seize property from those connected to the medical marijuana industry in California – from dispensary operators to landlords to patients to doctors to farmers. Continue reading