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Medical Marijuana: DEA Raids LA Dispensary, LA City Attorney Moves Against 21 More

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #621)
Politics & Advocacy

Thursday was a day of concentrated attack on the thriving Los Angeles-area medical marijuana scene, with the DEA hitting a Culver City dispensary and the LA City Attorney's Office serving eviction notices to 18 dispensaries within the city and filing nuisance abatement lawsuits against three more. One dispensary, the Organica Collective in Culver City, was the object of attention from both the feds and the city, while two Holistic Caregiver dispensaries were the objects of a joint multi-agency investigation including the DEA.

The enforcement actions were undertaken independently, said DEA spokesperson Sarah Pullen. "It's a separate thing, but we were aware of each other's operations today," she said, declining to comment further except to say that search warrants were being served.

Early reports had numerous police and DEA vehicles outside the collective and three people in handcuffs outside the building. Local TV station CBS 13 reported Thursday afternoon that Organica owner Jeffrey Joseph had been arrested, apparently on state marijuana distribution charges.

According to a press release from the LA City Attorney's Office, Organica was also one of three dispensaries named in lawsuits filed by the city for violations of narcotics abatement and public nuisance ordinances. The other two were two Holistic Caregivers locations, which the city said were also the object of a joint investigation with the DEA.

All three dispensaries were also accused of violating the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Law, which requires the proper labeling of medicines. The LA City Attorney's Office won the first case applying that law to medical marijuana last month.

The alleged behavior of the dispensaries may not have been prudent, but it's not clear it was unlawful. According to prosecutors, "Organica passed out flyers for the dispensary near Culver City High School as classes were being dismissed. Officers have found students to be in possession of marijuana apparently purchased from Organica. Persons stopped in the vicinity of Organica also admitted supplying the shop with marijuana laced edibles and picking up large quantities of marijuana from Organica for delivery to other dispensaries."

All the prosecutors said about Holistic Caregivers is that "law enforcement officers conducted several undercover buys" there and that they recovered "large quantities" of marijuana at the home of dispensary owner Virgil Grant, who had been convicted in June on federal marijuana charges for his seven-dispensary operation.

In addition to the abatement lawsuits against Organica and Holistic Caregivers, the City Attorney's Office sent eviction letters to owners of 18 different dispensaries and owners of the properties engaged in the sale of marijuana by dispensary employees. These actions are not part of LA's new medical marijuana dispensary ordinance, which has not yet taken effect.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


shrdlu (not verified)

The "law and order" crowd, who use that title as a cover for their Rambo activities will of course not go quietly into the night of reason. These are people who are living out their most cherished fantasy, being a gestapo cop, wearing a badge and strapping on a gun, experiencing the glorious and satisfying feeling of intimidating, frightening and runining people's lives to satisfy their pathological need to dominate and inflict suffering and doing all of these things secure in the knowledge that they will not be facing any real danger. The reefer smokers and their suppliers are not and hopefully will never exhibit desperado behavior, they are people engaged in at worst, civil disobedience but who in reality are offering services to people who need them. Even recreational users of the sacred hemp are traditionally peaceful people who have exhibited great tolerance and even a sometime heroic sense of humor in the face of being humiliated and demeaned. The situation will not change any time soon because of these reasons.

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 12:35pm Permalink
shrdlu (not verified)

It is to be sincerely hoped that people who use reefer will maintain their excellent grasp on reality and will not be forced into becoming like their tormentors but will remain people of good will who will ensure that the marauders won't have reason to up the ante by more violent means than they have and their means have at times been very violent; the midnight, SS-type raids, terror tactics and all too often gunning down people who offered even the tiniest resistance such as asking what was the reason for their criminality, an act that has more than once been a fatal one.

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 12:46pm Permalink
Bullybeer (not verified)

After Cali becomes the first state to legalize marijuana this november,...D.E.A. wont mess with us anymore,why would they? Tax,control,regulate in 2010!!!! Those stormtroopers days are numbered, in Cali anyway.

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 5:34pm Permalink
David S. Schne… (not verified)

I'll bet former L.A. Police chief (Blees his sanctimonious ass) has risen form his sickbed and found a miracle cure over this deal...

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 9:30pm Permalink
David S. Schne… (not verified)

I'll bet former L.A. Police chief (Blees his sanctimonious ass) has risen form his sickbed and found a miracle cure over this deal...

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 9:30pm Permalink
Carmen L. Brown (not verified)

Time to write to everyone from the President on down the line. Time to write to everyone from the City Council on up.
Mayors need emails. State Legislators need emails. Senators need emails. DEA agents need emails.

Let's get together to protest.

Tue, 02/23/2010 - 7:16pm Permalink

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