By Gustavo Arellano
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"Do you intend to carry this all the way through forfeiture?" Guilford asked U.S. Attorney Greg Parham.
"Yes, absolutely, your honor," Parham responded.
Guilford then asked Parham whether, assuming the DEA felt it necessary to threaten landlords, he was certain he'd chosen the right landlord to threaten.
"Don't you think in this world of change and whatever, progress or regress, depending on your point of view, this is the exact case that you don't want presented as a test case on the interaction of federal and state [law] and medical and dispensaries and forfeiture?" Guilford asked. "[Y]ou know, a poor dentist has to turn over a whole bunch of money just because they maybe were relying on what they had heard federal agents say?"
The lawyer for the engineer and dentist who may be in the process of losing their nest egg is Matthew Pappas. He also represents several former patients of ReLeaf Health & Wellness, including Marla James, a wheelchair-bound amputee who smokes marijuana to relieve chronic pain, in a lawsuit against Anaheim for violating California's Disabled Persons Act by calling in the feds to crack down on cannabis clubs. "The only evidence in this case is a $37 purchase of medical marijuana and an anonymous comment on a website that anybody could have written," Pappas says. "For this, they want to take a $1.5 million building."
Although it's not the city threatening to take away the engineer's building, the city did provide the DEA with the "evidence" against him, and then invited the feds to threaten him. "The question I have is if the city of Anaheim authorizes the Anaheim Convention Center to promote medical-marijuana dispensaries in the happiest place on earth, how is that not a double standard?" Pappas' client asks. "And if it's so bad, why doesn't the federal government raid the Anaheim Convention Center? They have no right to come in and tell me I can't do this if they are promoting it themselves."