DEA Cracking Down On Santa Ana Pot Clubs

On April 18, the DEA added Santa Ana to its list of cities where it has cracked down on medical marijuana dispensaries with the help of local officials.

The Weekly has already reported how the feds recently targeted pot clubs in Anaheim, even going so far as to file a $1.5 million asset forfeiture lawsuit against a middle aged couple who rented to a since-shuttered collective. There, as has now happened in Santa Ana, the DEA raided some clubs while sending threatening letters to others, doing so only after being invited in by local officials.

Marla James, president of the Orange County chapter of Americans for Safe Access, blasted the move  in an interview today. "The city is a municipality of the state of California," she said. "It isn't their role to call in the federal government to target collectives that are obeying state law. By doing that, the city is actually subverting state law."

The feds filed asset forfeiture lawsuits against the owners of buildings where the following collectives are located: The Green Love Collective, (GLC), The Dispensary Store, SoCal Compassion, Club Meds, Well Greenz, J Pacific Life and Healing OC. The DEA simultaneously raided the latter two of those clubs, and sent letters warning 56 other clubs that they had just 14 days to shut down or else face "potential civil or criminal actions."

A press release issued by the U.S. Department of Justice last week stated that, including this most recent crackdown in Santa Ana, "federal enforcement actions - asset forfeiture lawsuits, warning letters and related activity - have now targeted more than 525 illegal marijuana businesses in the Central District of California. The majority of those businesses previously targeted are now closed, are the subject of eviction proceedings by landlords, or have been the subject of additional federal enforcement actions."

According to James, not all clubs in Santa Ana have been threatened by city or federal officials. "I was at Paragon Vitality Collective on Broadway this weekend," she said. "They haven't gotten any letters telling them they had to leave. We had a nice 420 party there."

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