“As part of an ongoing initiative against the commercial
marijuana industry in California”–a.k.a. two-faced Obama's war on patients for Big Pharma–the feds today filed three asset forfeiture
lawsuits targeting Anaheim clinics. “While these marijuana stores purport to be 'medical marijuana dispensaries'
operating pursuant to California law, and claim to be distributing marijuana for medical
purposes, such distribution is not a recognized exception to the [federal] Controlled
Substances Act,” read the suits.
According to a Department of Justice statement, the civil asset forfeiture complaints were filed this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against:
- AAA Wellness Center and Anaheim Patients
Association (formerly known as Anaheim Caregivers Association and Anaheim
Caregivers Dispensary) at 503 North Anaheim Blvd. Both had been served City of Anaheim cease-and-desist orders, and a property co-owner was previously convicted in state court
on felony narcotics charges, according to the feds;
- Releaf Health & Wellness at 2601 West Ball Road that also received a cease and
desist letter from the city. The same building formerly housed Nature's Top Shelf Collective and
Remedy Tree, which are both now closed;
- Premium Organic Treatments PCA,
Mid-County Patients Association and DKG Group Corp., all of which operated at 3148-3164 East La Palma Ave. and had
received cease and desist letters.
Search warrants were served this morning at AAA Wellness Center and Anaheim Patients Association, but the feds do not indicate whether anything was seized.
The suits allege that “the owners of the properties knowingly allowed
illegal marijuana stores to operate in their buildings. . . . The government is informed and
believes that at all times relevant to this complaint, the operation of the marijuana
stores on the defendant property was not (and is not) permitted under California law.”
Besides the lawsuits, the feds have sent warning
letters to people associated with 66 dispensaries in Anaheim and La Habra, according to the Justice Department, which notes most of these clinics remain open, including 38 in Anaheim and two in La Habra. The letters warn
operators and landlords that they have 14 days to come into compliance with federal law or risk
potential civil or criminal actions.
Search warrants were also served as the La Habra stores that remain open, although the government again does not indicate whether anything was seized. No arrests were announced either.
Today's enforcement is part of a larger, 10-month sweep of dispensaries in seven counties that are part of the Central District of California. With today's lawsuits, the U.S. Attorney's Office has filed a total
of 16 asset forfeiture complaints during that enforcement period. Cash was seized from the operator of one store.
Five of the 16 civil actions against landlords have been settled with the property owners agreeing to close dispensaries, forfeit rents they received from the businesses and agreeing never to rent space again to dispensaries lest they lose the properties, according to the government.
The U.S. Attorney's Office, which has also targeted marijuana growers as part of the operation, is working in conjunction with the Drug
Enforcement Administration and IRS-Criminal Investigation. Cops in Anaheim and
La Habra assisted in the local investigations.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.