October 27, 2011 By Wallin & Klarich

While it is legal under California law to open and operate a marijuana dispensary it is not legal under federal law. For many years the federal government took little or no action to shut down these businesses. Then the federal government attempted to go after individual marijuana dispensary businesses with little success because they would succeed in closing one operation to only see ten others open up in nearby areas. Now the federal government has gotten serious and gone to where the money is.

Recently the federal authorities have taken legal action against the landlords that lease office space to these marijuana dispensaries with powerful results.

Earlier this month US Attorney Andre Birotte announced the seizure of $135,000 from a local strip mall owner who had rented more than a third of his center to a row of marijuana dispensary businesses. It appears by the US Attorney going after the pocketbook of the landlords it is having the effect of closing down the marijuana storefronts entirely. This action happened in the city of Lake Forest. According to Attorney Jeffrey Dunn, whose law firm represents the City of Lake Forest in their efforts to shut down these businesses, “we don’t have a single dispensary operating in the city of Lake Forest” “They’re all closed after the federal enforcement actions.

If that wasn’t bad enough, according to Attorney Dunn, the City of Lake Forest is now going after the owners of the facilities and the landlord for up to $600,000 in legal fees and costs the city has incurred in their efforts to shut down the marijuana dispensaries. This certainly appears to be a full scale attempt to close down these facilities and by doing so it will also greatly impact the marijuana growers who supply these facilities with the marijuana they sell to their customers.

What will happen next is unclear? Certainly, those that have medical licenses to use marijuana are going to vehemently argue that this interferes with their lawful right to use a substance that has been deemed by their physicians to be medically necessary. We assume there will soon be major litigation that may end up in the United States Supreme Court at some point in the future.

We are interested in your comments on this major legal maneuver by the federal government. You have to wonder with so much federal crime occurring why the federal government would be spending such valuable resources to attempt to shut down what are considered lawful businesses under California law? Feel free to contact our law firm at 877-466-5245 or reply to this blog below. This is not an issue that will be going away anytime soon
Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

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