Drug Law

Just Like Bush, L.A. City Attorney Threatens Medical Marijuana Landlords

| by ASA

Finally, nearly two weeks after Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich issued a press release announcing nuisance abatement actions against local dispensaries, Americans for Safe Access has unearthed one of at least 18 letters sent to medical marijuana providers and their landlords threatening imminent eviction.

Under the Bush Administration, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used the similar tactic of sending letters to more than 300 dispensary landlords in California, threatening criminal prosecution and seizure of their property if they did not evict their tenants. Although this cynical tactic resulted in the closure of dozens of dispensaries across the state, the federal government’s effort to undermine the implementation of California’s medical marijuana law has thankfully failed.

That Trutanich is using the state’s “nuisance” statute to try to evict and shut down otherwise lawful dispensaries is evidence that the City Attorney’s continued use of this cynical tactic is also doomed to failure. Despite attending a training on “The Eradication of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in the City of Los Angeles,” hosted by the California Narcotics Officers Association (CNOA), the City Attorney had still not done his legal homework. If he had, Trutanich might have discovered that, according to Health & Safety Code Section 11362.775, collectives and cooperatives are exempt from the nuisance statute he cites in the eviction letter.

Sorry “Nuch,” try again!

Anyway, didn’t Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck conduct a crime study, which concluded that, “Banks are more likely to get robbed than medical marijuana dispensaries?” Beck also found that law enforcement claims of dispensaries attracting crime “doesn’t really bear out.” Not only is Trutanich manufacturing a problem that doesn’t exist, he’s using a flawed legal argument to enforce it. Certainly, the Los Angeles City Attorney has better ways to spend taxpayers’ money.