It may not be too late for marijuana dispensaries and dealers. But will the raids ever stop?
After spending millions on police enforcement, the United States and beyond remain unable to stop the wave of social change. The culture cannabis is changing and people are cashing-in before the law changes. And with elections in the offing, there’s still time to truly free the weed. Will legalization on the horizon, the hope if charges won’t be so server for those who are still trying to run their businesses.
But that hope is fading as raids continue to sweep across North-America and the globe. The governments are looking to take control and then also maintain a risk-free environment for patients and law enforcement.
Queen Pin Mom from California
via Kulture Hub
Police in Southern California raided a weed “fortress” on Wednesday after a number of neighbors complaints. Police seized 35,000 marijuana plants and shut down an operation they believed was bringing in millions of dollars a month. A warehouse wrapped with 12-foot metal rolling fence, fortified doors, large concrete wall covering the parking lot and a number of surveillance cameras.
Inside this four-story warehouse, police found thousands of plants, heat lamps, wood tables and a very advanced irrigation system. Investigators raided three properties owned by the same woman and seized 18,000 pounds (8,164 kilograms) of marijuana in total. A total of eight people have been detained by police and no charges have been laid.
“In my 26 years, it was the biggest grow that I’ve ever seen,” San Bernardino police Lt. Mike Madden said. “There were all different rooms for different processes and hydration, filtration and ventilation. It was pretty extensive.”
The electric bill for the property was about $67,000 per month, police said. Police investigated the owner of the properties. “Queen Pin” Stephanie Smith, 43, but she was not arrested or charged with a crime. If charges are filed, Smith will face a misdemeanor, jail time and a fine at the state level. The police still have no leads on where the marijuana is being sold.
California voters have approved the legalization of marijuana, but growers must receive licenses and permits from local governments and the state. In addition, Recreational pot sales will start in California on Jan. 1.
San Deigo’s Big Apology
via 1776 Coalition
With California gearing up to permit the sale of recreational marijuana certain cases are fighting back. San Diego County’s top prosecutor has agreed to return $290,000 in seized product to a cannabis business owner from last year. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that District Attorney Summer Stephan has settled an asset-forfeiture case involving James Slatic.
Drug agents raided Slatic’s San Diego business, Med-West Distribution, in January of last year. The business made marijuana-based products for sale to medical pot shops. Upon raiding, authorities confiscated more than $300,000 in cash, alleging it was an illegal drug profit.
Slatic, his family, and his business had their bank accounts frozen and property seized, all under the guise of civil asset forfeiture, a practice that promises to keep the streets clean of “dirty money.” However, they are happy to have this money back but his company and family life have been destroyed.
Denver Police Raid Sweet Leaf
All Sweet Leaf stores in Colorado — 10 in Denver and one in Aurora — were closed Thursday. Police said the operation was conducted after a criminal investigation into the illegal distribution of marijuana at eight dispensary locations. The alleged criminal violations are related to the sale of marijuana in excess of allowable amounts established by Amendment 64, which allows for the personal use of marijuana.
Also, police arrested 12 people at eight Sweet Leaf locations on charges of illegal distribution of marijuana
“It is unclear at this point exactly what actions if any, Sweet Leaf took to cause the city to issue this order,” the statement said. “Sweet Leaf is cooperating with the authorities to resolve this issue. We have hopes to have all of their stores back in operation as soon as possible.”
The coordinated enforcement action was solely a Colorado agency effort headed by Denver police, which partnered with the Aurora Police Department. In addition, the city has not suspended Sweet Leaf’s business license for its East Sixth Avenue store but they are waiting on information on the status of the store.
The Land Down Under
via The Daily Mail
Three people have been charged after police seized more than 800 cannabis plants and a gun in raids on alleged crop houses in Melbourne.
Melton Crime Investigation Unit detectives arrested two men and a 53-year old woman during the week-long operation. A 26-year old man is charged to appear in Court on March 19. He is facing charges including cultivating cannabis, trafficking and theft. The 31-year old man is charged with cultivating cannabis and trafficking. Furthermore, a woman from Melton West is remanded to appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on March 8 on charges including cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis, trafficking cannabis and theft.
Police executed search warrants at eight homes in the Brookfield, Melton West, Rockbank, Caroline Springs and Burnside Heights areas, as part of Operation Neckties, between Monday and Friday, seizing 837 cannabis plants and a gun.