Federal authorities have sent warning letters to 103 illegal medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County warning them to close or face asset forfeiture lawsuits.
Seventy-one of the dispensaries are located in Los Angeles, 28 are located in Long Beach, and four are located in the Antelope Valley. Two of the stores in Long Beach are housed in buildings that are the subject of asset forfeiture lawsuits that were filed on June 11 in United States District Court. The dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles are located within the jurisdictions of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton, Rampart and Harbor divisions. The forfeiture lawsuits allege that the owners of the properties knowingly allowed commercial marijuana stores — and, in one case, a commercial grow operation — to exist within their buildings. The warning letters give the operators and landlords 14 days to comply with federal law or risk potential civil or criminal actions.
With the lawsuits filed on June 11, the United States Attorney’s Office has filed a total of 32 asset forfeiture complaints against properties housing illegal marijuana operations. Twenty-three of complaints have been resolved with the closure of the medical marijuana dispensary and consent decrees. In some cases, the property owners to forfeit rent payments made by a dispensary operator. In all cases, the consent decrees required the property owners to agree, among other things, that they would no longer rent to people associated with illegal marijuana operations, or the property would be subject to an immediate forfeiture to the government.
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