Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced on Tuesday that he has filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against Nestdrop, a company that has developed a smart phone app enabling users to have medical marijuana delivered.
The announcement is the latest effort by Feuer to regulate medical marijuana under Proposition D, a measure approved by voters in 2013. Feuer also announced that authorities have closed 402 illegal medical marijuana dispensaries since he took office last year, and said prosecutors and law enforcement will continue to work with the community to identify and shutter additional illegal dispensaries that are currently operating, or sporadically open in neighborhoods.
Nestdrop previously advertised its delivery service for alcohol, and recently announced that it is expanding to deliver medical marijuana. Feuer said under Prop. D, only patients with a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana, or a licensed caregiver, can transport the drug in a vehicle.
There is currently no timeline for when a ruling will be made on the lawsuit, which accuses Nestdrop of committing “ … a flagrant attempt to evade the restrictions on the unregulated and illegal delivery of marijuana by motor vehicles to homes and places of business throughout the city of Los Angeles, in blatant disregard of the strictures of Proposition D.”
“There have been creative efforts to circumvent Proposition D, and we have taken action. Now we are tackling a new challenge, and that challenge is posed by efforts to put in place medical marijuana delivery services,” Feuer said. “We have ongoing investigations regarding such services, but in the past month or so, there has been a new player on the scene … an organization called Nestdrop. We have filed a complaint … to obtain an order from a court that Nestdrop cease and desist from what we allege is an unlawful practice, a circumvention of Proposition D. [The law] is very clear; there is no lawful delivery service under Prop. D. It is not a permitted way of doing business.”
Feuer said medical marijuana delivery and cash being accepted by a driver is a “potentially volatile combination” that could lead to violence. He added that the lawsuit does not target people who use medical marijuana or attempt to have the drug delivered.
Although a judge has not yet ruled on the lawsuit, Feuer said if Nestdrop continues to provide the service, the company is doing so “at their peril.” The company could face fines for each day the service is provided.
Nestdrop, and LLC company run by co-founders Michael Joseph Pycher, Roddy Radnia and Adam Larson, issued a statement via social media in response to the announcement about the lawsuit.
“In light of recent news, Nestdrop remains committed to servicing those patients in the city of Los Angeles and surrounding areas,” the statement read. “As we’ve said from the beginning, Nestdrop is not a dispensary, collective, grower or even a delivery service. Nestdrop is the technology platform that connects law abiding medical marijuana patients with local dispensaries to receive the medication that they need in a safe and secure manner. Our goal is to make access to this legal medicine convenient for patients who truly need it — especially as many of these suffering patients may have limited mobility and may be unable to visit a dispensary unassisted — and don’t understand why the city is trying to restrict their access to the important medicine. We are saddened by the city attorney’s recent attempt to restrict patients’ access to their legal medicine and intend to fight this.”
Feuer added that the lawsuit against Nestdrop, and the push to close illegal dispensaries operating in neighborhoods, is “designed to send a very strong message.”
“The balance that voters sought to effectuate through Proposition D, is the balance my office is committed to [obtaining],” Feuer added.
The city attorney’s office has filed more than 200 lawsuits against 743 defendants allegedly operating illegal dispensaries since Feuer took office. The city attorney estimated that the approximately 400 dispensaries that have closed represent half of the total number of dispensaries operating in the city. Under Prop. D, only approximately 180 dispensaries qualify from immunity for prosecution. Feuer encouraged the public to report dispensaries that are believed to be operating illegally to police, who will investigate the locations and work with the city attorney’s office.
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