The Feds Are Trying to Seize a $1.5 Million Building Over a $37 Pot Sale

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An Anaheim computer engineer and his dentist wife might soon lose their $1.5 million office building over a $37 medical cannabis sale, according to OC Weekly reports.

The married, middle-aged couple repeatedly rented office space to dispensaries in the medi-weed battleground of Anaheim. In Dec., 2011 a local undercover officer posing as a patient conducted a buy at the office of one of their tenants, ReLeaf Health & Wellness. ReLeaf gave the cops a good deal — 4.2 grams for $37. It was enough to prosecute.

Federal penalty for this much pot: $1.5 million.
  • Federal penalty for this much pot: $1.5 million.

On August 20, the Drug Enforcement Administration moved to seize their property,

Threatened with forfeiture, like more than a dozen dispensaries in the Bay Area, the landlords kicked out ReLeaf and asked the US Attorney to cease actions. The D.E.A. has not — a fact that seemed to surprise the federal judge handling the case.

U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford "repeatedly referred to inconsistencies in the federal government's policy on marijuana—first signaling (via the Ogden memo) that it wasn't going after medical-marijuana clubs, then cracking down and sending threatening letters to landlords."

"Do you intend to carry this all the way through forfeiture?" Guilford asked U.S. Attorney Greg Parham.

"Yes, absolutely, your honor," Parham responded.

Guilford added: "Don't you think in this world of change and whatever, progress or regress, depending on your point of view, this is the exact case that you don't want presented as a test case on the interaction of federal and state [law] and medical and dispensaries and forfeiture?" Guilford asked. "[Y]ou know, a poor dentist has to turn over a whole bunch of money just because they maybe were relying on what they had heard federal agents say?"

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