California Dispensary Fights City Extortion Scheme, Gets Raided By DEA Twice in Four Months

G3 Holistic, a medical marijuana dispensary based in California's Inland Empire, was raided by the DEA for the second time in four months on Monday. Reason.tv profiled G3 Holistic and its owner Aaron Sandusky in a video about the Obama Administration's hypocritical crackdown on medical marijuana.

The San Bernardino Sun says no arrests were made but that the DEA siezed 25 pounds of marijuana and 89 pounds of edible products, handcuffing patients in the process:

Law enforcement "is acting like a terrorist organization," Sandusky said.

DEA officials came into the dispensary with guns drawn about 9:30 a.m., he said.

"I had four patients in here, and they were all handcuffed and interviewed," Sandusky said.

Sandusky has been in a battle with city, state, and federal officials stretching back to 2010, and it's a battle that could have implications for California's entire medical marijuana industry.

The city of Upland filed an injunction against Sandusky in 2010, saying his dispensary violated a city zoning ordinance. Sandusky fought the decision and in the intervening months claimed that Upland's mayor at the time, John Pomierski, tried to extort money from his business earlier in the year, offering to allow the dispensary to remain in business in exchange for a $20,000 "tolling agreement." Using the testimony of Sandusky and another local business owner, a federal grand jury indicted Pomierski in 2011. 

Despite the corruption and cronyism that appears to pervade Upland's permitting and zoning regime, the West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga and the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Riverside have each ruled that Upland is allowed to ban dispensaries even though California's Prop 215 allows them to exist statewide. As Reason's Jacob Sullum has noted, the California Supreme Court will decide later this year whether or not local governments can thwart state law and effectively ban dispensaries.

Regardless of the court's decision, it is curious that the DEA, a federal agency, has injected itself so forcefully into a local conflict, especially one involving alleged corruption, extortion, and the disgraced resignation of top city officials. Check out the San Bernardino Sun for a nice timeline of the Upland case. And watch Reason.tv's video about the Obama administration's crackdown on medical marijuana, featuring Sandusky and G3 Holistic. 



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  • Almanian||

    Do I really need to point out - AGAIN - that if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear?

    Do I?

  • Businessmen...||

    Law enforcement "is acting like a terrorist organization," Sandusky said.

    So, SOP then?

  • o3||

    this seems like dry counties in a wet state...which happens in the south & probably utah

  • Apatheist ಠ_ರೃ||

    Here in Texas, dry counties/cities are almost universally being voted down and in the remaining is almost never enforced. And of course the Federal government isn't raiding bars either. So it's not like it at all.

  • o3||

    my legal point is dry counties in a wet state is legally legal which would be analogous...legally

  • ||

    Its legal if and only if allowed by state law. Which is currently being decided by the courts in CA.

  • Apatheist ಠ_ರೃ||

    Does California law allow it? The article implies it doesn't. In Texas the whole scheme was set up years ago to allow counties/cities/JOP precincts to choose for themselves. Recently they amended it to allow the citizens to hold a vote and over turn dry/damp laws.

  • ||

    So we live under the "rule of law", right? Right? We're not actually ruled by gangs of thugs and their masters, right?

  • ||

    When the thugs make the laws, you can call it "rule of law."

  • ||

    When the thugs make the laws, you can call it "rule of law."

    And don't forget the clothes. Wearing a special costume makes it all, like, official and stuff.

  • ||

    I thought that was the Rule of Claw.

  • End Child Unemployment||

    That's pretty fuckin metal

  • Joe M||

    Just one more election to get the Right People in charge oughta fix things up.

  • ||

    What I find most difficult to accept is the way most people do not comprehend that powers granted to a government or government agency will ALWAYS be abused.

    And it doesn't matter where the current government is in the political spectrum.

  • ||

    What I find most difficult to accept is the way most people do not comprehend that powers granted to a government or government agency will ALWAYS be abused.

    But when that power is being exercised against someone on society's margins (i.e., dirty, dope-smoking hippies), then it's not abuse. It is, as you said above, the "rule of law."

  • ||

    Over the last two generations I have watched the definition of "society's margins" steadily expanding.

    Libertarianism is a "marginal" political belief.

    We are possibly only two more generations from an American Gaius Marius or Lucius Cornelius Sulla.*

    *How would you like your proscriptions filled?

  • End Child Unemployment||

    The relevant question is not whether the powers of government (or anyone else who has power) will be abused. The question to ask is whether reducing the size and scope of government leads to less abuse of power and a more just, prosperous, efficient, equitable, (insert positive adjective here) society than a larger scope of government.

  • ||

    So it is OK to abuse power for "a more just, prosperous, efficient, equitable...government"?

  • Raston Bot||

    Upland has spent hundreds of thousand of dollars in legal fees in their [zoning] battle against G3.

    "...it makes little sense to be spending a half-million dollars in legal fees," Councilman Gino Filippi said.

    In a news release from Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition, Chabot demanded Filippi return campaign contributions from G3. In 2010, Filippi received $500 from G3.

    Filippi recently announced his intention to run for mayor.

    IOW, fuck you, Chabot.

  • ||

    My wet dream is to wake up one morning and read about a team of DEA agents cooling their heels in a local jail, charged with vandalism, assault false imprisonment, etc., all stemming from a raid on a dispensary that was operating in accordance with state law.

  • sarcasmic||

    My wet dream is to wake up one morning and read about how the legislation authorizing the DEA has been repealed, and how so many former agents are committing suicide after finding themselves with no source of income since no private business will hire them.

  • ||

    My wet dream is to wake up one morning and read about how the legislation authorizing the DEA has been repealed . . .

    Tht would be sweet too. But my wet dream has the element of open defiance of the federal government. To me, few things are finer.

  • ||

    Oh, Haliburton or Xe will find them a job.

  • The Mafia||

    We'll find some wurk for doze guys too.

  • The Mad Titan||

    Slightly o/t, if any of these propositions on decriminalizing/legalizing pot actually pass, what's to stop DOJ from ignoring it completely?

  • ||

    Slightly o/t, if any of these propositions on decriminalizing/legalizing pot actually pass, what's to stop DOJ from ignoring it completely?

    The same thing that's stopped them from raiding state-aproved dispensaries?

  • ||

    "Rule of law", right? I eagerly await the anti-anarchist's explanations of how their precious "rule of law" explains this.

  • ||

    Gaaaarrrrhhh..."anti-anarchists' explanations". Plural. PLURAL.

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    I can't wait to hear the anarchists tell me what is stopping any roving band with guns from becoming a "government" and doing the same damn thing anyway.

  • ||

    So I guess you're unable to grasp that that's exactly my point--that we in fact live in an anarchy, but all the "rule of law" dopes convince themselves they aren't. But it's good to know that you have to have everything spelled out explicitly for you. In the future I'll take that into account.

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    Uh, what? So if we live in an anarchy, I guess you don't have any reason to complain.

  • ||

    Where did I complain, tuff gai? I asked you to explain how your "rule of law" explains this situation, which I note you've scrupulously avoided doing.

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    "tuff gai"?

    Anyway, Rule of Law explains this because the Federal Government is supreme to the States, and the Federal Government's regulation of drugs has been found to be constitutional.

    It's not a rule I like, to be sure, but it is a rule - a pretty clear one, if you ask me.

  • ||

    we in fact live in an anarchy

    Wait, what? If we live in an anarchy and you are an anarchist does that mean that you favor our current system? This is the Utopia to which you aspire?

  • ||

    It's getting really tiresome having to explain this shit to people too dense to get the point.

    The point is: there is no rule of law. The "anarchy" I would prefer is one where people don't pretend that we aren't ruled by thugs and their gangs.

    Is any of this getting through to you? I only have so much time to break it down into small words for you.

  • Joe M||

    This looks like a breakdown of federalism, where the top tier of government isn't playing hands off. Sucks when you can't depend on local laws taking precedence.

  • Frank||

    Federal law always takes prescidince.

  • ||

    If we are ruled by thugs and their gangs, that isn't anarchy, is it?

    You say people pretend that we are not, which means we are.

    Perhaps if you did not directly refute your own point it would make more sense.

    "We are living in an anarchy that has rulers"?!

  • anon||

    It's getting really tiresome having to explain this shit to people too dense to get the point.

    OH MY FUCKING GOD THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING WHAT ANARCHISM IS.

    So sick of hearing about "anarchist libertarians." They are not even in the same league.

  • ||

    Don't worry, anon. Marshall is here to continue to utterly not get it, and be annoying about it in the process.

  • MNG||

    I think Marshall has to take five minutes break from Free Republic a day. We get his wonderful Islamophobia and such and then he gets to go back to work.

  • ||

    Am I being annoying? It was certainly my intent.

    What you describe is tyranny, not anarchy, and I don't disagree.

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    Anarchy means, literally, "no rules".

    Episiarch says we have anarchy...with rulers.

    That ain't anarchy. If there is some esoteric definition we're all missing, please feel free to elucidate.

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    Correction: "no rulers"

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    It's getting really tiresome having to explain this shit to people too dense to get the point.

    If people aren't understanding you, that could either be (a) their fault, (b) yours or (c) a mix. Try to mitigate your end and I'll try to mitigate mine.

    The point is: there is no rule of law. The "anarchy" I would prefer is one where people don't pretend that we aren't ruled by thugs and their gangs.

    I guess we have anarchic success then?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Regardless of the court's decision, it is curious that the DEA, a federal agency, has injected itself so forcefully into a local conflict, especially one involving alleged corruption, extortion, and the disgraced resignation of top city officials.

    They're committed drug warriors. Of course they're going to fight the good fight regardless of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding their allies.

  • ||

    Just a reminder to our listeners that the Democrat Party is the party of drug legalization. Those evil Republicans want to take away your freedoms. That is all.

  • End Child Unemployment||

    Good thing they follow through on their stated brand characteristics.

  • Sevo||

    1) End wars
    Check
    2) Reduce drug arrests
    Check
    3) Reduce the deficit
    Check
    4) Reduce medical costs
    Check
    5) Restore a healthy economy
    Check
    N...)
    Check

  • ||

    This is meant to be ironic, right?

  • DEA||

    it is curious that the DEA, a federal agency, has injected itself so forcefully into a local conflict

    All matters are really federal, there's no such thing as local conflicts.

    especially one involving alleged corruption, extortion, and the disgraced resignation of top city officials

    Us authoriatarian assclowns have to watch out for our own.

  • ||

    DEA officials came into the dispensary with guns drawn

    Umm, why?

    Oh, I know why (it the authoritay, bay-bee!). I'm really just curious as to what their pretext is.

  • Joe M||

    You could bark your shin on a wheelchair.

  • DEA||

    Why? Because... fuck you, and fuck those dirty pot smoking hippies, that's why!

  • Paul||

    I'm really just curious as to what their pretext is.

    There may have been dogs on the premisis.

  • Frank||

    The need to protect them selves when drugs or weapons may be present.

  • Paul||

    The need to protect them selves when drugs or weapons may be present.

    At the risk of responding to a troll (or not getting the joke), how does one "protect themself" from drugs, with a gun?

  • RBS||

    Contact high!

  • RBS||

    I realize this makes no sense. Please disregard.

  • MNG||

    This is bad, but all of the raids are bad, every one.

    On the campaign trail Obama clearly said he would direct the DOJ to stop these. Then he got into office and dithered for months. During this dithering anyone foolish enough to take him at his word was subject to being roughed up, arrested and punished by the feds. Then he finally had Holder release a directive to that effect and....the raids have actually increased.

    Real people are being roughed up and incarcerated with my tax dollars because they are selling a plant to treat sick people. At every stop, wherever he goes, liberals need to be reminded of this crap from Obama.

  • Joe M||

    This was one of the biggest areas in which Obama was expected to be better than McCain. There must be some kind of presidential kool-aid they have to drink after taking the oath.

  • MNG||

    I've said before here that Obama gave libertarians very little reason to think he would be better than McCain, and he turned out to welch on most of them...

    I think McCain would be more likely to have initiated more military action than Obama (he's approved of every one of Obama's while also calling for more than Obama on Iran and Syria). And Sullum has reported here that Obama's DOJ has stopped the insane Bush-era anti-porn stuff.

    But the two areas I thought he could bridge for liberals and libertarians were 1. stop the medical marijuana raids and 2. repeal the insane gambling laws the GOP congress and Bush made.

    He did neither.

  • KDN||

    2. repeal the insane gambling laws the GOP congress and Bush made.

    I assumed that Big Casino is a Democratic fundraising constituency considering its base of operations and its heavily unionized workforce (note: I'm too lazy to look, feel free to correct). Based on this assumption I never expected expected any step back from the stupid gambling regime that was instituted.

    The so-cons have a sinful behavior to regulate and the Democrats have a swing state core constituency's livelihood to protect. It's a lose/lose for the rest of us.

  • Deja Moo||

    The San Bernardino Sun says no arrests were made but that the DEA siezed 25 pounds of marijuana and 89 pounds of edible products, handcuffing patients in the process:

    Somebody needs to tell those DEA guys there's an better way to get their weed!

  • bongs for the DEA||

    yeah, but not cheaper!

  • Paul||

    Somebody needs to tell those DEA guys there's an better way to get their weed!

    No, no there's not.

    Imagine if you could drive up to Safeway, put on a badge, draw a gun, walk into the store and fill up a cart with whatever you need and walk out-- and it would all be 100% legal.

    The only "better" way to get your groceries at that point would to simply think of the groceries you need, and have them appear in your cupboard and refrigerator through some kind of warp in the space-time continuum.

  • Paul||

    Regardless of the court's decision, it is curious that the DEA, a federal agency, has injected itself so forcefully into a local conflict, especially one involving alleged corruption, extortion, and the disgraced resignation of top city officials.

    Wouldn't that be the perfect place for them to operate?

  • Commentariat GOP Shill||

    I seem to remember the last big anarchist fight came on a DEA / California dispensary thread.

  • shamalamadingdong||

    I have been waiting for the appropriate thread to post this:

    http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/192

    This is the "Holder memo" that supposedly deescalates the raids on medical marijuana clinics. It does nothing of the sort. In fact, it says just about nothing regarding Obama's supposed tolerance for MM types. Here is the money quote from the memo:

    "Nor does this guidance preclude investigation or prosecution, even when there is clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state law, in particular circumstances where investigation or prosecution otherwise serves important federal interests."

    In other words, the feds might not raid you, or they might raid you. It is entirely discretionary on their part, there is no guidance from on high to leave (state) law abiding clinics alone.

  • o3||

    i may have to steal ur handle, you know, on blogs u dont know about...plus marty feldman's eyes

    mine all mine

    bwhahahahahahahahahaha (cough)

  • ||

    America is probably the most corrupt developed country on the plannet. Perhaps our population will remain oblivious to it but the whole world can see it. We are a laughing stock.

  • o3||

    i may have to steal ur handle, you know, on blogs u dont know about...plus marty feldman's eyes

    mine all mine

    bwhahahahahahahahahaha (cough)

  • o3||

    it ignores 2x posts

  • ||

    Surprised nobody has thought that maybe the Feds thought it was that other 'Sandusky'

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