California Couple Could Lose a $1.5 Million Property Over a $37 Medical Marijuana Purchase

Nick Schou at the OC Weekly tells the story of an Irvine couple who stand to lose their $1.5 million office building in Anaheim because they made the mistake of renting space to a medical marijuana dispensary. It seemed like a good idea at the time, which was shortly after Deputy Attorney General David Ogden issued a memo telling U.S. attorneys they should not use Justice Department resources to prosecute marijuana offenders who are complying with state laws allowing medical use of the plant. But after that green light prompted a surge in dispensaries, the department shifted course, claiming it never meant to imply that it would tolerate the sale of medical marijuana (despite Attorney General Eric Holder's repeated comments to that effect). Now the owners of the Anaheim building, a dentist and computer engineer who were counting on it for retirement income, are trying to fend off federal forfeiture based on a $37 marijuana purchase from ReLeaf Health & Welness by "an undercover officer posing as a patient with a legitimate doctor's recommendation for cannabis." The owners say they viewed the dispensary as a legitimate business. "I am a law-abiding citizen," says the computer engineer, who asked Schou not to use his name because he has a government security clearance. "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong."

At a hearing last December, Schou reports, U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford questioned the wisdom and fairness of the forfeiture effort:

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. He even wondered aloud if President Obama would change his mind about marijuana again, after the DEA had already seized the building at issue in the case.

"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 then asked Parham whether, assuming the DEA felt it necessary to threaten landlords, he was certain he'd chosen the right landlord to threaten.

"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?"

Schou notes that the seizure came in response to a request for help from the city of Anaheim, which this July will host "the Kush Expo, a $20-per-ticket pot-stravaganza of all things cannabis."

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  • Matrix||

    I think a Law Abiding Citizen should go off on this prosecutor.

  • ||

    +1 cellphone gun

  • Brett L||

    Its not a prosecutor, its a lawyer for the DEA. But, yeah. The DEA is first the first agency to get the boot when I am God-Emperor.

  • entropy||

    I don't think we should eliminate any federal agencies.

    I think we should lock them all in a giant office building and tell each one seperately that they are in charge of all the others, and than put the edited webcam footage on PPV to help balance the budget.

  • Brett L||

    I definitely want to do this with all the separate Homeland Security agencies. The shootouts will be epic.

  • A Serious Man||

    Now the owners of the Anaheim building, a dentist and computer engineer who were counting on it for retirement income, are trying to fend off federal forfeiture based on a $37 marijuana purchase from ReLeaf Health & Welness by "an undercover officer posing as a patient with a legitimate doctor's recommendation for cannabis." The owners say they viewed the dispensary as a legitimate business. "I am a law-abiding citizen," says the computer engineer, who asked Schou not to use his name because he has a government security clearance. "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong."

    You did two things wrong, peasant: first, you dared operate a business with the intention of making profit without the express permission of the state, and two, you assumed King Barack and his minions give a damn about maliciously prosecuting people that aren't harming anyone.

  • Hugh Akston||

    When you've lost even the Federal Judges sympathies, maybe it's time to rethink your thuggish prosecution practices.

  • Way Of The Crane||

    ...Attorney General David Ogden issued a memo telling U.S. attorneys they should not use Justice Department resources to prosecute marijuana offenders who are complying with state laws allowing medical use of the plant. But after that green light prompted a surge in dispensaries, the department shifted course, claiming it never meant to imply that it would tolerate the sale of medical marijuana (despite Attorney General Eric Holder's repeated comments to that effect).

    "Nobody move and nobody gets hurt!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    He was good on M*A*S*H but no Larry Linville.

  • ||

    What about his role in Better Off Dead?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Excellent, of course. I also liked him in that movie with William Hurt.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I don't know. The Christmas chocolate and 1951 in review (Thomson's HR) episodes were two of my favorites.

  • Pro Libertate||

    M*A*S*H was very, very funny in the beginning. Then it was less so, and less so, and finally not funny at all, but rather depressing.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I blame Alda, not Winchester.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's his fault, but he was funny in the beginning, too. I guess giving him creative control may have been the mistake.

  • Killazontherun||

    A damn fine actor and every show should be canceled after the fifth year because they lose their steam. Even Rules of Engagement feels like it is just going through the motions now.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Wasn't he the clock or something in Beauty and the Beast?

  • sarcasmic||

    Just wait. This will be happening in CO and WA before too long. Soon as there are growers and distributors with assets, the feds will be there to steal them.

  • Brandon||

    There have been growers and distributors with assets in Colorado for almost a decade. The difference is Colorado is at risk of not voting TEAM BLUE in the next election if we are abused too much. California is perfectly safe, so they will continue to get the worst of it.

  • An0nB0t||

    Sullum has been cornering the market on rage-inducing tales of woe as of late.

  • Almanian!||

    BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALKOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  • Brett L||

    this is the exact case that you don't want presented as a test case

    IANAL, but I'm pretty sure when a Federal Judge tells you this, he's telling you that you're going to lose, and probably in such a way that it will rewrite asset forfeiture case law against the you [the government].

  • Raston Bot||

    Those comments were very encouraging.

  • Ted S.||

    Until Chief Justice Roberts finds that asset forfeiture is both a penalty and a tax.

  • Sevo||

    It can be read that way, if you squint real hard and hold your mouth right.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "Those comments were very encouraging."

    I was impressed with the "I ANAL" part.

  • ||

    I ANAL

    Go on...

  • Hyperion||

    I recently heard someone say that the US government is the biggest organized crime gang in the world.

    I don't know who said that, but they were right.

    The US government now exists for one reason only. To shake down every citizen they can for every dime they can get, to redistribute to themselves, their friends, donors, and to buy votes so that they can continue doing the same. There is no accountability now, they do whatever they please with zero consequences.

  • sarcasmic||

    When you belong to the organization with the last word in violence (and that is all government is), you can steal with impunity. After all, who's going to stop you?

  • ||

    Only We the People can stop them, and since the majority of Americans see our government favorably if their bestest friend is in the White House every other time, we're good and truly fucked.

  • ||

    I've said this many times.

  • Pro Libertate||

    But you didn't really mean it. This is all your fault.

  • ||

    Isn't everything?

  • Hyperion||

    Damn, I thought everything was my fault. I feel better now.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You're the prime blamer, unblamed.

  • ||

    But remember, even knowing this, anarchy is stupid and unworkable on it's face and so can never be attempted.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know what? Anarchy is stupid, too. Just like government. Because both depend on most people being sane and rational.

  • ||

    Maybe. But it's like that old saw about when somebody tells you that money can't buy happiness: I'd still like to find out for myself.

  • Hyperion||

    But it's like that old saw about when somebody tells you that money can't buy happiness

    It can't insure it, but it probably could help most people.

  • Brett L||

    It can't insure it,

    Ensure, unless you are financially protecting against loss.

    Sorry. Its one of my triggers, and even really good professional writers get it wrong. But to make certain is "ensure".

  • Pro Libertate||

    At least he didn't say "assure." That makes me want to nuke something.

  • Hyperion||

    Ensure Grrrrr, of course that is what I meant.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Ensure has a unique blend of prebiotic fiber to help promote digestive tract health, and antioxidants (vitamins C and E and selenium) to support the immune system.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Forget it. Someone will covet, and then a political system rewarding their covetousness will be imposed upon you, and they will covet more.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    But it's like that old saw about when somebody tells you that money can't buy happiness: I'd still like to find out for myself.

    The fact that no place is available to test it out -- even Somalia doesn't really qualify -- is kind of a strong indication that it is unworkable. Even when govts collapse into oblivion, as happened in Somalia, new govts take over ex nihilo very quickly.

  • Zeb||

    So everything is stupid. I can get behind that. Government is stupid because it will never do what you want it to do and it is evil because it requires forcing people to do things they don't want to do. Anarchy is stupid because a government will always happen no matter what you want. But I suppose it has the advantage of not also being evil.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Evil is there, which is why stupid anarchy would become stupid government. We're well and truly fucked.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Our government is, while certainly not perfect, very very good if you compare it to all the governments that have ever existed. The govt that arises after an anarchy is essentially randomly drawn from all possible types of government.

    Choosing anarchy instead of the US govt is like being on a game show, offered a mansion on beachfront property in Hawaii facing west, and eschewing it in favor of what's behind the other door because you would rather have the beach face east.

    The price is wrong, bitch.

  • Hyperion||

    So, our only choice is between anarchy and being oppressed by a criminal gang with nuclear weapons?

    I think I will take my chances with anarchy, given the choice, although I was hoping for something in between.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Right, that's why I'm a miniminarchist. Because that's stupid, too.

  • ||

    Gov't is oppressive, it's functionally impossible to prevent a minarchist gov't from eventually turning into a monster, and anarchy could be usurped by the first gang to organize on a sufficient scale.

    It's stupid all the way down.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's impossible to maintain minarchy. It's impossible to maintain anarchy. It's impossible to maintain autocracy. Every state of order is doomed to fail, as entropy applies to political systems like to the rest of the universe. All we can do is try to achieve some brief form of stability with as much freedom as we can coerce out of the tyrant du jour.

  • deified||

    That was so deep--I feel kinda stoned.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    it's functionally impossible to prevent a minarchist gov't from eventually turning into a monster, and anarchy could be usurped by the first gang to organize on a sufficient scale.

    The first problem takes 150 years to develop, the second takes like 2 weeks at most.

  • ||

    Actually, ProL, you're stupid.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Not as stupid as you, thinking stuff isn't stupid.

  • $park¥||

    Why are you thinking stuff? Are you a fag?

  • Pro Libertate||

    If you re-read my sentence, it's Episiarch who is doing the gay thinking, not me.

  • Hyperion||

    Why, we peasants should not be thinking at all. It's not our job! That's what we have top men, like Joe Biden, for!

  • Pro Libertate||

    I thought something once.

  • Ted S.||

    I thought everything was BOOOOOOOOSH's fault.

  • Pro Libertate||

    A common error. While Bush is closer to the ultimate fault-generator--Episiarch--he is not the apex of blameworthiness.

  • Hyperion||

    Booosh is only to be blamed for world events. Locally, here at H&R, it's all Epis fault. He said so, himself. And we all agreed.

  • Enough About Palin||

    "it's all Epis fault. He said so, himself."

    Thus, I fault him for being wrong.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, it's actually possible that somehow Episiarch is responsible for the elections. Maybe he got Jeri Ryan to complain about Jack. Maybe he kept Bush from getting busted with ten pounds of coke. Who knows? I don't.

  • ||

    All I know is: maybe.

  • Zeb||

    Of course. All governments are the biggest organized gangs in their areas of influence (I leave out "crime" there, because they are the ones who get to define "crime"). And the US government has a big area of influence.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    They do need to keep on the good side of the majority of citizens.

    And tbh, describing the govt in this way is fundamentally missing the point. It's not like they're foisting an unpopular policy on an unwilling public. If you had a national referendum on asset forfeiture in drug cases it would win in a landslide.

  • Raston Bot||

    and as soon as the Feds seize their property, that dude's security clearance is toast.

  • CE||

    It's probably already toast. He's a drug dealer.

  • RPR2||

    way better than Somalia.

  • sarcasmic||

  • Brett L||

    Wait, I was told there were no roads in Somalia.

  • ||

    There's one, but it isn't very well maintained.

  • Hyperion||

    Not a Mark Levin fan, but this is pretty spot-on:

    You should view these politicians with the deepest contempt you can possibly imagine. What they are doing to this country, what they are doing to our finances – there is not a criminal in any federal prison, state prison, city or county jail, with respect to financial crimes of any sort who collectively could have done the kind of damage that Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and YES, willing, timid, gutless Republicans have done to this country! To your future, to your children and your grandchildren! What they are doing is with malice and with forethought…

  • Brett L||

    Schou notes that the seizure came in response to a request for help from the city of Anaheim, which this July will host "the Kush Expo, a $20-per-ticket pot-stravaganza of all things cannabis."

    I hope the DEA seizes the expo center.

  • entropy||

    LOFL I would laugh so hard. But no.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    This must be the biggest win-win for the legalize-and-tax-the-hell-out-of-it Left in the history of regulation. Government got its taxes, now government is going to get a deed. The only thing that would enhance things for those people is if the government opened a State pot store on that site.

    One way to figure out which end of politics one is on is the prohibition issue. If it is end prohibition, they are on the True Right. If it is end and tax, they are pissing next to Stalin's urinal.

  • Hyperion||

    There's a middle of the road here.

    End and Tax, is much better than Keep, Jail, and Steal.

    Once it's legal, most folks will be able to grow their own if they have the space, will, and time. Just like with Beer.

    Matter o fact, I am in favor of ending all taxes, except for sales tax. I don't think that makes me Stalin.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    As long as sales tax is a flat rate. Fuck excise taxes.

  • CE||

    And as long as the flat rate is 0.0 percent, I'm cool with it too.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Thread winner.

  • Hyperion||

    Flat rate all the way.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    I covered "end and tax", kamerad.

  • Jordan||

    Um, if you're position is that our current police state is preferable to treating marijuana like alcohol, you are nuts.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    THE FEDS NEED MONEY.

  • Hyperion||

    They will always need money, because they spend all of it they get, borrow more, and want yet more again.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    U.S. Attorney Greg Parham is a cunt. I hope he gets stabbed in the eye from one of the dicks he sucks.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Fuck property seizure of all kinds unless it is for direct payment from a perpetrator to a victim, not reimbursement to the government for the "favor" of enforcing shit.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    "I am a law-abiding citizen," says the computer engineer, who asked Schou not to use his name because he has a government security clearance. "I didn't think I was doing anything wrong."

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse, peasant. And the law means whatever King Barry says it means.

  • Hyperion||

    Everyone is ignorant of the law. How could anyone know the millions of laws that are on the books? CA just passed like 800 news one last year.

    We are all criminals. That's intentional, so that they can selectively prosecute people that they don't like.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The Controlled Substances Act isn't exactly an obscure law.

    If he were thrown in jail for violating some arcane regulation on pricing broccoli buried in the depths of the US Code, I could sympathize more.

  • OldMexican||

    California Couple Could Lose a $1.5 Million Property Over a $37 Medical Marijuana Purchase


    This must be part of that blissful paradise that we're enjoying, according to Tony just a few posts ago, all thanks to government.

  • Jordan||

    It's the legendary classical liberal electorate of California, according to Shriek.

  • MSimon||

    CB2

    Changes in endocannabinoid levels and/or CB2 receptor expressions have been reported in almost all diseases affecting humans,[34] ranging from cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, liver, kidney, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, bone, skin, autoimmune, lung disorders to pain and cancer. The prevalence of this trend suggests that modulating CB2 receptor activity by either selective CB2 receptor agonists or inverse agonists/antagonists depending on the disease and its progression holds unique therapeutic potential for these pathologies [34]


    Medical Marijuana prohibition is a crime against humanity and a violation of the religious precept - heal the sick.

    Pass it on.

  • Almanian!||

    Hippy!

  • BakedPenguin||

    In a couple hundred years, people will view drug warriors the same way we view the Salem witch trials.

  • JW||

    Dead and rotted in the ground?

    Why wait?

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    "Anonymous plans to block State of the Union Address"
    "The hacker collective Anonymous will attempt to block Web broadcasts of Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address tonight"
    http://blog.sfgate.com/techchr.....n-address/

  • Sevo||

    Just thinking it's a shame they can't do it to the telecast.

  • Drake||

    If they hacked Obama's teleprompter, I would send a donation tomorrow.

  • Zeb||

    They think that is some great statement? If they were any kind of evil genius hackers, they'd make the SOTU play on Netflix, no matter what you wanted to watch.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Barackrolling?

  • Enough About Palin||

    Where does one send a donation?

  • Almanian!||

    Forfeiture is the only appropriate response in a case like this. Sure the (present) property owners didn't THINK they were doing anything wrong, but they were. They were doing something illegal. And once someone starts down that road, they never, ever stop.

    So nipping this in the bud now is entirely appropriate, and in the public interest. If these people are able to be rehabilitated so they can act within the social contract, they may be ale to start over and make something of themselves.

  • Sevo||

    Who are you and what have you done with Almanian!?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I agree. And while we're at it, the government should take away all those gun nuts' Uzis and AK-47s and assault magazines and assault bullets, and use them to make playground equipment for inner city kids.

  • Drake||

    If I ever start a business, I will leverage the hell out of it then hide the profits offshore. When some minor apparatchik gets annoyed with me, he can squabble with the banks over my property.

  • joebanana||

    The Federal government has become a domestic enemy. They are the very definition of a terrorist regime. With a monopoly on violence, total disregard for the law, and contempt for American citizens, it has become destructive to those ends. It's whole purpose is to defend constitutional rights, protect the borders from invasion, and promote the general well being of American's. It no longer does any of those things, we are less free than any country on Earth. Our democratic form of government has turned tyrannical.

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