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.