War on Drugs

Long Beach Defies State Law, Shuts Down Pot Clinics

Seven closed, 40 arrested


Another nice reminder medical marijuana has yet to be raised as an election topic (outside of the Gary Johnson campaign, of course): While we were wondering how irascible Joe Biden would be and how wonky Paul Ryan would be in the vice-presidential debate, authorities were raiding another group of dispensaries in Long Beach. Details via the Long Beach Post:

In an effort to enforce the August ban on medical marijuana collectives in the City of Long Beach, the Long Beach Police Department—with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the Long Beach Fire Department, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office—conducted an operation that shut down seven dispensaries throughout the city Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, the nearly simultaneous raids were conducted on locations targeted because they were those that the Police Department had received the highest level of complaints for from the community.

"Effective, August 12, 2012, any dispensary that continues conducting business in the City of Long Beach is operating illegally," said LBPD's Nancy Pratt in a statement.

During the operation, over 40 individuals were taken into custody and marijuana plants, processed marijuana, currency and other evidence were seized. Those arrested were booked for owning and/or operating a marijuana dispensary.

What's particularly galling about the city's action here is that it likely knows its own ban on pot dispensaries is  illegal and a violation of California's medical marijuana laws. From an earlier story:

The City's ban may be on shaky ground to begin with, as since its February passage, two separate appeals courts—including the one with jurisdiction over Long Beach—have ruled similar bans to be in conflict with the Compassionate Use Act and thus violations of state law.

Just last week the City of Los Angeles reluctantly surrendered to the will of its own citizens (and state law) and rescinded its own (unenforced) ban on pot dispensaries. But in Long Beach, they're shutting down businesses and actually arresting people for engaging in activities the state has determined are legal.