Feds Go After Pot Dispensaries

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THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
Natomas medicinal marijuana dispensaries have not yet been the target of legal action by U.S. Attorney’s Office.

At a press conference today in Sacramento, details were released about efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, together with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners, to enforce federal law which prohibits growing and selling marijuana. These actions include:
  • bringing criminal charges against those responsible for growing marijuana and distributing in our district,
  • searching grow and distribution locations,
  • bringing forfeiture complaints against the properties involved,
  • seizing proceeds of marijuana businesses, and
  • sending notice letters to owners of properties where marijuana is being grown or sold.
Today, representatives at Natomas dispensaries Grass, MediZen and the River City Wellness Cooperative said they had not been contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Last month in Sacramento, the United States seized three bank accounts maintained by two Sacramento-area marijuana stores, River City Cooperative (operating as “One Love Wellness Center”) and Mary Jane’s Wellness. According to the seizure warrants, the bank account seizures were based on cash deposits exceeding $100,000 for each store operator over several weeks.

In the case of River City Cooperative, the cash was structured into two separate accounts and, on at least one occasion, involved four broken-down cash deposits exceeding $20,000 in approximately 10 minutes. In each case, the cash was deposited into store accounts in mostly same-day and consecutive-day deposits, all in amounts below the Currency Transaction Reporting threshold of $10,001.

Neither store operator deposited cash in excess of the reporting requirement during the relevant time period.

In August, the United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint against property at 1251 Pleasant Grove Road in Rio Oso, Calif. In June, when federal and state law enforcement officers searched the property, they found a sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation with approximately 3,244 marijuana plants under cultivation.

The forfeiture case stems from a joint federal and state investigation into a number of large-scale commercial marijuana grows in the Eastern, Northern, and Central Districts of California, operating under the pretense of cultivation for medical use. The case is related to two criminal actions alleging violations of federal drug laws and a civil forfeiture action regarding real property on Fruitridge Road in Sacramento.

According to the U.S. Attoney’s office, the charges brought are only allegations, and the individuals involved are presumed innocent.

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