WeHo Raises Questions on Cannabis Club Raid

WeHo Raises Questions on Cannabis Club Raid
Posted by CN Staff on May 18, 2005 at 19:16:06 PT
By Rosanna Mah, The Independent Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Independent
West Hollywood, Calif. -- West Hollywood city officials who took umbrage at the recent Los Angeles police raid of a local cannabis club are demanding answers as to how and why the raid took place.City officials, who learned about the May 6 raid a day after it happened, voiced concerns over whether it was legal for the LAPD to carry out drug raids in West Hollywood.
“That’s just outrageous that they would cross our border,” said Councilman John Duran at the Monday City Council meeting. “I mean what are the rules in our jurisdiction? I mean, I’ve never heard of another police agency come into another city to conduct police activities.”The police raid, which led to the arrest of 14 people and the seizure of 800 pounds of marijuana and over $300,000 in cash, came after West Hollywood officials declared a one-year moratorium on medicinal marijuana clubs.West Hollywood has been a strong defender of medicinal marijuana use which has been legal in California since 1996. The West Hollywood Sheriff’s station did not participate in the raid.“What it appears as though is the city of Los Angeles has essentially solved all their crime problems so they would come over and help us in our city [and our problems],” said Councilman Jeffrey Prang.City Manager Paul Arevalo, who had several in-depth conversations with the Los Angeles County Under Sheriff, reported that LAPD officials had offered apologies for the “mix up.”“Calls were made to the upper echelon of the LAPD. There was an apology for the mix up,” Arevalo said. “At this point we are working in cooperation with the agencies so they understand the jurisdictional lines so that this type of issues won’t happen again.”When asked by Duran to clarify what the “mix up” was, Arevalo explained he was referring to the lack of communication between the LAPD and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department on the drug bust.“We still haven’t seen what facts led them to raid the club,” Arevalo said after the meeting. “We don’t know if this was a routine bust or if they have sufficient evidence to close it down because of illegal activities or if there was a fundamental disagreement on how Prop 215 works.”At the upcoming June 6 meeting, city officials are expected to adopt an urgent interim ordinance with specific guidelines for cannabis club operations.Authorities said the raid took place on Friday, May 6, around 6:40 p.m. at Compassionate Caregivers, that has catered to hundreds of patients living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, glaucoma and other chronic illnesses.Equipped with a search warrant, nearly 30 armed agents broke down the club’s front door and confiscated evidence including $300,000 to $500,000 cash as well as 800 pounds in unpacked marijuana, Thai sticks, compressed hashish (liquid marijuana) and food laced with marijuana.Police arrested 13 people — including the manager, supervisor, two security guards, salespersons and plant growers — on felony charges of maintaining a location for sale of controlled substances, said LAPD spokesperson Sgt. Catherine Plows.Police also arrested a patient for allegedly possessing more than eight ounces of marijuana, which violates state medical marijuana laws.According to Plows, the department’s action was a “fairly common procedure” and that it was not unusual for narcotics investigators to cross city and county lines.Source: Los Angeles Independent (CA)Author: Rosanna Mah, The Independent Staff WriterPublished: May 18, 2005Copyright: 2005 Los Angeles Independent Newspaper GroupContact: editor laindependent.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:American's For Safe Access Cannabis Club Raided for Nonprofit Violations Clinic Raid Raises Concerns Cannabis Club Raided
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