DEA Targets Landlords in Pot Battle 

DEA Targets Landlords in Pot Battle 
Posted by CN Staff on July 25, 2007 at 21:42:29 PT
By William M. Welch, USA Today
Source: USA Today 
Los Angeles, CA -- The U.S. Justice Department is unleashing a potent new weapon in its battle against California's hundreds of medical pot clinics, threatening landlords with arrest and property seizures for renting to tenants who flout federal drug laws.Intensifying its crackdown on pot sales that are legal under California law but illegal under U.S. law, agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency executed search warrants Wednesday in raids on 10 marijuana dispensaries across Los Angeles.
As agents were moving in, Los Angeles' City Council voted 11-0 to tentatively approve a one-year moratorium on more medical marijuana stores, which have exploded in number in the past two years.Federal officials estimate there are 400 storefront and office operations selling medical marijuana in Los Angeles and L.A. County, up from 20 two years ago and more than double the number at the start of the year, DEA Special Agent Sarah Pullen says. Law enforcement officials contend the sales have become a source for recreational pot users."It's clearly not about compassion or care at this point," Pullen says. "It's about money."The most serious threat to California's voter-approved pot sales came in a letter last week from the DEA to 150 property owners or managers informing them that a tenant is operating a marijuana dispensary on the property in violation of federal law. The letter warns that California's pot law, approved as Proposition 215 a decade ago, "is not a defense to this crime or to the seizure of the property." Landlords, the DEA warned, could lose their buildings and land and face felonies with 20-year prison sentences."It scared the hell out of my client," said Barry Parker, attorney for property owner Kash Holdings LLC. It rents space to Karma Collective. Snipped:Complete Article: USA Today (US)Author: William M. Welch, USA TodayPublished: July 25, 2007Copyright: 2007 USA Today, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.Contact: editor usatoday.comWebsite: Articles: DEA Raids Pot Clinics in LA County Target Owners Renting To Pot Dispensaries 
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