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Anaheim pot shops targeted in federal crackdown

August 21, 2012 |  4:42 pm

Marijuana medical
Federal officials filed suit Tuesday to seize Anaheim properties that house six marijuana dispensaries as part of an ongoing crackdown on the commercial pot business.

Among the targets of the suits, according to the U.S. attorney’s office, is a building at 503 North Anaheim Blvd. housing two marijuana shops -- AAA Wellness Center and Anaheim Patients Assn. -- that had previously received cease-and-desist letters from Anaheim officials.

Authorities said the building is co-owned by a man previously convicted on state narcotics charges.

The suits also target other pot shops that previously received cease-and-desist letters from the city -– Premium Organic Treatments PCA, Mid-County Patients Assn., and DKG Group Corp. in the 3100 block of East La Palma Avenue, and Releaf Health & Wellness at 2601 W. Ball Road.

The lawsuits allege the property owners knowingly allowed pot shops to operate there.

Federal authorities also sent warning letters in connection with more than 60 other pot operations in Anaheim and La Habra. About two dozen such operations have already closed in recent months, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

As part of the pot crackdown, federal authorities said they have filed 16 asset forfeiture suits since October in California’s seven-county Central District.

“We’re alarmed that the federal government sees the need to continue its aggressive campaign against California’s medical marijuana law, but we’re not surprised,” said Kris Hermes, a spokesman for Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group.

“They’re targeting facilities that are in compliance with state law, and they’re doing it in a pretty indiscriminate way,” he said.  

Hermes said there were still more than 1,000 pot dispensaries in California in operation, though hundreds have closed down as a result of federal asset-forfeiture threats.

“We’ve already seen the ripple effect,” Hermes said. “Whether today has any additional repercussions, we’ll have to wait and see.”


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Photo: A budtender rolls a marijuana cigarette for a patient at a marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles. Credit: Getty Images