|The interior of Costa Mesa medical marijuana collective Otherside Farms as it was before today’s raids
Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents reportedly raided at least three medical marijuana collectives in Costa Mesa, California, starting at about noon today.
At least three people are reportedly in jail on federal charges.
Simple Farmer had a grow operation at the director’s home, and the federal agents knocked the door down with a battering ram and burst in brandishing machine guns.
A pregnant woman and children were at the home, and federal agents — in plain clothing — reportedly had machine guns pointed at the children’s faces, according to California Cannabis Coalition.
“Sources tell us that the Costa Mesa city council turned over the collectives to the feds with their blessings,” writes “Green Thumb” at the CCC site.
Just a week ago, Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan said he wants to legalize marijuana dispensaries in the city, reports Joseph Serna at Daily Pilot
Speaking on KOCI radio’s “Cannabis Community” show, Monahan said the city has to look at legalizing and registering the city’s collectives in order to regulate them.
“We’re looking at real closely registration and regulation, and hopefully weeding out some of the bad ones,” Mayor Monahan said. “If you’re not paying workman’s comp, if you’re not taking care of your product, if you’re putting bad things in there, that’s where the police have to come in and got to get those people out of there.”
Police estimate there are more than 40 marijuana dispensaries in Costa Mesa, all of them technically illegal because of the city’s ordinance banning them. But police have been shutting the shops down on a case-by-case basis, “revealing shades of gray in how authorities view the operations,” the Daily Pilot noted.
“We don’t have the manpower to shut down 50 locations,” Monahan said on the show. “Every time you shut one down, another pops up anyway.”
|Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan said just a week ago that he wants to legalize and regulate dispensaries in the city
The city is in litigation with several dispensaries inside the city limits; some the city has labeled a “nuisance” and then shut them down. In the past three years, police have close down multiple dispensaries which were supposedly operating outside the state’s Compassionate Use Act guidelines.
Monahan said he was unaware that the radio broadcast was also being promoted by a local dispensary as a fundraiser for his reelection campaign.
According to an employee at LiveWell Cooperative Caregivers, the club was handing out letters to its members encouraging them to listen to the January 8 broadcast from Skosh Monahan’s, a bar owned by the mayor.
Local blogger Geoff West took a photo of the letter, which he said was posted on the dispensary’s front door. The letter offers free joints for anyone who brings back a receipt from the bar and a $20 credit if they donate $20 to Monahan’s reelection campaign.
“I absolutely knew nothing about that,” Monathan said. He claimed the event was not a fundraiser and that he did not seek campaign donations.
The Costa Mesa City Council is meeting in “Closed Session” at 5 p.m. today (Tuesday, January 17); their regularly scheduled meetings are on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, according to the city’s website
. The council’s regular Open Session is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Item 3 (of three on the closed session agenda) may be of interest; it is described on the city’s website as follows:
Conference with legal counsel, regarding existing litigation: Trinity Herbal Cooperative v. City of Costa Mesa (Case No. 30-2011 00479478); City of Costa Mesa v. D’Alessio Investments LLC (Case No. 30-2011 00468876); Orange County Directors Association v. City of Costa Mesa (Case No. 30-2010-00364374); and Newport Mesa Patients’ Association and Tri-County Patients’ Association v. City of Costa Mesa; Newport Mesa Patients’ Association v. Colleen O’Donoghue, Real Party in Interest City of Costa Mesa: Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2010 00370142 [consolidated cases]pursuant to subdivision (a) of Government Code Section 54956.9.
“As many of our reader[s]know we have been working with Costa Mesa MMJ community on an initiative,” Green Thumb wrote. “Activist[s]said this will not stop the initiative[;] we will still go forward.”
Citizens of Costa Mesa might want to consider contacting the members of your city council to let them know how you feel about this raid.