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LA District Attorney Steven Cooley Targets Pot Shops

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By Kamika Dunlap on February 22, 2010 12:15 PM

Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley is living up to his promises to target clinics selling pot for profit.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles has aggressively begun action to shut down what Cooley claims are illegal marijuana dispensaries. The city is suing three collectives and is looking to evict more than 18 others from their stores, saying they have violated state laws.

The lawsuits allege the outlets have repeatedly violated state laws and seek injunctions for them to stop selling marijuana.

In general, an injunction is a court order by which an individual is required to perform, or is restrained from performing, a particular act.

The lawsuits are against Organica and two Holistic Caregivers outlets and have been targets of law enforcement for several years. In some cases, federal, state and local officials conducted undercover buys and raids. Some products also lacked labeling required by California's Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law, according to the city attorney's office.

This legal action follows the newly passed pot ordinance by the L.A. city council, as previously discussed. The ordinance caps the number of medical marijuana clinics in the city at 70.

In addition, the lawsuits, eviction notices were filed against 21 medical marijuana dispensaries. The city attorney's office will be allowed to evict the store tenants if landlords do not do so.

The property owners were issued letters to which they have 30 days to respond, explaining what actions they have taken to remedy the problem.

If city prosecutors aren't satisfied, they can seek misdemeanor criminal charges.

As previously discussed, in November, California voters will vote on a ballot measure deciding whether to legalize marijuana. The initiative, known as the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 would allow cities and counties to adopt their own laws to allow marijuana to be grown and sold. It also would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and impose taxes on marijuana production and sales.

But until then, Steven Cooley and other prosecutors are taking a hard-line stance that state law authorizes the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes but not the sale of the drug.

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