LONG BEACH, Calif., March 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On March 21 at 4:41pm, plain clothes officers not providing identification of the Long Beach Police Department, along with Long Beach Department of Finance workers, initiated an illegal raid against NatureCann Non-Profit Patient Group. Acting without a warrant or court order, the officer incursion involved forcefully breaking into the patient collective where three (3) patient volunteers were assisting fellow patients. An observer recording the event outside of the collective was knocked down by an officer who told him the police "can do whatever they want." Scores of businesses along the Atlantic Avenue Corridor were disrupted by the police presence and activity.
Although no warrant was obtained by the department, and no resistance was offered by NatureCann, specialized assault equipment and armed tactics were utilized to force entry into the property. In an attempt to avoid being filmed and prior to making entry, an electronic video surveillance system designed to assist law enforcement was instead destroyed and disabled by the officers. Three (3) volunteers were abducted by the officers on-site while other officers arrested the collective's security guard at a nearby restaurant where he was on break.
When asked about the reason for the incursion and arrest, one of the female NatureCann patient volunteers who declined to be named for fear of reprisal said, "I was in fear for my life, looking at the end of a loaded firearm pointed at my head, by an unidentified intruder twice my size. They broke in and started attacking us. We follow all State laws and provide for seriously ill patients." It was later determined that the volunteers had been arrested under a city ordinance recently rendered invalid by a higher court.
In February, 2012, the Long Beach City Council enacted a ban of all medical cannabis patient dispensaries after its permitting ordinance requiring "substantial" and non-refundable fees was deemed unconstitutional by a California appellate court. Although the ban states it applies to all medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, dispensaries that had paid the substantial fee are not being targeted by authorities. The city announced it would enforce the ban only against patient groups that had not paid the fees. Days after Long Beach passed its ordinance banning all collectives, another California appellate court deemed similar bans illegal.
In June, 2011, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge found that an earlier warrantless raid by Long Beach police officers and officials was improper. Patients involved in that case have filed a suit against the city seeking damages. In addition to being arrested, the volunteer said the police had taken all of the patient group's medication as well as electronic equipment without inventorying or reporting the seizures.
For more information contact Sergio Sandoval,
Director of Public Relations, Pappas Law Group,
Email – [email protected]