Here Come the Feds – At Last!

For two and a half years now, community advocates have been objected to the petty drug dealers who have taken over storefronts in our neighborhood and hidden behind the phrase “medical marijuana” to sell recreational drugs to young people, meanwhile creating multiple nuisances for residents.

The City of Los Angeles has failed miserably to deal with the problems created by these nuisance businesses.  As KCET’s SoCal Connected and LA Weekly have meticulously exposed, L.A. city officials have acted like the Keystone Cops again and again.

But today, at last, it looks like we are going to get some relief.

All four U.S. Attorneys based in California announced a joint federal action to shut down commercial, profit-making marijuana businesses.  They are going to pay especially close attention to stores within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, and playgrounds – which includes nearly every pot store in the Melrose Village area.

So this blog says a big THANK YOU to Andre Birotte Jr., the Los Angeles-based U.S. attorney for the Central District, and to the other prosecutors and law enforcement officials who are working with him.

Mind you, most of us voted for Prop 215, which decriminalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes at the state level.  We believe that anyone with cancer or AIDS who is helped by marijuana should be able to use it without fear of getting arrested.

But that’s not what the “medical marijuana industry” has turned into in recent years.  As many of us in this neighborhood have seen with our own eyes, it simply became a cover for drug dealers to make enormous profits by selling pot (and other drugs) to teenagers, who then roamed our neighborhood looking like drugged-out zombies.

Now that the federal government has let it be known that it can and will seize the property of any landlord who rents commercial space to these illegal drug operations, we suspect there will be a lot less of this activity going on.

So, if you see a nuisance-location marijuana store still in business, report it immediately to Jane Usher in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.  According to the Los Angeles Times, she is working closely with the feds.  She also knows quite well the problems we have encountered in this neighborhood.

You can e-mail Jane at Jane.Usher@lacity.org

We support businesses that support our community and our neighborhood organizations.  That does not include – and never has included – pot stores.  They have treated our neighborhood and our residents with contempt.

And we can assure you, the feeling is mutual.

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