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posted by janrinok on Sunday March 31, @06:13PM   Printer-friendly

By Lester Black / March 27, 2024

https://www.sfgate.com/cannabis/article/calif-cops-forced-to-return-800k-in-cannabis-19370034.php

Michael Moussalli, the owner of Se7enLeaf, said that the cannabis raid has nearly destroyed his business.

American police have been seizing cannabis for decades, but the tables were turned last week, when law enforcement in a California city was forced to return hundreds of pounds of cannabis to a pot distributor.

Costa Mesa police officers returned the massive shipment of cannabis last week to Se7enLeaf, a cannabis distributor in the city, according to the Los Angeles Times. The authorities had accused the company of illegally operating and seized the cannabis in September of last year.

Michael Moussalli, the owner of Se7enLeaf, told SFGATE that he was happy to get his cannabis back after his attorneys explained he was operating legally, but he still blamed the city for taking it in the first place and delaying its return.

"The sad thing is once all this info was shared, there was no apologies. There was only more aggression," Moussalli said, referencing the city's attempt to further delay the return of the products. "The police were not happy that no charges were filed. The police were not happy that the product was being returned."


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  • (Score: 0, Troll) by krishnoid on Sunday March 31, @06:38PM (3 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Sunday March 31, @06:38PM (#1351121)

    "The sad thing is once all this info was shared, there was no apologies. There was only more aggression," Moussalli said,

    Marijuana makes people *aggressive*? Wow, you learn something every day.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by ElizabethGreene on Sunday March 31, @07:00PM (2 children)

      by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 31, @07:00PM (#1351124) Journal

      I may have misread the article, but I believe the implication was that law enforcement was aggressive, not the pot dealer.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Sunday March 31, @07:13PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 31, @07:13PM (#1351126) Journal

        Correct, that is my understanding too.

      • (Score: 2) by ls671 on Monday April 01, @02:49AM

        by ls671 (891) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 01, @02:49AM (#1351154) Homepage

        They obviously smoked so of it then!

        --
        Everything I write is lies, including this sentence.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by khallow on Sunday March 31, @06:51PM (2 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 31, @06:51PM (#1351123) Journal
    Law enforcement theft has delved for new levels of ridiculous venality in California. Here's a couple more.

    California law enforcement is cooperating [reason.com] with the feds to generate enormous punishments for unlicensed marijuana providers (licensing marijuana is quite onerous in California):

    What did "these illegal establishments" do? They sold marijuana, a business that California supposedly legalized six years ago.

    The cannabis industry, of course, remains completely illegitimate in the eyes of the federal government. That means anyone who grows or distributes marijuana in California, even with the state's approval, is committing federal felonies every day. But even though President Joe Biden wants to keep it that way, he has promised not to interfere with states that reject marijuana prohibition. So why are the feds not only busting marijuana merchants in California but doing so in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies?

    The explanation, as you may have surmised, is that these particular marijuana merchants were breaking state law as well as federal law. Their businesses were not just "illegal" but also "unlicensed." Yet the fact that unlicensed pot dealers continue to thrive in California is testimony to the ways in which the state has botched legalization. Most local governments do not allow recreational sales, and even those that do frequently impose caps that artificially limit the supply. Bureaucratic barriers, costly regulations, and high taxes are daunting deterrents for weed dealers who otherwise might be inclined to go legit.

    And this will come up again:

    Like many licensed marijuana dealers, in other words, Sheikhan and Williams worried that their business was a tempting target for robbers. Continued federal prohibition magnifies that risk by making it difficult for marijuana businesses, licensed or not, to obtain banking services, which forces them to rely heavily on cash. If anything, it seems, these defendants were potential victims of "violent crimes" rather than perpetrators of them.

    Highly restrictive licensing artificial restricts the supply and continued federal criminalization restricts these businesses' access to banking and credit card services, making them cash heavy. Law enforcement also bragged in the story about seizing firearms from a business that needed to defend itself. And here's a natural consequence [soylentnews.org] of that need for cash transactions.

    An organized group of Southern California bandits has brazenly hijacked armored cars and grabbed hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. The heavily armed thieves reportedly have damaged trucks, hassled their victims, covered up video cameras—and even celebrated their haul. "Wowee!" and "way to go, buddy," they allegedly cheered, after pulling a recent heist.

    You'd be forgiven for assuming that this is the latest example of California's ongoing crime wave, epitomized by "third world" scenes of pilfered freight trains and brazen smash-and-grab robberies. But it's nothing of the sort. Actually, it's more pernicious than the usual crime spree because a sheriff is the mastermind and his deputies are looting the armored cars.

    For instance, San Bernardino County deputies stopped the same Empyreal Logistics armored-car driver twice and took a total of nearly $1.1 million in cash owned by legal marijuana dispensaries, per news reports. The government has not charged the armored-car company nor the cannabis firms with any crimes, but the sheriff keeps the cash, anyway. Critics are right to call it highway robbery.

    So no surprise that law enforcement has been caught again stealing from marijuana providers licensed or not. Or that California is a leader in this particular pathology.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday April 01, @02:34AM (1 child)

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday April 01, @02:34AM (#1351151)

      A memoir I read a long time ago and now forget the title of was about growing up in the barrios of Los Angeles. The author was basically a civilian, but noted that the cops had absolutely no more legitimacy in these neighborhoods than the gangs and drug dealers. Why? Well, it might have had something to do with the cops in question being the LAPD CRASH Unit [wikipedia.org], which we now know was involved in all kinds of criminal activity.

      But also, civil asset forfeiture basically makes robbery by cops legal. Which is why, for instance, when cops busted into Afroman's house on false reports of narcotics and kidnapping, they wasted very little time disabling his security cameras, and money that Afroman had in cash went "missing" between the raid and the cops counting it.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 4, Informative) by khallow on Monday April 01, @04:28AM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 01, @04:28AM (#1351158) Journal

        Which is why, for instance, when cops busted into Afroman's house on false reports of narcotics and kidnapping, they wasted very little time disabling his security cameras, and money that Afroman had in cash went "missing" between the raid and the cops counting it.

        Background on Afroman, here [soylentnews.org] and here [soylentnews.org].

        A common observation is that the police are simply the best equipped gang on the block. The way to keep that from happening is to require that they follow the same laws as the rest of us.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Frosty Piss on Monday April 01, @01:36AM (1 child)

    by Frosty Piss (4971) on Monday April 01, @01:36AM (#1351145)

    Of course here in Washington, there are licensing processes for both growers an retailers. But even with the oversight of the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, there are almost more weed stores than Starbucks. I can walk out of a weed store with an ounce of excellent bud for around $70 give or take. I can have in on my person, no problem. I can wait half an hour and go back and get another ounce, though I think that exceeds the limit for personal possession. I always thought California would be on the leading edge, but no it's stuck up Washington and the hicks in Colorado.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 02, @01:24PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 02, @01:24PM (#1351340)

      I can walk out of a weed store with an ounce of excellent bud for around $70 give or take.

      And there you have the problem. Cannabis grows at least as easily and cheaply as corn. It shouldn't be $70 an ounce, it should be 7 cents.
      Somewhere along the line, somebody is making the other $69.93, and they are quite happy for the situation to continue as is.

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