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Feds go after medical marijuana stores in LA County

Medical marijuana at HempCon.
Medical marijuana at HempCon.

Federal authorities are cracking down on marijuana stores in Los Angeles County. Two search warrants were served Wednesday at the Tri-City Patients Association store and Organic Way Collective, formally known as the Canna-America Collective, in Santa Fe Springs.

The U.S. Attorney of California’s Central District filed two asset forfeiture lawsuits against the properties that housed Tri-City Patients Association and Organic Way and another property housing Santa Fe Compassionate Health Care. The civil suit alleges that the owners knowingly allowed commercial marijuana stores to operate in their buildings. This allows authorities to seize the property.

One of the storefronts, Tri-City Patients Association, was very open about selling marijuana. The company uploaded Web videos advertising the store and a how-to video on using vaporizers. You can watch the video here:

Warning letters were also set to 34 property owners and operators in Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, South El Monte, La Mirada, Diamond Bar, Artesia, Paramount, South Gate, City of Commerce, Agoura Hills and Malibu. These owners have 14 days to come into compliance with federal law before risking civil or criminal actions.

Federal authorities have served civil forfeiture lawsuits and warning letters to more than 220 marijuana dispensaries in California.

"The majority of those stores are now closed, are the subject of eviction proceedings by landlords, or have been the subject of additional federal enforcement actions such as search warrants," according to a statement.

Forfeiture Complaint - Santa Fe Springs (SF Compassionate Health)

Forfeiture Complaint - Santa Fe Springs (Tri-City and Organic Way)