May 2, 2013

USA: The US Feds Run By The Obama Admin Have Seized A Legal Medical Marijuana Facility Building In Anaheim, CA. Obama Fed Raids/Seizures Madness Continues... Horrible Abuse Of Power! ugh :/

The Orange County Register
written by Scott Bullock and Larry Salzman
Wednesday May 1, 2013

Anaheim small-business owner Tony Jalali fled Iran in 1978 for a better life in the land of liberty, but he soon may find his American Dream unconstitutionally taken from him by the city of Anaheim and the U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern California in a ploy that should leave most Americans shaking their heads in disgust. Jalali faces the loss of his well-maintained office building if the city and the federal government get away with an attempt to do an end-run around California laws.

Over the past few years, Jalali rented out his small office building on Ball Road to numerous businesses, including two medical marijuana dispensaries – businesses that are legal in California. Jalali felt comfortable doing this because, not only is medical marijuana legal under California law, but Anaheim itself since 2010 has hosted the world's largest marijuana trade show in its city-owned Anaheim Convention Center (and is slated to host again in July). The federal government, right up to the president of the United States, said it had "bigger fish to fry" than to undermine state laws on medical marijuana.

The city asked government attorneys to take Jalali's property through drug-related civil forfeiture – which allows the government to take and sell your property without ever charging you with a crime, let alone convicting you of one. To make the deal sweeter for both the city and the feds, through a program called "equitable sharing," Anaheim and its police would collect up to 80 percent of any bounty seized, while the federal government would bank the remaining 20 percent. The property owner would be left with nothing.

Civil forfeiture represents one of the greatest threats in the nation to property rights. To make matters worse, such forfeitures fund law enforcement budgets, giving officials a direct financial incentive to abuse this power. Civil forfeiture has become the federal government's weapon of choice in its battle against states that have legalized medical marijuana – leaving small property owners as victims caught in the crossfire.

That is why Tony Jalali has joined with the Institute for Justice to defend his property. Jalali and IJ attorneys plan to ask a federal judge today to dismiss the forfeiture case and to declare the forfeiture process unconstitutional.

The conflict between federal, state and local policies has created a trap for Jalali that could cost him his life savings. The city and the federal governments not only have failed to act with integrity, but, by using civil forfeiture, they stand to profit from their duplicity.

More than 1,000 dispensaries and their landlords in California and other states have been threatened with drug-related forfeiture during the past year. Further, the federal government has said that it is still considering its policy to enforce a prohibition on marijuana in Washington and Colorado, which recently made marijuana legal for recreational, as well as medicinal, use.

By fighting for his rights, Tony Jalali will not only defend his own property but his case will go a long way to laying down constitutional ground rules protecting the rights of property owners caught in these and future conflicts between federal and state law.

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