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21 Pot Shops Targeted By Authorities In L.A.

Authorities targeted 21 medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles for various, alleged legal violations Thursday, including three that were accused by the City Attorney's office of being public nuisances.

Search warrants were served at Organica Inc. on Washington Boulevard near Lincoln Boulevard in the city's Del Rey neighborhood, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Sarah Pullen confirmed. The City Attorney's office adds that an arrest warrant based on suspected, illegal marijuana sales has been issued for Organica owner Jeffrey Joseph.

Two Holistic Caregivers dispensaries in South Los Angeles were also targeted by the City Attorney's abatement lawsuits, which allege "violations of the Narcotics Abatement Law, Public Nuisance Law and the Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetics Law" that requires labeling of food and drugs, according to an City Attorney's office statement. The office wants all three dispensaries to get out of the medical marijuana business.

Additionally, 18 other dispensaries in Los Angeles were targeted with "eviction letters" issued by the office. Details about why they were targeted were not forthcoming.

It's not clear if the city's new law on dispensaries -- limiting their distance from schools and churches, their income and their hours of operation -- precipitated the enforcement. However, the City Attorney's office had made clear to the Weekly months before the new law that it had Organica in its cross-hairs.

The office alleges that the outlet promoted its products to students outside Culver City High School and that "officers have found students to be in possession of marijuana apparently purchased from Organica."

The City Attorney's prosecutors also say that Organica supplied other dispensaries with "large quantities" of weed: If true, the finding would represent a far cry from the nonprofit, collective model approved under California's medical marijuana law.

The South L.A. dispensaries are owned by Virgil Grant, who has seven dispensaries that have been under the watchful eye of the DEA and other law enforcement agencies working in tandem. Last year he was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and is awaiting sentencing.

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