Judge Orders L.A. Pot Shop To Shut Down

A flier for an event at Organica.
A flier for an event at Organica.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Tuesday ordered the embattled Organica medical marijuana dispensary in the city's Del Rey neighborhood to stop selling pot.

In granting a preliminary injunction against the pot shop, Judge James C. Chalfant echoed Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich's argument about such establishments -- that state law does not permit for-profit, retail sales of marijuana. "This is somebody who is making profits off the sale of drugs, and you can't do that,'' Chalfant said.

Organica's owner, 41-year-old Jeffrey Keith Joseph, pleaded not guilty last month to 24 drug-related felony counts after the District Attorney's office called the establishment an "illegal drug-dealing operation." He was jailed in lieu of $520,000 bail and faced 13 counts of sale or transportation of marijuana, five counts of possession of the drug for sale, five counts of money laundering, and one count of possession of pot for sale.

Authorities were tipped off to the shop, at 13456 Washington Blvd., after some neighbors complained that it was marketing itself to nearby high schoolers. Police then stated they found marijuana that had come from the shop in the possession of students.

While City Attorney Trutanich and District Attorney Steve Cooley have been adamant about the righteousness of their crusade against everyday pot shops -- they say that California's medical marijuana law only allows for the nonprofit, collective cultivation of pot for the seriously ill -- some juries are letting retail pot shops off the hook when they're prosecuted for selling drugs.

-With reporting from Weekly wire services. Got news? Email us.

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