Noozhawk: “In their stepped-up battle against local marijuana dispensaries and growing operations that supply them, federal authorities are employing a powerful weapon: asset-forfeiture laws. The U.S. Attorney’s Office this week filed legal complaints for forfeiture against the property owners of two South Coast medical marijuana storefront dispensaries and one indoor farm. They allege that the owners should have known what the buildings were used for — growing and/or selling marijuana, which the government considers illegal under both federal and California law, even if the marijuana is considered medicinal.”
The letter from the U.S. attorney to property owners said:
“Accordingly, it is not a defense to either the referenced crime or to the forfeiture of property that the dispensary is providing ‘medical marijuana.’ Even under these circumstances, an owner of real property with knowledge or reason to know of illegal marijuana distribution occurring on real property that he owns or controls may have his interest in the property forfeited to the government without compensation.”
Arizona property owners who are considering leasing to a medical marijuana dispensary take note. The federal government has not only clearly stated its intention to confiscate real property used to grow, store or sell medical marijuana, it is now actively pursing forfeiture against property owners.
Typically, the property owner receives notice first. Government usually seeks compliance before going to punitive measures.
For example, I used to work with a County Elections department; the protocol was for its attorney to make contact with the offender, inform them of the law and consequences for breaking it. If the offender remained non-compliant, then the attorney would initiate a series of stepped up enforcement efforts.