Governing officials all over the nation will soon learn there can be savage consequences for continuing to bully the legal cannabis trade. For the city of Santa Ana, California, that lesson now involves coughing up a substantial settlement to prevent the owners of a local medical marijuana dispensary from going for the jugular in court after several cocky cops made a national spectacle out of themselves during a raid on the business last year.
A report from the Orange County Register indicates that Sky High Holistic has apparently applied enough legal pressure that the city of Santa Ana has agreed to pay a settlement of $100,000—money that will be split between dispensary volunteers Marla and David James and a physician who lost the use of his utilities as a result of the raid. The city has also agreed to drop all of the criminal charges.
“The settlement of civil rights claims and dismissal of criminal actions shows Santa Ana is taking responsibility for improper actions it took, including the raid of Sky High Holistic, in support of its lottery-based marijuana regulation ordinance,” Long Beach attorney Matthew Pappas said in a statement.
The settlement appears to be one of the last in a series of stinging blows involving a controversial raid in which three police officers with the Santa Ana Police Department were caught on Sky High’s surveillance camera eating marijuana edibles and playing darts. One officer can even be heard making jokes about wanting to kick Marla James, an amputee, in her “fucking nub.”
Once the video was released, the media went after the three rotten cops like a pack of starved jackals during mating season. Nearly every major news source in the country published the story, including the surveillance footage, which eventually led to the officers being suspended from duty until the completion of an internal affairs investigation.
Shortly thereafter, the cops filed a lawsuit with the Orange County Superior County in an attempt to get the video suppressed as evidence, claiming their privacy rights had been violated. However, the complaint was tossed out of court because a judge said “[cops] should not expect privacy in their on-duty performance of an official function at a marijuana dispensary.”
By July, it had been revealed that the three officers responsible for embarrassing the entire Santa Ana police force had either resigned or been terminated. This is because the Orange County District Attorney’s Office went after them, slapping all three with a variety of charges ranging from misdemeanor theft to vandalism. They have since pleaded not guilty and are due back in court at some point next month.
So what’s next?
Sky High’s attorney told the OC Register that he plans to continue applying pressure to the Orange County Superior Court in an effort to get the cash and other seized items returned to their rightful owners.
Santa Ana officials have refused to comment on the case.
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