Sean Erenstoft Issues Public Comment on Dispensary “Crackdown” in Los Angeles

Posted in the Sherman-Oaks Forum

Since: May 11

Sherman Oaks, CA

#1 May 5, 2011
Renowned criminal defense attorney and civil rights advocate, Sean Erenstoft of Sherman Oaks, California spoke today at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel in Woodland Hills and addressed a number of attorneys about the Los Angeles City Attorney’s most-recent actions to curb marijuana dispensaries throughout the City of Los Angeles.

He said,“The City is using its zoning ordinances to effectively prohibit the establishment of dispensaries and is calling on landlords of established dispensaries to evict their tenants on the basis that they are conducting unlawful activities.”(Such property uses are typically prohibited in most commercial leases and City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich appears to be providing fodder for landlords to evict their tenants and/or tipping his hand that landlords that do not evict their dispensary tenants could face imminent prosecution).

Sean Erenstoft has represented a number of dispensary owners over their concerns about the right to patient privacy; and the City’s questionable and unconstitutional use of undercover resources to effectively invade the doctor-patient privilege. Erenstoft has been monitoring litigation on the topic and believes that the police are accessing personal information without a warrant or subpoena.

Erenstoft explained:“The exercise of the City’s ability to restrict business expansion through zoning ordinances that actually lapsed prior to the dispensary registration deadline in November, 2007, effectively denied citizens their due process rights.” Dispensaries that registered timely (and the landlords who leased their property) probably suffered eminent domain and other civil rights violations.

While Erenstoft has raised concerns about the rampant expansion of the marijuana trade in Los Angeles by citing to the fact that nearly 600 dispensaries have operated since California legalized marijuana, he explains that the City Council should consider redrafting the legislation to conform to the citations of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr.

Erenstoft applauded City Councilman, Ed Reyes in his decision to ask Trutanich’s office to draft a new ordinance that conforms to Judge Mohr’s stated concerns. Meanwhile, Erenstoft contends that the City should be restrained from bringing suit (or otherwise enforcing the criminal sanctions) against dispensary owners during the pendency of any rewrite. At present, dispensaries are being hailed into courts for alleged misdemeanor violations wherein fines levied seek $25,000 against individuals and separate fines of $5,000 per day (in which the dispensary operates).

Sean Erenstoft has long supported Trutanich’s efforts at curbing the rampant growth of marijuana dispensaries especially near schools and places where minors congregate. Erenstoft declared during his exchange with reporters recently that he believes marijuana remains the number-one gateway drug for teens and would like to see dispensaries “distance themselves from the doctors who prescribe such drugs.” Sean Erenstoft referenced other examples where other professionals are restricted from ownership in “tangential trades which carry the inherent risk of financial self-interest.”

Erenstoft is slated to appear at other continuing legal education seminars in May. He is currently on assignment providing litigation consulting for a number of Los Angeles-based firms. Sean Erenstoft was recently acknowledged as a civil rights “hero” for his bravery taking on corrupt government witnesses by filing civil suits against them for civil rights violations against accused criminal defendants.

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