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CA Marijuana Dispensary Files Lawsuit Following Controversial Raid Caught On Video

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Sky High Holistic claims that police ate edible marijuana, caused unnecessary property damage, and ridiculed a disabled woman during the raid.

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Annabelle Bamforth
New Hampshire-based writer Annabelle Bamforth is TruthInMedia.com's editor-in-chief, focused on breaking the left/right paradigm through new media and local politics. To share a news tip, contact annabelle@truthinmedia.com.

Santa Ana, CA- On Monday, a lawsuit was filed in federal court in response to a raid that took place at a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary on May 26. The suit was filed by attorney Matthew Pappas on behalf of Sky High Holistic, the target of the raid.

The May raid, which was captured on video inside the dispensary, showed officers destroying some of the surveillance cameras inside of the dispensary building. One of the officers, referring to a female amputee who was escorted out of the building, told another officer in the video that she was about to kick the woman “in her f—ing nub.”

The footage also showed officers playing darts during the raid and one officer eating what is alleged to be an edible marijuana product. Footage from the raid, which was edited by Sky High Holistic’s attorneys, was released to nonprofit news agency The Voice of OC and can be seen below (video contains explicit language):

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The lawsuit alleges that the officers “were intentionally destructive and destroyed video surveillance equipment, safes, furniture, fixtures, doors and other property at the collective,” which cost the dispensary over $100,000.

In addition to accusations regarding the raid, the lawsuit also made claims regarding city involvement in Measure BB, which created a lottery to issue 20 medical marijuana dispensary permits. Each application cost $1,690.

According to the lawsuit:

“The city’s ballot proposal– Measure BB — included provisions for a marijuana permit lottery. Prior to the November 2014 election, a person hired by the city to support the Measure BB campaign solicited $25,000.00 payments from various people affiliated with existing medical marijuana collectives in or around the City of Santa Ana and promised successful inclusion in the Lottery and assistance finding a collective location if the $25,000.00 was provided to support Measure BB.”

The suit alleges that city officials, including Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, were given “limousine services, expensive dinners and shows, currency and gifts” by “individuals and entities seeking to establish control over the Santa Ana marijuana market.”

The complaint claims that Pulido is financially connected to a marijuana collective that won a license in the lottery. The collective is not identified in the suit. Pappas said in a press conference that he has “witness proof” and “paper evidence” to corroborate the corruption allegations.

Sky High Holistic was operating illegally at the time of the raid in May and had not applied for a permit in the lottery. The dispensary had been issued a cease-and-desist order on Feb. 26.

The lawsuit filed by Pappas follows another complaint filed by three individuals who made claims that the dispensary lottery was “illegal and fraudulent.” Those individuals alleged that the lottery process favored those who could afford to file multiple applications and failed to filter disqualified applicants in the process. Orange County Superior Court Judge David Chaffee made an order to put the dispensary permitting process on hold in response to that lawsuit.

Pappas said that he plans to file another lawsuit to quash Measure BB.

“Let me just state on the record, the allegations are unequivocally and categorically false,” Pulido told the Los Angeles Times. “To allege there was some influence of the lottery and therefore it’s unfair is absolutely false.” Pulido said that an outside law firm- White, Nelson, Diehl & Evans LLP- was hired by the city to handle the lottery process independently.

Pulido denied having financial connections to marijuana businesses and also said that “The only limo I’ve been in is at my daughter’s 13th birthday party.” 

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