San Diego to Decriminalize Marijuana Cultivation
SAN DIEGO – The District Attorney of San Diego Summer Stephan has signaled that her DA’s office will be decriminalizing marijuana cultivation. The DA has pleaded down a felony marijuana cultivation case to a couple of misdemeanors.
In a spectacle almost two years ago, law enforcement officials raided the legal business of James Slatic, who owns the cannabis cultivation warehouse Med-West Distribution in Kearny Mesa, California, complete with DEA agents wearing tactical gear with their assault rifles drawn. The company makes cannabis-infused products such as topicals and had around 36 employees.
Tanya Sierra , a spokeswoman for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office of Summer Stephan gave reporters a statement last week saying “This settlement takes into account the changing focus of the new District Attorney’s administration, which allows companies to apply for a state license to legally sell marijuana. We have a responsibility to make sure companies and individuals comply with regulations and legal requirements.” Mr. Slatic had all of the proper permits for his legal business, yet officials still seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash along with his property.
Slatic was then forced to wait more than 18 months to learn what the charges against him would be. Stephan’s predecessor District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis had a reputation for being particularly severe on marijuana possession penalties with advocates for legalization. But the 15 felony charges were dropped and Slatic was charged with two misdemeanors along with a years’ probation and a fine for $1000.
The District Attorney’s Office still holds $324,000 in cash belonging to Slatic as evidence. It wasn’t clear whether or not the funds would be returned by the DA. A judge ordered $100,000 belonging to Slatic and his family to be returned in May. Slatic pleaded guilty to the two misdemeanors.