Drug Enforcement Agency agents visited a medical marijuana clinic in Eagle Rock Tuesday to conduct what a special agent for the DEA called a “follow up” for the U.S. Attorney’s office, which launched asset forfeiture lawsuits last month against three Eagle Rock cannabis clinics.
DEA agents visited Together For Change, one of the major marijuana facilities in Eagle Rock, located in a mini mall on 2501 Colorado Blvd.
Special Agent Sarah Pullen, public information officer for the DEA in Los Angeles, told Eagle Rock Patch that the purpose of Tuesday morning’s visit was to determine whether the clinic was open or closed.
The visit, which is part of a wider enforcement action by the DEA against cannabis clinics in Los Angeles, was also aimed at ensuring if the management at Together For Change is aware of warning letters that federal prosecutors sent Sept. 25 to 68 marijuana stores that were in business or had recently closed.
The letters, which were sent to all known cannabis clinics in Eagle Rock, gave the storefront owners and landlords 14 days to comply with federal law or risk potential civil or criminal actions.
The 14-day deadline expired Oct. 9, the same day that the Los Angeles City Council finalized its decision to repeal a “Gentle Ban” ordinance outlawing marijuana storefronts in the face of a successful signature campaign by marijuana advocates, which, could have forced a referendum in March on the issue of storefront regulation.
Asked about the deadline and the consequences for pot clinics that still remained open after Oct. 9, Thom Mrozek, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, said in an Oct. 9 email reply to Eagle Rock Patch that “We’re not commenting at this point.”
Together For Change opened in May 2012 on the same premises where a previous clinic, American Eagle Collective, existed until the Los Angeles Police Department raided it on narcotics-related charges. Both AEC and the storefront's landlord are already targets of civil abatement lawsuits by the City Attorney's office.
Together For Change had a “Closed” sign on its premises shortly after the DEA agents left Tuesday. At least half-a-dozen customers drove into the parking lot of the mini mall where the dispensary is located within a span of five minutes following the agents’ departure.
Some of the customers asked people in the parking lot whether Together For Change had been raided. There was no sign of the dispensary’s security guard, who is usually present outside, although the dispensary staff appeared to be still inside, judging from a brief moment during which a shout could be heard through the glass door.
Pullen said she did not know if the DEA agents visited other marijuana dispensaries in Eagle Rock—nor precisely what was communicated to the dispensary employees.
“I would imagine that they’re going in and saying, Hey we’re from the DEA and trying to see what is going on and making sure you got the letters,” Pullen said.