PACIFIC PALISADES—In December 2017, the San Bernardino Police Department raided three separate warehouses that were being used to cultivate marijuana. The multi-million dollar busts led to the seizure of over 25,000 plants and a total of 4.49 tons of marijuana. One of the sites, which police deemed a “fortress,” housed 100,000 square feet of plants.
All of the buildings led back to property owner, Stephanie Smith, a Pacific Palisades resident and real estate developer. Eight growers were arrested in the capture of her properties, but Smith was not arrested or charged with any crimes, reported The San Bernardino Sun.
After the raids, her attorney released an official statement that outlined her views on the matter.
“This is an unfortunate situation for the voters in California and in our local community who have voted to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis. The raids on our local business community, who are moving promptly to ensure that they can participate in helping our community prosper with tax dollars through this new legal industry, is clearly out of step with our local community who voted to end the age of prohibition and usher in a more sensible approach to cannabis regulation.”
Smith, 46, and a mother of five is suing the city of San Bernardino, with the goal of overturning the city’s new marijuana licensing ordinance. She argues that the new ordinances prevent people who were previously involved in pot distribution (before its legalization this year) from participating in the legal market.
In a report from The San Bernardino Sun, Smith made a statement about what she considers unfair cultivation licensing.
“They do not require a conviction, administrative hearing, or any other process other than that the City of San Bernardino has determined that the actions occurred,” said Smith. “This misguided ordinance is a backdoor ban that continues the City’s illogical campaign against a legal product.”
The success of her suit depends on whether she can prove that the ordinances violate California’s recently adopted recreational marijuana legalization law. The suit states that previous tenants and Smith were never granted an administrative or criminal hearing, and cannot be blocked from participation in the new market.