[UPDATED W/CITY COUNCIL PROTEST] Yousef Ibrahim, Lake Forest Marijuana Clubs Landlord, Faces Federal Foreclosure

Thumbnail image for lake-forest-medical-marijuana-club-montessori-childrens-school-house-cafe-vale-tudo-florentina-organic.6324307.40.jpg
Photograph by John Gilhooley
UPDATE, OCT. 19, 1 P.M.: More than 100 medical marijuana patients and activists protested Lake Forest's cannabis crackdown at city hall last night, according to a story in today's Orange County Register. The protest was organized by the OC chapters of both NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, which advocates legalization, and Americans for Safe Access, which supports medical use of cannabis, two groups that haven't always seen eye to eye on public policy, although presumably there's nothing like a major escalation in the war on weed to put things in the proper perspective. The Register also reports that while six of the eight dispensaries that were located in a strip mall on Raymond Way that was seized by the federal government from owner Yousef Ibrahim, two of them remain open. More protests are planned in coming days, the Reg adds, including an as-of-yet-unscheduled 100,000-person strong march on Washington D.C. later this year.

UPDATE, OCT. 13, 12 P.M.
: This didn't take long: not much more than a day since the federal government  seized the Raymond Way strip mall in Lake Forest where eight marijuana dispensaries were located, the pot clubs are shutting their doors. Christopher Glew, an attorney for one of the dispensaries, Vale Tudo Cafe, said that Yousef Ibrahim, the landlord targeted by feds had no choice but to evict his tenants, although an article in yesterday's Orange County Register says that at least some of the dispensaries were voluntarily closing down.  "He didn't really have a choice," Glew said, adding that Ibrahim is likely to file for bankruptcy thanks to the federal forfeiture.

ORIGINAL POST, Oct. 10, 1 P.M.: Last Thursday, I reported that the Obama administration was about to crack down on California's medical marijuana industry by threatening to seize properties from landlords who rent to individuals engaged in cultivating or distributing marijuana.

Within 24 hours, the feds followed up on that threat by filing forfeiture proceedings against property owners throughout the state, including Yousef Ibrahim, who owns the strip mall at 26402 Raymond Way, where eight marijuana dispensaries are operating, according to an Oct. 7 Orange County Register story. According to the Register, the feds seized over $180,000 from Ibrahim's bank account.

The Weekly first highlighted the marijuana clubs on Raymond Way in the April 2010 feature story "The Marijuana Martyr," about Mark Moen, who ran the 215 Agenda dispensary at that location until he was arrested during a March 5 raid of the club and charged with numerous counts of selling and transporting marijuana. (Moen has pleaded not guilty and has yet to be tried for the alleged crimes). Subsequently, the Weekly highlighted how despite Moen's high profile arrest and harsh treatment--he could spend a decade or more in prison if convicted--the Raymond Way location continued to bloom with marijuana clubs.

The city of Lake Forest has so far spent more than $500,000 in legal fees trying to evict the clubs, citing the fact that a Montessori school is located there and a new state law bans such clubs from operating within 600 feet of a school. However, attorneys for the clubs argued that because the city never bothered banning marijuana dispensaries, it had no right to shut them down, which is why they've continued to operate despite the city's best efforts.

According to the Register, the feds have also threatened to forfeit properties being rented by marijuana clubs in Rancho Santa Margarita, Dana Point, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel. It remains unclear how the Obama administration's new tack on medical marijuana is going to impact California's biggest cash crop and the 15-year-old right of residents to smoke cannabis for medical reasons, but if you've got a doctor's recommendation and your local club is still operating, you might want to drop by sooner rather than later.

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18 comments
cBc
cBc

For me, this is the tipping point for having any further support for President Barack Obama.At least w/ Bush , we knew where he was coming from. This guy turned out to be a total smoke & mirrors package. The minuses against voting for him again in 2012 have piled up to be insurmountable.Does anyone else think it strange that the Feds are suddenly involved in local zoning issues?

thoughtfelon
thoughtfelon

The last official act of government is to loot the nation

Mike
Mike

they are shutting everything down what abounch of bullshit

Ocsurfgirl
Ocsurfgirl

White House comment line 202-456-1111.

Morgino
Morgino

Tough s&^t...the landlord was being greedy by renting out to all the dispensaries that were clearly breaking the proposition by existing so close to schools. It's these types of operations that give legitimate ones a black eye. The city spent 500k trying to evict him, the Feds came in and laid down the hammer. This is coming from a guy who is looking to open a LEGAL collective

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

"It remains unclear how the Obama administration's new tack on medical marijuana is going to impact California's biggest cash crop "

Its going to benefit the street level dealers. All those who have complained about the borde crime and violence; get ready for a 70% increase now thast cannabis has been re-criminalized. get ready for more street violence, higher consumer prices and lower producer prices, and a hell of a lot more crime. None of this makes sense at all. Obama is going to lose re-election for this.

Johnsmith
Johnsmith

I think its about time shop owners take a look at how "collectives" are run in AZ, namely Phx. I don't have enough info to sound intelligent on the matter, but I do know that the way the system is set up over there works.

4NONYMOU5
4NONYMOU5

Expand        this isnt about the marijuana....it's about the gov taking away our rights! we the people voted for it....wether you aprove or not doesnt matter.... WE THE PEOPLE have voted yes on prop 215.... the crooked fed gov say$ "yea you voted for it as a majority but were still not going to let you".. funny our gov isnt broke cause they are spending all those tax dollars on schools or hospitols....no lets spend the money on bailing out banks so they can for sure forclose on families and raid dispesaries so grandma cant get help with her glaucoma...... ....this is about the feds taking our rights away....!occupy wallstreet this saturday october 15th 12:00 noon at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and United States Courthousewe do not forgive we do not forget~4nonymou5

1000steps
1000steps

Holy Shit.  So if you rent to a dispensary that is legally run in California the federal government can seize the landlords property?  Obama makes GW look like a pacifist when it comes to abusing the constitution.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

I wish there was a way for small groups of patients to easily meet and form real collectives versus the dispensary model.  SB420 was written with the cooperative spirit in mind and not pot supermarkets. 

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature, therefore, to do all of the following: (3) Enhance the access of patients and caregivers to medical marijuana through collective, cooperative cultivation projects.

S.A. Artist
S.A. Artist

 Come protest the Federal Policy at Occupy Orange County Santa Ana Federal Building downtown  Sat Oct 22 12 noon. 

Moldy Tomes
Moldy Tomes

I live in Phoenix and am acquainted with several of the operations there. There are several different models in operation here in metro Phoenix. So far the cops have busted two of the operations. The latest one to go down was Al Sobol's Club 2811. Now I personally don't care for Al or his antics, but still hope he doesn't go to prison over this. Other "compassion clubs" and co-ops are operating under different legal rationales. I wish them all the best, but it's a bit early to suggest that their models are viable.The real deal in the Phoenix area seems to be for now, just networks of caregivers operating discretely to try to fill the market niche. We operate as much under the radar as we can and try not to poke the hornets' nest too much.

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

why do it on a staurday? The court is closed. No one will be prevented from entering the building. Because no one is going to be there to get into the building. So whats the point? Do your occupation on a monday and stay till friay. Then go home for the weekend and come back the following monday.

Guest
Guest

Well, you could always move to another country. Be my guest.

The Real Deal
The Real Deal

You can choke on your tube steak tonight as well you comunist.

Guest
Guest

I will bitch slap your real deal joto ass

Guest
Guest

Oh, I wouldn't want to take that pleasure away from you.

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