Sentencing in Case that Closed West Hollywood Medical Marijuana Center

LOS ANGELES -- West Hollywood’s mayor and city council have asked the federal judge for leniency in a high-profile medical marijuana case. Three directors of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, a West Hollywood medical marijuana dispensary that was a model for openness and co-operation with local law enforcement and elected officials, are to be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court.
Scott Imler, Jeff  Yablan and Jeff Farrington each face federal prison sentences of 24-30 months for charges related to “maintaining a place” where marijuana was “manufactured” and distributed. West Hollywood officials will hold a press conference in the lobby of City Hall on Tuesday at 10:30am with the three men, Imler’s attorney, Ron Kaye, local clergy and activists.
The Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center was closed by a federal raid on October 25, 2001, the first in what was to become a string of federal attacks on medical marijuana providers in California. At that time, the LACRC was serving 960 seriously ill patients, 80% of whom were HIV/AIDS sufferers. More than 450 different physicians had referred patients to the LACRC for medical marijuana.
Established in 1996, soon after the passage of California’s Compassionate Use Act, the LACRC operated with the support of local law enforcement and the City of West Hollywood. The city had even helped buy the building in which the center operated.
“We did it right,” said John Duran, a councilman and the LACRC’s attorney. “We had full disclosure with the state attorney general and all local law enforcement agencies in order to operate within the bounds of state law.”
The Center was so open in it’s work that it had applied to the DEA in 1999 for a license to “manufacture marijuana for medical research” and taken DEA investigators on a guided tour of the facility. That application was cited by the DEA as the basis for its raid.
“We always believed that if we did a good job, told the truth, and acted responsibly that the federal government might do the same,” wrote Scott Imler in the final newsletter the LACRC published. “We have no regrets about the transparency and integrity of our program.”
WHAT: Sentencing in federal medical marijuana prosecution.
WHO: LACRC officers Scott Imler, Jeff Yablan, and Jeffrey Farrington.
WHEN: Monday, November 24, 2003 at 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: U.S. District Court, Courtroom 14, Hon. A. Howard Matz, 312 N. Spring St., Los Angeles.
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CONTACT:  Diana Buckhantz (323) 934-0443 or [email protected]