A Big Win in Cannabis and Civil Asset Forfeiture

Michael Cindrich and his California law offices of Michael E. Cindrich APC in San Diego California has recently achieved one of the largest victories in the world of cannabis arrests and civil asset forfeiture. 

Michaels client, Shawn Smith, had endured a home invasion, a SWAT style raid where law enforcement took over 3 ounces of cannabis extract, 55 pounds of raw cannabis flowers, and over $43,000 of his medical collectives cash on hand. 

Other assets, including a Toyota truck, three handguns, two hunting rifles, an A.R. 15, two bulletproof vests, ammo, and a motorcycle were seized from his home. 

The agents then went to his bank, and seized another $110,000 from his bank account.

In June, Smith's case moved through the San Diego North County Courthouse extremely quickly. Within 10 minutes, the jury had voted not guilty on the charges of possession for sale and manufacturing. Smith was found not guilty on all of the charges that the DA had filed. The courts acknowledged that Smith was operating in a legal way and his group was saving money for storefront location.

Cindrich, was granted his return of property motion. The government returned the 55 pounds of raw flowers, 3+ ounces of extracts, the Toyota, all of the guns, the bullet proof vest, the ammo and other items. However at that time the government refused to return the $150,000 and the motorcycle that were seized initially.

Now here's where the case gets interesting. The state agents that had participated in the seizure were sworn in as both state and federal agents. However, since Smith's assets were seized by California state agents under a California state issued warrant, Cindrich was able to argue that the statute of limitations in California had lapsed, and at the property return was required pursuant to California state law.

More recently the judge again ruled in Smith's favor and he got his motorcycle back, while Cindrich reports that the $150,000 should be returned in the next few weeks.

Believe it or not this was Cindrich 3rd cannabis related not guilty verdict in four months time, and all cannabis enthusiasts should commend him on his efforts and his role in furthering cannabis rights.

The moral of the story is that before you get involved with this industry, do your research, know the laws, and find an attorney that knows what they're doing. Most importantly, never ever give a statement to law enforcement without counsel.


The Ed.