CA company won’t be reimbursed for $75M of destroyed marijuana, court rules

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A longtime Southern California cannabis business has lost a yearslong legal battle to be reimbursed by its home county for what it contends were improper raids that led to roughly $75 million worth of marijuana being confiscated and later destroyed.

According to Law360, the appellate court wrote that Shangri La Care Center waited too long to request financial damages for marijuana that had been seized and destroyed and, therefore, authorities in Ventura County – where the business was located – aren’t on the hook for repayment.

During the raids in 2015 and 2016, authorities seized 880 marijuana plants and a number of packaged cannabis products. The county had estimated the value of the seizure at $75 million.

Though some of Shangri La’s seized marijuana was returned in 2019, the returned products were allegedly unusable.

Shangri La didn’t file a petition for damages until 2020, believing it had to wait until the statute of limitations expired on a former criminal charge against one of its executives before it could request reimbursement for the destroyed cannabis.

But the appellate court ruled that the retailer’s thinking was incorrect.

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“Although the three-year criminal statute of limitations had not yet expired, appellant could still have moved for the return of its seized property,” Judge Kenneth Yegan wrote in an opinion, according to Law360.

“No justification existed for waiting to file the 2020 petition for damages until after the still-existing property had been returned by county.”