California MMJ businessman, attorney charged with felonies

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The founder of a San Diego medical cannabis distribution company, along with several of his employees and his attorney, have been charged with felony crimes by the county district attorney.

The charges are all related to a case that’s been ongoing for nearly a year and a half, since local police raided Med-West Distribution, a defunct San Diego MMJ concentrate distributor, in January 2016. The DA’s office, however, was recently ordered to return $100,000 that the agency seized from James Slatic and his family.

But District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis isn’t letting the case go. Her office filed charges this week against Slatic, four Med-West employees and Jessica McElfresh, Slatic’s attorney, for multiple felony crimes, including manufacturing a controlled substance, conspiracy to commit a crime, and obstruction of justice, NBC 7 San Diego reported.

While attempted prosecutions against cannabis business executives is nothing new – especially in California – it’s rare for a cannabis business attorney to also be charged.

The criminal complaint alleges that McElfresh helped Slatic cover up a cannabis concentrate manufacturing operation.

McElfresh tried to “ensure all evidence of the manufacturing and possession of concentrated cannabis was removed” before a government inspection of Med-West’s business facility in April 2015 and “led inspectors to believe the business was only a packaging and paper company,” according to the complaint.

Slatic called the charges a “waste of the taxpayers’ money,” since Med-West has already been run out of business by the DA’s office.