San Luis Obispo DA Drops Charges against Last of the “Doobie Dozen”

Friday, November 28, 2014

The “Doobie Dozen” got their name when authorities in San Luis Obispo arrested 15 people in December 2010 after a two-month investigation into mobile medical marijuana dispensaries. Fortunately, three of those arrested were from outside the county and could legitimately be excluded from the moniker.

Unfortunately, the last six of the Doobie Dozen weren’t absolved of their transgressions until this week when the county district attorney’s office finally dropped charges. The six were members of medical marijuana collectives that were raided by the now-defunct San Luis Obispo County Narcotics Task Force in what one of their lawyers, Louis Koory, described as a “paramilitary” operation.   

They were accused of violating the state’s Marijuana Compassionate Use Act and Medical Marijuana Program by transporting and selling marijuana illegally in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties. At least half a dozen agencies and 50 agents participated in the investigation and arrests.

“The whole operation was based on a blatant misreading of the law,” Koory told the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Reports at the time said one man suffered a heart attack during the arrests. Guns were allegedly held to the heads of children, pets were abused, old people were handcuffed and forced to lie on the floor, and children were separated from parents.

The district attorney’s office dropped or declined to file charges against the first six of the Doobie Dozen in January 2012 after receiving what it termed unfavorable jury instructions that seemed to recognize the legitimacy of the collectives. Charges against the three out-of-county defendants had already been dropped.

But the other six lingered in limbo. The district attorney dropped the charges because the county couldn’t prove that the collectives were selling pot for a profit, a requirement made clear by an appellate court ruling, and because of ambiguities in marijuana laws.

Five of the defendants who got off early filed a civil lawsuit against the state in 2013 alleging the task force falsely imprisoned them, inflicted undo emotional stress and violated their constitutional rights.  

“This is likely the last gasp of the war on medical cannabis,” Koory said in court Tuesday. But that optimism may be a bit premature. Two San Diego dispensaries were shut down a week ago, four were shuttered there the month before and a pair of Los Angeles pot shops were recently raided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Charges Against Last Six “Doobie Dozen” Defendants Are Dropped (by Patrick S. Pemberton, San Luis Obispo Tribune)

Felony Charges Against the Remaining Six of the Doobie Dozen Have Been Dismissed (by Colin Rigley, San Luis Obispo New Times)

All 12 Doobie Dozen Now Free of Criminal Charges (Cal Coast News)

Half of the Original “Doobie Dozen” Still Facing Local Charges (by Colin Rigley, San Luis Obispo New Times)

12 SLO County Residents Arrested in Investigation of Mobile Marijuana Dispensaries (San Luis Obispo Tribune)

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