Screenshot of video showing Santa Ana, Calif., police raiding unpermitted medical marijuana dispensary Sky High Holistic in May 2015. (YouTube)

California dispensary raid prompts lawsuit against city of Santa Ana

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Clients of a California marijuana dispensary filed a lawsuit Monday accusing police officers of excessive and unconstitutional actions during a raid last month.

The suit was filed by attorney Matthew Pappas on behalf of Sky High Holistic, a nonprofit marijuana collective, against the city of Santa Ana, Mayor Miguel Pulido and nearly a dozen other employees.

Surveillance video from the May 26 raid shows police playing darts and an officer making demeaning remarks about a woman in a wheelchair with an amputated leg.

Another officer can be seen eating what appears to be a pot-laced edible, according to the lawyer.

The suit said officers caused more than $100,000 in damage to video surveillance equipment, safes, furniture, doors and other property.

The Santa Ana Police Department is investigating the actions seen in the video. Police officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit alleges that Pulido and other city employees favored certain dispensaries over others. It said the city put up a ballot proposal, Measure BB, for the November 2014 election, soliciting $25,000 payments from collectives with the promise of winning a spot in any eventual marijuana permit lottery.

Sky High Holistic did not win a spot in the lottery and its patients allege that because Pulido and other city employees had financial ties with competing marijuana dispensaries, they used their positions to close down the competition, including shutting down power and water services, the suit said.

Pulido said Monday that the allegations against him are “categorically and absolutely false.”

He said the city hired a firm to conduct the lottery process and that he and all the council members stayed away from it.

“I had absolutely zero to do with the process,” Pulido said. “For someone to allege that there was some sort of quid pro quo is absolutely false.”

He also said he has no financial interest or stake in any dispensary.

Pappas said the excessive force has occurred not just at Sky High but multiple other dispensaries that didn’t have video evidence.

“When you’re enforcing a municipal ordinance, it’s not appropriate to go in with guns drawn, there’s no basis for that here…it’s a non-violent misdemeanor,” Pappas said.