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The Real Deal Los Angeles

‘Cannabis landlord’ denied license while in jail on drug charges

San Bernardino grants 16 permits for marijuana production
February 25, 2019 03:00PM

Stephanie Smith, the self-proclaimed largest cannabis landlord in California (Credit: Facebook)

It was a tough week for Stephanie Smith, a real estate developer who claims to be the largest cannabis landlord in California.

San Bernardino city council members denied her bid for a license to manufacture marijuana. And police jailed her after raiding her home in Pacific Palisades and discovering a stash of oxycodone and Norco, along with $200,000 in cash, The San Bernardino Sun reported.

For more than a year, police have been building a case against Smith about her potential involvement with illegal marijuana grows in her buildings in San Bernardino. Six of her buildings have been raided since 2017. At one location, more than 2,600 pounds of marijuana was seized.

Smith manages 50 cannabis properties, according a profile last year on cannabisbusinesstimes.com. She told Los Angeles Times last year that she controls nearly 2 million square feet of industrial property, mostly in Southern California.

Smith advocates for the sale of legalized weed, and is suing several cities over cannabis policies. But she also maintains she is only a landlord and has nothing to do with activities that occur inside her properties.

Smith was released Friday after pleading not guilty. Her attorney Bill Eilenberg said it had “nothing to do with Marijuana.” Eilenberg said the painkillers were left over from a clinic she ran years ago, and the $200,000 was rent from her marijuana-cultivating tenants, which are cash-only businesses.

Eilenberg said her arrest wasn’t relevant to her attempt to set up a manufacturing and distribution plant at 4010 N. Georgia Boulevard in San Bernardino.

The city granted licenses to manufacture marijuana to 16 of 39 applicants, with Smith’s application rated at the bottom. [Sun] — Gregory Cornfield