O.C.'s disjointed approach to pot: Anaheim says 'no,' Costa Mesa and Santa Ana say 'yes'
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, February, 9th 2015 by THCFinder
Tony Jalali believes medical marijuana should be accessible. Still, he is evicting a small dispensary in an office complex under orders from Anaheim officials.
Meanwhile, in Costa Mesa, Joyce Weitzberg is hoping to reopen her cannabis collective in a town where leaders have reversed course and are now taking steps to regulate and tax marijuana sales.
Between those cities is Santa Ana, where Cypress Hill rapper “B-Real” last week won a lottery that puts him on a path to legally distribute medical marijuana in the city.
Dazed and confused? There’s reason for that. Orange County communities are taking dramatically differing stands to deal with the proliferation of medicinal pot shops – nearly 19 years after voters approved a statewide measure legalizing medical marijuana.
“I think that discrepancy comes from a misunderstanding on one side, and more tolerance on the other,” said Steele Smith III, director of the Orange County Collective Alliance, an advocacy group for medical marijuana dispensaries in Orange County.
“On one hand, Anaheim has heavy-handed and egregious laws that will be detrimental to patients,” Smith said. “On the other, you’re seeking a progressive attitude for safe access and eliminating cannabis prohibition.”
ANAHEIM’S ‘GAME OF WHACK-A-MOLE’
Jalali’s case illustrates the costs and complexities of Anaheim’s 40 dispensary-related lawsuits in the last eight years.
Three years ago, the federal government and Anaheim each filed lawsuits against Jalali for leasing space to a medical marijuana dispensary. The dispensary subsequently closed because of the suits.
But a year later, a judge dismissed the federal government’s case. Still, Anaheim pushed ahead with its suit against Jalali, a software engineer.
In the meantime, another dispensary, Anaheim Holistic Care, leased an office eight months ago on the second floor of Jalali’s building, which also houses an insurance office, a dentist’s office and other businesses at Ball Road and Magnolia Avenue.
Last month, a Superior Court judge ruled that Jalali has to shut down Anaheim Holistic Care because Anaheim has the right to enforce its prohibition on dispensaries. His attorneys are appealing.
Jalali has since issued a 30-day eviction notice to the dispensary, which remains open. A hearing is scheduled for later this month to determine whether Jalali is in contempt of court for failing to immediately close the pot shop.
“As a property owner, I should be able to rent an office to anybody, but the city is preventing me from providing a safe haven for people who need medical marijuana,” Jalali said.
First Fully Licensed Dispensary To Open In San Diego
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, February, 2nd 2015 by THCFinder
San Diego has had medical marijuana dispensaries for a long time. However, they operated against the city’s will, and have been the target of raids for about as long as they have existed. San Diego has been at the epicenter of the battle against medical marijuana dispensaries, but a new era is about to begin. The City of San Diego has issued its first dispensary license to a dispensary that is operating within city limits. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
The city granted Blair initial approval last October, but a drug prevention specialist appealed the decision. On Thursday, the city’s planning commission unanimously rejected the appeal and gave Blair the go-ahead.
The move could mark a turning point for San Diego, which has struggled for years with illegal MMJ operations while trying to set up acomprehensive regulatory system for those eager to work within the confines of the law, such as Blair.
The city will ultimately allow up to four dispensaries in each city council district, for a total of 30. Just under a year ago, the San Diego city council estimated that there were over 100 dispensaries in operation within the city’s borders.
This is good and bad news for safe access in San Diego. On one hand, it’s the first of many dispensary licenses to be issued. On the other hand, it’s the writing on the wall for some dispensaries that have operated in San Diego for many years that will likely not get a license. Do you live in San Diego? What do you think of this license being issued? Do you feel that this regulated approach is better than what’s been going on the last several years? Or do you feel that there should be unimpeded access to licenses for anyone that wants to open a dispensary?
San Diego Approves Medical Marijuana Dispensary License Fees
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, January, 22nd 2015 by THCFinder
The medical marijuana industry in California has long operated in a Wild West fashion. There are not solid state rules and regulations in place, and cities and counties either have their own rules, or no rules at all. Throw in a lot of conflicting case law and federal raids, and you can see why there has been a lot of chaos in the industry in California. San Diego has been particularly contentious during the last five years. Fortunately, there is now a licensing system in place, at least at the city level. Per KPBS:
The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 Tuesday in favor of a package of amendments to medical marijuana regulations that, among other things, establishes a minimum fee of nearly $1,100 for annual operating permits.
The amendments pertain to an ordinance that sets the terms under which dispensaries will conduct their business. The operating regulations differ from land-use restrictions, which determine the allowable locations for pot shops.
“I anticipate there will be more discussion and more changes down the road as San Diego experiences these operations actually open legally,” Councilwoman Marti Emerald said.
Among other things, the City Council wants the annual permit fee to equal the cost of inspections and other expenses needed to regulate the dispensaries. The city’s projected costs include the use of police officers to make background checks, fire personnel, zoning investigators, planners and City Treasury employees.
It will be interesting to see how dispensaries in San Diego react to the new rules and fee. A lot of them have operated for a long time with while paying no fees and didn’t have to follow any guidelines or rules for the most part. Hopefully this becomes an opportunity for the City of San Diego and the medical marijuana industry to get on the same page. Although, I’m worried about the Councilwoman’s statement above that there will be ‘more changes down the road.’ That doesn’t always mean good changes for the industry side.
Feds Can No Longer Raid State Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, December, 22nd 2014 by THCFinder
Federal agents will no longer be able to raid medical marijuana dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is legal under a provision included in the $1.1 trillion spending law President Obama signed December 16.
Enactment of the law changes a two-decade-long battle between the states and the federal government. Although 32 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies it as a Schedule I drug, the same class as heroin, LSD, and ecstasy, which signifies it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Before this law, the Justice Department could shut down dispensaries that states legally opened, although under the Obama Administration the department had kept its distance. Under the measure, included in the 1603-page law, federal agents would be prohibited from such raids. The government also cannot interfere in implementation of states' medical marijuana laws, under the amendment cosponsored by Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and Democrat Rep. Sam Farr, both of California.
"This is a victory for so many," Rohrabacher said in a statement, "including scores of our wounded veterans, who have found marijuana to be an important medicine for some of the ailments they suffer, such as PTSD, epilepsy, and [multiple sclerosis]."
The move is also a victory for medical marijuana advocates and dispensary owners and operators.
Pharmacist Joseph Friedman, RPh, in Lincolnshire, Illinois, has applied to open three dispensaries in Illinois. He told Medscape Medical News the move brings "a sigh of relief" and adds a layer of protection for owners and operators of dispensaries.
"Every day these dispensary owners open their doors, they had in the shadow the risk of the feds coming in and shutting them down for any number of reasons," he said. "That's not to say that the ones selling to children or that are close to schools or doing anything under the table don't deserve to get shut down.
"We had only heard up until this point that the federal government wouldn't fund any more raids on dispensaries, so this just makes it official," he said.
Read more: http://www.medscape.com
COLORADO MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES OFFERING BLACK FRIDAY SALES
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, November, 25th 2014 by THCFinder
From new marijuana strains for the holidays to gift sets and pot-and-pumpkin pies, the burgeoning marijuana industry in Colorado is scrambling to get a piece of the holiday shopping dollar. Dispensaries in many states have been offering holiday specials for medical customers for years - but this first season of open-to-all-adults marijuana sales in some states means pot shops are using more of the tricks used by traditional retailers to attract holiday shoppers.
Here's a look at how the new recreational marijuana industry is trying to attract holiday shoppers:
Traditional retailers sell some items below cost to drive traffic and attract sales. Recreational marijuana retailers are doing the same.
The Grass Station in Denver is selling an ounce of marijuana for $50 - about a fifth of the cost of the next-cheapest strain at the Colorado dispensary - to the first 16 customers in line Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That works out to less than $1 a joint for the ambitious early-rising pot shopper. Owner Ryan Fox says his Black Friday pot is decent quality, and says he's selling below cost to attract attention and pick up some new customers. As Colorado dispensaries approach a year of being able to sell weed to all adults over 21, not just card-carrying medical patients, Fox says retailers have to do more than just sell pot to get public attention.
Pot shops are using old and new media to tout the sales. One dispensary is taking out a full-page "Happy Danksgiving" ad in The Denver Post and is inviting shoppers to text a code for extra savings.
VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS
Sweets and marijuana seem to go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. Many dispensaries this time of year resemble a Starbucks at the mall, with holiday spices and festive music in the air. One of the state's largest edible-pot makers, Sweet Grass Kitchen, debuted a new miniature pumpkin pie that delivers about as much punch as a medium-sized joint. The pie joins holiday-spiced teas, minty pot confections and cannabis-infused honey oil for those who want to bake their own pot goodies at home. Even some edibles makers that specialize in savory foods, not sweets, are putting out some sugary items for the holidays. "It just tastes too good, we had to do it," Better Baked owner Deloise Vaden said of her company's holiday line of cannabis-infused sweet-potato and pumpkin pies.
Some shops are angling for high-end holiday shoppers, not an increase in foot traffic. Colorado Harvest and Evergreen Apothecary timed the release of some top-shelf strains of potent pot for the holiday season. Spokeswoman Ann Dickerson says they're "sort of like the best bourbon or Scotch that will be competing on quality, rather than price."
What holiday shopper doesn't appreciate free gift wrapping? Or a gift set ready to pop under the tree? The Growing Kitchen is making $49.99 gift sets for both the medical and recreational pot user. The sets include the edible-pot maker's new Mighty Mint cookie, a pot-infused confection new for the holiday shopping season, along with marijuana-infused salves for muscles sore from the ski slopes. Other dispensaries are offering free gift totes and stockings with purchases.
For the shopper who wants to give pot but doesn't know how the recipient likes to get high, Colorado's 300 or so recreational dispensaries so far have been able to issue only handwritten gift certificates. That's because banking regulations prohibit major credit cards companies from being able to back marijuana-related gift cards the way they do for other retailers.
Just this month, a Colorado company started offering pot shops a branded gift card they can sell just like other retailers. The cards are in eight Denver dispensaries so far, and coming soon will be loyalty cards similar to grocery-store loyalty cards that track purchases and can be used to suggest sales or new products to frequent shoppers.
Read more: http://abc7chicago.com
Massachusetts Approves Four More Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, November, 10th 2014 by THCFinder
Prior to last week, there were eleven medical marijuana dispensaries working their way through the licensing process in Massachusetts. Currently, there are not dispensaries operating at all in the state. You can now add four more dispensaries to the list of hoop jumping applicants. Per WBUR.org:
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has given three companies provisional approval to open four medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
Patriot Care Corp., which already has a Lowell dispensary in the works, was approved for dispensaries at 21 Milk Street in Boston and 7 Legion Avenue in Greenfield. Coastal Compassion, Inc.’s proposed facility at 2 Pequod Road in Fairhaven and Mass Medicum Corp.’s on Revolutionary Drive in Taunton were also approved to enter the inspection and permitting phase.
The four dispensaries are proposed in counties that did not previously have any provisionally approved medical marijuana dispensaries.
It’s great that there are now fifteen medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts at one stage of the process or another. However, the fact that there are still zero open is unacceptable. Patients need safe access to affordable, quality medical marijuana. Hopefully these establishments open sooner rather than later.
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