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Local governments can ban dispensaries, court rules

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, May, 6th 2013 by THCFinder
In a case that originated in Riverside, the California Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that local governments can ban medical marijuana dispensaries. The court said nothing in current laws authorizing medical marijuana in California grants a “right” of convenient access or overrides local governments’ zoning powers.
 
The Monday, May 6, ruling means the estimated 200 bans already in place statewide will remain in effect. It opens the way for any cities and counties that might be considering a ban on clinics but were awaiting the court's decision to move forward.
 
California voters approved Prop. 215, which authorized medical marijuana, in 1996. The Medical Marijuana Program, passed by the Legislature in 2003, tried to provide guidelines for medical marijuana use and distribution.
 
“We must take these laws as we find them, and their purposes and provisions are modest,” the court opinion said.
 
Those two laws, the court concluded, “do not establish a comprehensive state system of legalized medical marijuana; or grant a 'right' of convenient access to marijuana for medicinal use; or override the zoning, licensing, and police powers of local jurisdictions; or mandate local accommodation of medical marijuana.”
 
Read more: http://www.pe.com

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Medical marijuana sellers respond to DEA shutdown

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Sun, May, 5th 2013 by THCFinder
One of eleven medical marijuana sellers in Seattle told to shutdown this week by the Drug Enforcement Administration is speaking out, pleading for state government to defend its own law and suggesting the federal government’s policy will force him to be a “drug dealer”.
 
“Either we trust our government, or all the people that are willing to do this are just taking a risk and we’re all being stupid,” explained Douglas Gerdes, owner of The Only Natural in Ballard.
Gerdes received a letter from the DEA Tuesday, telling him he was violating federal law for selling an illegal narcotic and operating within 1,000 feet of a school.  He has 30 days to comply.
 
“I would love for the DEA to come out here and take a look,” Gerdes said, “I’m not doing anything wrong.
According to Washington law, Gerdes is right.  His “collective garden” is a smaller form of a dispensary.  He is growing 20 plants and has just eight ounces on sale, far below what small pot gardens are allowed.  He sells medical marijuana to a small group of patients.
 
Since federal law supersedes state law, what Gerdes and every other medical marijuana seller is doing is illegal.
 

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Marijuana Businesses in City of Santa Ana Targeted with Warning Letters and Asset Forfeiture Lawsuits

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Sat, May, 4th 2013 by THCFinder
In federal court this morning, prosecutors filed three asset forfeiture lawsuits against properties in Santa Ana where a total of seven marijuana stores are currently operating. Authorities also executed federal search warrants at two of the stores involved in the asset forfeiture actions. Additionally, prosecutors sent warning letters to people associated with 56 other stores not involved in the forfeiture actions. The federal actions involve all known marijuana stores in the City of Santa Ana.
 
The federal actions in Santa Ana were done in cooperation with the Santa Ana Police Department and the Santa Ana City Attorney’s Office.
 
The three civil asset forfeiture complaints filed this morning in United States District Court target three properties in Santa Ana where seven marijuana stores are currently operating. The civil lawsuits state: “Under federal law, the distribution of marijuana (a Schedule I controlled substance under Title 21) is prohibited except under very limited circumstances not applicable here. The government is informed and believes that at all times relevant to this complaint, the operation of the [marijuana stores] on the defendant property was not (and is not) permitted under California law.”
 

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Raided pot dispensary hopes to reopen

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, May, 3rd 2013 by THCFinder
SAN DIEGO — Federal agents raided the One on One marijuana dispensary in downtown San Diego last week, but the owner he wants to reopen as soon as possible.
 
“That’s what my heart tells me to do,” said Ken Cole, owner of One on One.
 
But Cole said the risks are still too high and he wants to wait on city government to vote on a new medical marijuana ordinance currently being drafted.
 
It would allow dispensaries to operate and be regulated within the city, but many are questioning whether an ordinance could offer any protection from US Drug Enforcement agents to dispensaries given the conflict between state and federal law.
 
“I thought we were being robbed,” said Mike Klein who was working at the dispensary when the Feds broke through the glass entrance to conduct their search warrant.
 
“Honestly they kind of looked like terrorists since they were wearing masks,” said Klein.
 
Federal agents ripped out every security camera and raided the place claiming it was operating illegally under federal law, which unlike California, does not approve or recognize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
 
“Does a criminal organization register with the Secretary of State, pay sales tax, pay employee salaries?” said John Murphy, an attorney representing the dispensary.
 

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DEA cracks down on 11 pot dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, May, 2nd 2013 by THCFinder
Cease-and-desist letters were sent to eleven Seattle area pot dispensaries because they are within 1,000 feet of schools or other  prohibited areas, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
 
The DEA would not identify the businesses or their precise locations. Spokeswoman Jodie Underwood said they are in the greater Seattle area.
 
Despite Washington state’s new legal recreational pot law, enacted by voter-approved Initiative 502, all forms of marijuana remain illegal under federal law. A policy statement from the Obama administration is supposedly coming on the new legal pot laws in Colorado and Washington.
 
Underwood said the 11 dispensaries received the same letters that went to 23 local dispensaries last August. She said the letters, dated April 29, did not have implications for Washington and Colorado’s new laws.
 
“DEA enforces federal drug laws and these letters have nothing to do with any pending legislation or state law.  The ballot initiatives in both states are under review by DOJ,” she said.
 
The letters warned dispensary operators and landlords that the pot businesses appear to be within 1,000 feet of a prohibited area, which tend to be places such as schools and playgrounds frequented by youth. The DEA told recipients of the letter to stop distributing marijuana within 30 days or face property seizure and forfeiture.
 
“As we continue to identify locations, additional letters will be sent out,” Underwood said.
 
The DEA sent letters to 63 dispensaries in Orange County, California last week. But a Department of Justice spokesman and California marijuana activists saw those actions as part of a continuing crackdown in Orange County rather than a signal of new federal policy in Colorado and Washington.
 
Last week a DOJ spokeswoman in Washington, D.C. responded to questions about legal pot with a terse statement: “The legalization initiatives in Washington and Colorado are still under review by the Department.”
 

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Feds threaten medical pot dispensaries with 40-year sentences

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, May, 2nd 2013 by THCFinder
In the latest act in the ongoing drama pitting federal drug laws against state legislation permitting the sale of marijuana, a U.S. attorney is threatening the landlords housing medical marijuana dispensaries with 40 years in federal prison. After ballot measures legalizing the sale and possession of recreational pot use passed in Colorado and Washington state, we wondered whether Obama’s second term would see the beginning of the end of the federal war on drugs.
 
But as the San Jose crackdown, among others, suggests, the Justice Department will not be backing down. In January, Southern California medical marijuana dispensary operator Aaron Sandusky was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for running a business deemed legal in his state since California legalized marijuana for qualified patients, caregivers and collectives in 1996 and 2003. Now, as the East Bay Express reported, “a new round of actions against lawful medical cannabis dispensaries in the South Bay” has begun following crackdowns in 2011:
 
Landlords are receiving threatening letters from US Attorney Melinda Haag, warning of forty-year-prison sentences if landlords do not evict their dispensary tenants…
 

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