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Washington Dispensary Owners Against Marijuana Legalization

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, November, 27th 2012 by THCFinder
As voters in Washington state this month legalized marijuana for recreational use, they overrode the concerted lobbying of a conspicuous interest group: The dispensaries that already had the right to sell marijuana for medical use, and who now risk relinquishing that lucrative marketplace to new competitors.
 
Though one might assume that legalization would be opposed primarily by law enforcement and social conservatives, nearly all of the money donated to fight the ballot measure in Washington came not from such groups but rather from the existing medical marijuana industry, according to state campaign contribution filings.
 
The main group formed to oppose the legalization ballot measure, "No on I-502," was directed by Steve Sarich, a patients' rights advocate who runs a local dispensary or "access point," as he calls it. He says neither he nor his campaign's contributors opposed the measure for financial reasons. "There may be a few that are making some money," he told HuffPost Monday, "but most of them are just paying the rent."
 
The "No on I-502" campaign has argued that the ballot measure inappropriately makes marijuana users vulnerable to prosecution under the initiative's DUID ("Driving Under the Influence of Drugs") provision -- an assertion that others have challenged.
 
But some involved in the fight suggest a more direct motive for the opposition: Those who already have the right to sell marijuana in Washington -- the medical use industry -- were reluctant to surrender the market to a new crop of competitors, a development likely to send prices plummeting while generating as much as $606 million in tax revenue next year, according to widely cited estimates.
 
"Clearly these are just folks who are trying to keep the status quo in place because it's working for them right now," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "Charging $150 to $400 for an ounce of marijuana is only possible under prohibition. You just can't get that much money for dried vegetable matter if the product is actually legal."
 

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Marijuana Dispensary Closed By Feds Re-Opens. Is the Crackdown Over?

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, November, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
It's hard to understand the federal government's plan on marijuana. First, President Barack Obama helped encouraged a boom in cultivation and in dispensing when he said states were in charge and he wasn't going to get involved. Then his Justice Department shut down hundreds of dispensaries across the state -- and nine in San Francisco, a third of the city's total -- in a crackdown that began last Oct. 7.
 
Over the summer, the feds took aim at the biggest fish, Oakland's Harborside Health Center (who will meet the feds in court Dec. 13). Then something funny happened: it stopped. Cannabis dispensaries opened up in San Francisco without issue. One just opened in downtown, steps from Market Street. The feds did nothing. So now, one of the nine shut down by federal pressure, in the Mission District, has simply unlocked the door, flicked on the lights, and opened for business again. Is the crackdown over, or with small amounts of marijuana legalized for all adults in Colorado and Washington, do the feds simply have better things to do?
 
United States attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag has yet to conduct a single raid of a medical marijuana dispensary or arrest a medical marijuana provider or patient (though Oaksterdam University, the Oakland cannabis college, was raided in April). She shut down more of the local medical marijuana industry than George W. Bush's attorneys ever did using a simple method: a letter sent via registered mail. The letters said the dispensaries were too close to schools, to rec centers, to other places children congregated. The dispensaries needed to go, the letters warned landlords, otherwise stiff prison sentences and property forfeitures were possible.
 

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San Bernardino's fight against marijuana dispensaries not over

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, November, 2nd 2012 by THCFinder
SAN BERNARDINO - Two medical marijuana dispensaries shuttered by local and federal authorities Tuesday are far from the only facilities the city would like to see go up in smoke.
 
But until a Supreme Court decision is made authorizing the city to close its remaining 22 facilities, the city is relying on civil fines and raids by federal authorities as a deterrent.
 
"We're working on injunctions to have them ready to file if the Supreme Court gives us the green light," said San Bernardino City Attorney James F. Penman.
That decision may not be made until next year.
 
In the meantime, San Bernardino has fined the dispensaries it knows about $1,000 a day per violation for operating against city codes.
 
There were as many as 42 facilities operating in the city this year, and most closed down voluntarily because the owners couldn't pay the fines.
 
The rest remain open, despite many not paying the fines.
 
"These stores are taking in so much money, that $1,000 a day is just the cost of doing business," he said.
 
And if the Supreme Court decides cities have the authority to close medical marijuana dispensaries based on federal law, the property owners may be left holding the bag.
 
"It's going to be a big deal with the property owners, and they'll be lucky if the fine is all they face," Penman said. "They may have their property seized."
 
The Drug Enforcement Administration, San Bernardino police and San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies raided two medical marijuana dispensaries on Highland Avenue in San Bernardino on Tuesday.
 

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Worker shot at Tempe medical marijuana dispensary

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, October, 26th 2012 by THCFinder
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Police on Friday were looking for multiple suspects who shot and critically wounded an employee at an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary in Tempe the night before.
 
A group of three to six men entered the Top Shelf Med store near Southern Avenue and College Avenue around 7 p.m. Thursday and confronted the worker, authorities said. The business was formerly known as AzGoGreen Co-op.
 
The suspects hit and then shot the employee and fled.
 
Officials say the victim, described as a man in his 30s, remained hospitalized Friday with life-threatening injuries. His name was not released.
 
Police are still investigating the suspects' motives and it does not appear they removed any property, Lt. Mike Horn said.
 
The business operates to some degree as a medical marijuana co-op, Lt. Jeffrey Glover said Friday. Tempe detectives helped with a federal Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into marijuana distribution at the business about a year ago and recently started their own probe of the business, which is ongoing, Glover said.
 
The city is zoned for two dispensaries when the state eventually issues it licenses, Glover said.
 
The shooting is believed to be the first in Tempe involving an apparent medical marijuana co-op, and it has heightened police concerns about the safety of such venues, Glover said.
 
He pointed to incidents in California where dispensary customers were robbed or assaulted.
 
"You have that potential of people being a target. There is definitely cause for concern for any community where these are placed," Glover said.
 
"The hope is as these dispensaries actually open that they have good security measures in place to help them not be targets and not have their customers being victimized," he said.
 
State health officials can license up to 126 dispensaries throughout designated areas, and more than 32,000 Arizonans have permission to use medical marijuana under a voter-approved 2010 law.
 
Thus far, Arizona health officials have issued 44 dispensary-registration certificates. But none has completed the necessary steps to open.
 
 

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"Landmark" Medical Marijuana Dispensary Ruling May Hurt Feds

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, October, 26th 2012 by THCFinder
A court ruling in San Diego could hinder the federal Justice Department's war on California's legal cannabis industry.
 
In what cannabis advocates called a "landmark ruling," an appeals court in San Diego tossed out a dispensary operator's drug-dealing conviction. Jovan Jackson was found guilty of marijuana sales only after a judge refused to allow him to use state medical marijuana law as a defense, a tact pursued by Attorney General Kamala Harris' office.
 
But Harris lost, and Jackson won, on Wednesday when the court ruled that he should have been allowed to use state law in his defense -- a novel concept -- and that he was legal despite his large collective where not every member participated in the growing of cannabis, according to Americans for Safe Access, which argued Jackson's case.
 
Jackson will be retried in San Diego, where District Attorney Bonnie Dumais has been a helpful hand in the quest to quash all legal weed. But he'll get a defense -- and one that might be useful for the state's largest medical marijuana dispensary's looming battle in federal court.
 
Harborside Health Center, the largest cannabis collective in California -- and by extension, the nation, the world, the universe, etc. -- will appear in court on Nov. 1, when United States Attorney Melinda Haag will ask a judge to forfeit the dispensary's Oakland property to the government. Among Harborside's sins are its size, according to Haag. The fact that the dispensary has 108,000 patients means its somehow violating state law -- although Haag hasn't yet identified specific violations.
 

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Feds move against Southern California medical marijuana stores

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, October, 25th 2012 by THCFinder

Another sad day for Medical Marijuana patients in Southern California.

SANTA ANA, Calif.—Federal authorities have arrested a dozen people associated with a chain of nine marijuana stores that operated in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

The U.S. attorney's office says the 12 taken into custody Thursday are among 14 people named in a drug-trafficking indictment returned by a federal grand jury last week.
 
Most of the stores had been targets of search warrants executed in 2010 and 2011, and most are now closed.
 
Prosecutors say the stores generated tens of millions of dollars in income. The indictment alleges that none of the income was reported to federal tax authorities and the owner ordered a bookkeeper to destroy all records about the income.
 
U.S. attorneys in California are enforcing federal law that doesn't recognize a state initiative that legalized pot for medicinal use.
 
 

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