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.


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.


"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.


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.


Court backs Calif. marijuana dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, October, 25th 2012 by THCFinder
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A California judicial panel sided with medical marijuana growers, ruling pot collectives can provide the drug to members, even if the members didn't grow it.
The San Diego district attorney and California Attorney General Kamala Harris argued the provision in the state's medicinal marijuana law permits non-profit collectives, but they were intended to be small groups of people who grew the plants together, not a massive enterprise with thousands of patients serving as a mass dispensary, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
But a three-judge appellate panel in San Diego said the state's law protects non-profit pot collectives regardless of size.
Prosecutors were said to be eyeing Harborside Health Center, an Oakland non-profit marijuana collective with 108,000 patients, making it the largest medicinal marijuana provider in the country.


Long Beach may shut down medical marijuana shops on East Anaheim Street

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, October, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
LONG BEACH -- City officials want to revoke the business license of a property owner who is allowing a medical marijuana dispensary to operate without a permit.
The Long Beach City Council will decide Tuesday on whether to uphold an appeals hearing officer's recommendation to take away the commercial business license of Bentech LLC, the owner of a strip mall at 3721 E. Anaheim St.
Bentech has permitted several collectives to operate in a space at the mall, most recently the Healing Tree Holistic Association, according to Erik Sund, the city's business relations manager.
Tenants didn't have had their own licenses and Bentech hasn't been responsive to administrative fines levied nor has the company evicted the collectives as the city requested, Sund said.
Taking away Bentech's commercial business license -- which is separate from an individual business license -- will prevent any new permits from being issued at the entire property for one year.
"At the end of the day, it will affect the property owner significantly because they cannot lease that space out to a business," Sund said.
Current operators at the location won't be affected by the revocation, officials said.
Long Beach has struggled to control "rogue" dispensaries for years.



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