Cash-Only Marijuana: California Dispensaries Being Forced To Refuse Credit Cards

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, July, 9th 2012 by THCFinder
To most people, the idea of charging a dime bag on your Visa might sound like a half-baked scheme from Pineapple Express, but new pressure from the federal government is set to make medical marijuana a cash-only business in California.
SF Weekly's "The Snitch" blog reports that merchant service providers -- the middle men that process credit card transactions between vendors and companies like Visa and Mastercard -- are being strong-armed into refusing payments from pot dispensaries starting this month.
Stephen DeAngelo, executive director of the Harborside Health Center, a marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif., told the East Bay Express the push from the credit card companies is likely the result of pressure from the U.S. Treasury Department.
The new policy would be consistent with a wider federal crackdown on marijuana dispensaries, which has included high-profile raids, including one in Oakland that seized more than $1 million in cannabis in April.
While some Bay Area dispensaries have always been cash-only, some are concerned that the new rules may marginalize low-income consumers, or heighten the risk associated with procuring medical marijuana.
"A medical marijuana customer is now a guaranteed cash-carrying target for petty criminals," SF Weekly wrote.


CA Appeals Court Says No to Dispensary Bans

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, July, 4th 2012 by THCFinder

On Monday a three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in California upheld the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries and rejected bans imposed by municipalities on dispensaries.


The ruling reverses a preliminary injunction granted to the county by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann Jones in May 2011.  


"Los Angeles County's total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the legislature's intent," Justice Robert Mallano wrote in the 19-page unanimous decision.


This ruling, unless overturned by the California Supreme Court, has major implications for medical marijuana patients all over the state. It upholds safe access for those who do not rely solely on growing their own.


"The court of appeal could not have been clearer in expressing that medical marijuana dispensaries are legal under state law, and that municipalities have no right to ban them," said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel of the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. "This landmark decision should have a considerable impact on how the California Supreme Court rules in the various dispensary cases it's currently reviewing."


The ruling also presents a major roadblock in the way of plans to ban dispensaries in the city of Los Angeles, something that affects tens of thousands of patients. On July 24th, the city of Los Angeles is scheduled to vote on a dispensary ban similar to the one enacted by the County; the one just rejected by the court.


The court’s decision will have a major impact on the way officials and politicians in California address the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries, and they will be thinking of other ways to solve whatever “problems” they see with them with something other than outright bans.


The feds continue their crackdown in the CA, but momentum seems to be shifting on a state level back to patients.




Medical marijuana dispensary claims Long Beach police used excessive force during raid

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, July, 4th 2012 by THCFinder

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Long Beach Police Department is investigating claims that its officers used excessive force during a raid of a medical marijuana dispensary.

The raid happened last month at the THC Downtown Collective. Parts of the raid were caught on surveillance tape and posted on YouTube.
Workers said the video shows the officers using excessive force while arresting one employee. They said the officer steps on the man's neck and strains his arm when handcuffing him.
One officer can also be seen destroying a surveillance camera. According to police, the dispensary was unlicensed.



Vermont Could Have Dispensaries Open by End of the Year

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, June, 26th 2012 by THCFinder

The state of Vermont received four applications Friday from people wanting to open up medical marijuana dispensaries, some of which could be open by the end of the year.


There was some controversy about how secret the information about the applicants is going to be kept, but officials said that communities will know exactly who is opening a business in their area, which is only fair. Privacy is one thing, but an anonymous business is not likely to last in any neighborhood, if it opens at all.


“By having dispensaries we can ensure patients have a safe, reliable medication that is not putting them out on the black market,” said Virginia Renfrew of the Vermont People with AIDS Coalition. She said the dispensaries will be a welcome addition for patients who rely on cannabis to ease pain and stimulate appetite.


Dispensaries are an integral part of any medical marijuana system. Not everyone wants to grow, or is even able to grow, depending on their ailments.


Vermont’s medical marijuana law is considered rather strict, with regulations that prohibit a dispensary from advertising, limit the number of patients they may serve and doesn’t allow patients to use their medicine at the dispensary.


The regulations could be a reason the number of applications is so low, said Renfrew. Strict or not, at least some patients will get relief, and advocates can get to work on expanding the list of qualifying ailments.


Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger has voiced concerns over “safety” issues that might arise around a dispensary. “If the state of Vermont chooses to award one of the newly authorized dispensaries to a Burlington operator, I will be working closely with the City Council and Burlington police to carefully review this new issue,” he said.




Destroying the Myth That Dispensaries Cause Crime

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, June, 19th 2012 by THCFinder

We hear it over and over from medical marijuana opponents: dispensaries cause crime. As if medical cannabis attracts a naturally criminal element, a bunch of marijuana patients up to no good (


As with any business, if you have a valuable product and inadequate security, you invite thieves and possibly violence. But dumb people generally aren’t in business for long, and to run a successful business you must have things like security covered.


As they point out in the video below, good security and cameras actually deter crime in the area they are in. But those who support prohibition know that once they admit medical marijuana is real and beneficial to millions, the walls of their cause will crumble. They are clawing for scraps. They no longer invite “studies” and research, they just whine shrilly, trying to justify why they want to hurt sick people.


But the bottom line is their position is indefensible. Marijuana is a safer alternative to dozens, maybe hundreds of prescription medications. Not only is it non-toxic, it is more effective for a wide range of ailments.


The studies will continue to be done, showing what common sense will already tell you: Dispensaries don’t cause crime.



Federal Government Intimidates Landlords to Destroy Medical Marijuana Industry

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, June, 15th 2012 by THCFinder
If you have followed the progress of the federal medical marijuana crackdown began in earnest last
fall, you know that while there have been armed raids of some dispensaries, the majority of closures
have come from federal intimidation of landlords. The owner of a building housing a medical marijuana
operation will invariably receive a letter from the U.S. Justice Department, telling them of all the awful
consequences they face if they do not shut the business down.
Facing the possible loss of their property under federal asset forfeiture laws, many landlords have
capitulated and closed the dispensary down.
"Filing asset-forfeiture lawsuits against these commercial properties is a very clever way to handle an
otherwise horribly difficult and controversial situation," said Greg Baldwin, a partner at the Miami law
firm Holland & Knight and a former federal prosecutor.
"If you bring criminal charges against these medical marijuana businesses, the federal government gets
pilloried in the press for attacking California law and sick people," Baldwin continued.
How clever of the government to attack sick people while trying to seem like they are not. But is their
subterfuge working? Recent polls show nearly 75% of respondents saying they oppose the federal
medical marijuana crackdown. It’s a very simple thing for people to see; decimating the suppliers of
medicine hurts those who need the medicine.
If the government was cracking down on Walgreens and CVS, the AARP would be up in arms and federal
policy would be quickly amended. Oftentimes it helps to have a rich and powerful lobby behind you.
"It's being done softly,” said Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of NORML, “because if they tried to go
the harsh criminal route there is a very good chance they would not only fail but become even more
unpopular, something you tend to not want to do going into your last election."
But it’s already unpopular. We just have to make sure those in power know just how unpopular it is.



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