California medical marijuana operation targeted by feds

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, July, 12th 2012 by THCFinder
The federal government is moving to shut down the nation's largest and highest-profile medical marijuana dispensary operation, filing papers to seize properties in Oakland and San Jose where Harborside Health Center does business.
Copies of the federal Complaint for Forfeiture were taped to the front doors of the two dispensaries Tuesday, alleging that they were "operating in violation of federal law."
Medical marijuana advocates, as well as some state and local officials, decried the action, saying it hurts patients in legitimate need of the drug and breaks repeated promises by President Obama's Justice Department that it was targeting only operations near schools and parks or otherwise in violation of the state's laws.
The U.S. attorney for Northern California, Melinda Haag, said she now found "the need to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as Harborside" because they presented unique opportunities for abuse.
Harborside was co-founded by outspoken marijuana activist Steve DeAngelo in 2006 and was the subject of a reality show, "Weed Wars," on the Discovery Channel last year. While other dispensary operators have sought a low profile since California's four U.S. attorneys began cracking down on the industry in October, DeAngelo has consistently railed against the federal intervention, advocated for better state regulations and become a leader in the movement.
"People are not going to stop using cannabis, they're just going to buy it in the illegal marketplace … on the streets," he said Wednesday in an interview. "Why are federal prosecutors using their discretion to do something so profoundly destructive?"
DeAngelo said that he would fight the Justice Department "openly and in public" and that he would resist any effort by his landlords to evict the dispensaries in response to the federal complaint — which targeted the property owners, not the tenants.


Voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan to Decide This Fall on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, July, 11th 2012 by THCFinder

In November voters in Kalamazoo, Michigan will have the chance to decide whether or not 3 medical cannabis dispensaries open in their city. This is according to City Attorney Clyde Robinson, who said a measure filed last August by the Kalamazoo Coalition for Compassionate Care will be decided on by voters this fall.


"At this point there's a significant legal cloud over medical marijuana," Robinson said.


While the proposal was filed last year, an error in the City Clerk’s office caused some of the signatures to be counted. By the time the error was found and rectified, it was too late for the measure to be on the 2011 ballot. The measure needed to get 2,567 signatures to qualify.


The question the voters in the city will see this fall will say, "Shall the Kalamazoo City Charter be amended such that three (3) medical cannabis dispensaries are permitted within the city limits?"


"Simply put,” said City Attorney Robinson, “the proposed charter language violates existing federal law which outlaws marijuana/cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance and violates the provisions of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and Michigan Public Health Code regarding the sale, possession, transfer, use, or cultivation of marijuana." But, he added, "the legal requirements of getting on the ballot were satisfied."


So one has to wonder if the measure does pass, will it will be enforced or challenged by the City Attorney? And where will that leave patients in Kalamazoo who have restricted access to their medicine?


But, as they say, first things first. Voters in Kalamazoo will have a chance to allow these dispensaries, then it will be up to the City Attorney to challenge a voter-approved law. Will he really go out of his way to challenge three new businesses in his city and the jobs that come with them?




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.





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