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Medical marijuana dispensary opens in Portland

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, March, 29th 2012 by THCFinder
PORTLAND -- The city's first medical marijuana dispensary, in a nondescript brick building at the end of an alley off Congress Street, opened for business Wednesday.
 
The dispensary, behind the Local 188 restaurant, is a well-lit, modern facility with bright green walls, light wood floors, a coffee and tea bar and, behind a counter that will soon hold marijuana pipes and rolling papers, a "community area" for patients, and rooms for acupuncture and reiki treatments.
 
Plans to mount birch tree halves to a wall, similar to a decoration in Wellness Connection of Maine's dispensary in Hallowell, ran afoul of Portland's fire code and had to be abandoned, but a white outline of trees is painted on one wall, awaiting the artist's finishing touches.
 
Rebecca DeKeuster, executive director of the nonprofit company that runs the dispensary, said the idea of the design is to create a setting where patients and caregivers can get natural medication and the goal is patient-centered care.
 
The fact that the medication is marijuana, which is illegal under federal law but allowed under Maine's medical marijuana act, is intended to be relatively incidental.
 
DeKeuster said she expects the dispensary to eventually have about 100 patients a month coming in for marijuana, which can help cancer patients -- particularly those who have nausea and appetite problems from radiation or chemical treatments -- and people who have chronic pain.
 
A handful of patients showed up for the Portland dispensary's opening, which occurred with little fanfare Wednesday. DeKeuster said she asked the patients if they would be willing to be interviewed for this story, but they all declined.
 
DeKeuster said the dispensary has a range of marijuana strains to offer. Some offer a stimulating effect to a person's system, triggering a better appetite, for instance. Others are calming and designed to help ease pain.
 
The marijuana can either be smoked -- a vaporizer is the preferred method, DeKeuster said -- or delivered in liquid form. The liquid, she said, is easy to use if patients prefer to ingest the marijuana in food or drink, such as a cup of tea,
 
Patients who come in with a doctor's "recommendation" for marijuana -- prescriptions aren't allowed for drugs that are illegal under federal law -- walk up to a locked outer door, controlled by a receptionist just inside. The small waiting room leads to the large community room, with access controlled by a keypad.
 

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Feds seize marijuana in Calif. pot dispensary raid

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, March, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
Another sad day for medical marijuana patients in the So Cal area where raids continue to happen each month.
 
TEMECULA, Calif. -- Federal agents have raided a Southern California marijuana dispensary, seizing 19 pounds of pot and 117 pounds of edible items containing marijuana.
 
Drug Enforcement Administration agents served the search warrant early Thursday at Temecula's Cooperative Patients' Services.
 
There were no arrests.
 
DEA spokeswoman Sarah Pullen tells the Riverside Press-Enterprise ( http://bit.ly/GHO6yU) that agents served a related search warrant at the Lake Elsinore area property of dispensary founder Douglas Lanphere.
Some 50 marijuana plants were confiscated at that location.
 
Federal documents claim dispensary sells marijuana to the public for a profit.
 
Lanphere says he resigned his leadership post at the co-op and is now a member. He lives in Oregon.
Operators of the storefront dispensary have been embroiled in a lawsuit with Temecula over the Riverside County city's ban on marijuana dispensaries.
 

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Feds to Boulder DA: Keeping marijuana away from schools a 'core responsibility'

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, March, 21st 2012 by THCFinder
Enforcing federal law to keep medical marijuana dispensaries away from schools is a "core responsibility" of federal prosecutors, and it will continue, U.S. Attorney John Walsh said in a letter to Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett.
 
The letter comes in response to a request from Garnett to leave law-abiding Boulder area dispensaries alone.
 
In the letter, Walsh said he made the decision to go after dispensaries that are close to schools himself and as a Coloradan with full awareness of local conditions.
 
"One of (our) overriding interests -- not just for the federal government, but for Colorado government and for local government -- is the protection of children and young people from drugs and drug abuse,
 
U.S. Attorney John Walsh's letter to Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett
very much including marijuana abuse," Walsh wrote in the letter.
 
Garnett confirmed that he received a response to his request that dispensaries that otherwise comply with state law and local ordinances should not be subject to federal enforcement. 
 
The U.S. Attorney's Office has been sending letters to Colorado dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of schools that order the businesses to either move or close. Boulder ordinance says dispensaries cannot be within 500 feet of a school. 
 
No Boulder dispensaries were targeted in the first round of federal enforcement, but authorities have said more letters are in the works. 
 
Garnett said the U.S. attorney's response was respectful and part of an "appropriate conversation about prosecutorial priorities," but he declined to discuss the response in detail.
 

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Medical Marijuana Clubs Asked to Get Rid of Hash, Kief, and all concentrates

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, March, 20th 2012 by THCFinder
Marijuana-infused cookies, oils, and tinctures would be banned from San Francisco medical marijuana dispensaries along with concentrated forms of cannabis like hashish and kief under new rules proposed by the Department of Public Health.
 
In a memo released to several dispensaries under the heading "Medical Cannabis Edibles Advisory," DPH -- the city department which regulates San Francisco's 21 medical cannabis dispensaries -- recommends pot clubs "do not produce or dispense syrups, capsules, or other extracts that either required [sic] concentrating cannabis active ingredients or that requires a chemical production process."
 
There's no enforcement mechanism and is not a "ban," a DPH spokeswoman told SF Weekly. But it's nonetheless problematic -- for dispensaries which would need to remove many edible products from their shelves as well as hashes and kiefs in order to be playing by the rules. It would also be problematic for medical pot users, many of whom say concentrated cannabis is their preferred or only way to glean marijuana's health benefits.
 
For the uninitiated, marijuana can take many forms. The "buds" one sees are dried flowers; those flowers can be ground up and the plant material removed via several processes to create a concentrate like hash or kief. The dose is much stronger, and if smoked or vaporized, is arguably healthier because less plant material is combusted (a hit will be 50 percent active ingredients or more as opposed to closer to 10 to15 percent).
 
Some people can't smoke or vaporize due to lung issues, and instead sprinkle kief in hot cocoa, or eat cookies baked from hash, according to David Goldman, a patient advocate with Americans for Safe Access.
 

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Bellingham police raid medical marijuana shops, employees arrested

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, March, 16th 2012 by THCFinder

The raids continue and our tax payers dolloars continue to be wasted at a time where our economy could sure use a boost in revenue instead continuing to waste funds on useless raids. What good will this do for the community? It's been proven dispensaries do not cause additional crime in areas, they simply help medical marijuana patients legally obtain their medicine at a safe and reliable facility. Taking away these places will just send medical patients to street dealers where they could end up with tainted meds or worse...

BELLINGHAM - Three Bellingham medical marijuana cooperatives were shut down and five people were arrested Thursday afternoon, March 15, after Bellingham Police officers raided the businesses.
 
Two people were arrested at the Northern Cross medical marijuana collective at 1311 Cornwall Ave., including owner Martin O. Nickerson. At The Joint Cooperative, 1311 11th St., one employee was arrested.
 
All three were booked into Whatcom County Jail for failure to appear for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. KGB Collective, 1130 Finnegan Way, was raided as well, though it was unclear if anyone was arrested at the store.
 
All three medical marijuana collectives were ordered to cease operations of their businesses immediately in letters delivered by the Bellingham Police March 9, after the collectives continued operating without business registrations. The city began to revoke or denied business registrations for medical marijuana dispensaries and co-ops in late 2011. Without those registrations, the businesses were operating in violation of municipal code.
 
The letters informed the collectives that "business activities involving the sale and distribution of marijuana" violate Washington state law, and "therefore constitute criminal behavior."
 
The collectives remained open after the letters, and Nickerson and the owner of The Joint were planning to fight the city's closure request. They hired a Seattle law firm to file an injunction with a motion for a temporary restraining order to allow the businesses to remain open. That was set to be filed Friday, March 16, and attorney Hilary Bricken said it still will. She described the raids as un-American, draconian and unconstitutional under state law.
 

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Prominent Berkeley marijuana dispensary to close shop

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, March, 15th 2012 by THCFinder
One of California’s biggest medical marijuana establishments – embraced by local officials as a model business that donates to the poor and pays millions in taxes – has become the latest target in a statewide crackdown by federal prosecutors. 
 
Berkeley Patients Group, founded in 1999 by leading names in the state’s medical marijuana movement, will cease operations at its current location later this year, according to an agreement between the dispensary’s owners and the landlord. The document was signed on Feb. 28 by Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay.
 
“Berkeley Patients Group agrees to cease all cannabis-related activities and remove all cannabis-related property from the premises by May 1, 2012,” the document states. Legal experts said agreements of this kind can be revised, but it was unclear if that was possible in this case.
 
The decision to shutter the outlet on San Pablo Avenue was triggered by a warning from Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for Northern California. In a letter sent to the owner of the building that houses the dispensary, Haag said federal prosecutors would file a forfeiture action if marijuana continued to be distributed at the location. Berkeley Patients Group has leased the property since 1999 and operates under a city license. 
 
The letter cited violations of federal law and the fact that the outlet is within 1,000 feet of two schools: the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness, which also houses a preschool, and Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley, a French bilingual grade school.
 
“Marijuana dispensaries are full of cash and they’re full of marijuana, and everybody knows that," Haag said in an interview. "They are at risk of being robbed, and many of them are robbed.” 
 

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