Newark pot club owners charged with multiple felonies
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, August, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
Apparently Newark thinks wasting tax payers hard earned money makes more sense than working with medical marijuana patients to obtain their medication which the state has said is 100% legal. When will cities learn they are not above state law!
NEWARK -- As the co-owners of NBD Collective were getting ready last week to reopen the Tri-City area's lone marijuana dispensary, authorities were working to put them in jail.
Teddy Miller and Bob Uwanawich, whose cannabis club was raided and shut down seven weeks ago, have been charged with more than 25 felony counts, authorities said.
The pair, out on $100,000 bail each, is scheduled to face those charges Aug. 25 at the Fremont Hall of Justice, said Teresa Drenick, an Alameda County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman.
Miller and Uwanawich each are facing five counts of conspiracy to possess marijuana for sale; five counts of conspiracy to sell marijuana; possession of marijuana to sell; selling marijuana; 14 counts of felony employment tax fraud; and misdemeanor charges of failure to obtain workers' compensation insurance and of improper employment of security personnel, authorities said.
Three NBD Collective employees, who authorities would not name, are charged with felony conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
James Roberts, the dispensary's San Jose-based attorney, said his clients have done nothing wrong.
"I'd like to see some evidence of criminal conduct, because the affidavit they filed sure didn't have any," Roberts said.
The charges were filed Friday, one day after NBD Collective reopened.
It had been closed since June 28, when Newark police and the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force
raided the pot club and arrested Miller and Uwanawich.
Three psychic businesses -- two in Fremont and one in Salinas -- also were raided in connection with the dispensary.
Roberts said that nothing out of the ordinary was discovered in the raids.
"There was $3,000 in cash -- that's not a large figure for a collective -- and they didn't find a large amount of cannabis," he said.
According to a 2008 state Attorney General's Office report, NBD is allowed to possess 8 ounces of marijuana and six mature pot plants per patient.
Roberts accused the task force of being more interested in seizing the collective's money, 65 percent of which the task force can keep, he said.
Michelle Gregory, a state Department of Justice spokeswoman, said the pot club in the city's Old Town district was raided for a simple reason: "We go after them because they're breaking the law," she said.
The embattled collective also is fighting to stay open on another front -- one involving its long-running legal battle with the city of Newark.
City officials say the dispensary's owners never applied for the proper paperwork and need to file for a land-use permit because Newark does not allow that kind of business.
"They have ignored our process from the get-go," said Terrence Grindall, Newark's community development director. "Their original and continued approach has been a straight-arm to the city."
A Newark Planning Commission meeting scheduled for July 12 to consider NBD's permit was postponed at the club attorneys' request.
When city officials issued an administrative citation against the dispensary, NBD's owners took the matter to court, where a Fremont judge dismissed its lawsuit to overturn the citation.
The pot club's attorneys have appealed that dismissal, and the issue is winding its way through the state's court of appeals, Roberts said.
City Manager John Becker said Newark's zoning laws are straightforward, but the collective's owners have been determined "to stay in business as long as they could because these dispensaries make a lot of money."
City officials were surprised that NBD's owners decided to reopen and are keeping a close watch on the situation.
"There are all kinds of directions we can go," Grindall said. "We need to enforce our laws. And we will."
Judge rules to keep medical marijuana dispensary open
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, August, 16th 2011 by THCFinder
VISTA — A second favorable ruling by Judge Earl Maas of Vista Superior Court on Aug. 12 allows the North County Collective medical marijuana dispensary to remain open until the Sept. 9 hearing that will determine if the collective can continue to do business. Maas first OK’d the dispensary to remain open during the wait for its hearing on July 27.
“We’ve won another battle but the war remains,” attorney Lance Rogers said.
North County Collective director John Scandalios considers the ruling as a clear victory. “The judge ruled I can stay open until Sept. 9,” Scandalios said. “The city can’t shut me down today.”
In court, declarations of support from over 200 North County Collective medical marijuana patients were presented. Neighboring businesses on Coast Highway 101 said the collective is a good neighbor and has ”cleaned up” the surrounding community.
“They are operating in full compliance with the medical marijuana law,” Rogers said.
Despite the ruling, the city of Oceanside may still go forward with charging the collective fines of $2,500 a day for operating a business without a license.
“The stay is irrelevant, the city will enforce this law,” said Annie Perrigo, Oceanside assistant city attorney. “It’s a misdemeanor to operate a business without a license.”
Murrieta Marijuana Dispensary Shut Down by Judge
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, August, 12th 2011 by THCFinder
A medical marijuana dispensary that was open less than two weeks in Murrieta was shut down indefinitely Thursday by a Riverside judge.
Judge Craig Reimer ruled in favor of the City of Murrieta, granting a preliminary injunction against Cooperative Medical Group, or CMG Outreach.
The dispensary, located at 26690 Madison Ave., Suite 103, is too close to Sky High Party Zone, an indoor play area with inflatable jumpers, the judge ruled. Sky High's owner told the court that 500 children a week frequent the play center.
The ruling stated that crime increases near medical marijuana dispensaries, and that CMG therefore posed a threat to the public safety and welfare of the children.
On July 16, the dispensary was burglarized.
The injunction follows a restraining order obtained by the city on July 22 after Police Chief Mike Baray asked City Council to declare it a public nuisance. The declaration was approved unanimously.
The cooperative is licensed from the State Board of Equalization to dispense marijuana for medical purposes. While medical marijuana is legal in California, many municipalities have banned dispensaries from operating.
The ruling states that CMG violates city law, as Murrieta implemented an ordinance in 2005 banning dispensaries.
CMG is appealing the judge's decision, according to court records. A court date was set for January.
The dispensary owners could not be reached for comment Thursday; nor could their attorney.
Pot advocates pledge to fight dispensary ban
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, August, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — One day after they are banned by Kern County officials, medical marijuana collectives are ready to fight back.
Up to 30 dispensaries planned to meet Wednesday night with a local attorney.
The new ordinance unanimously approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday means the collectives must shut down in 30 days.
At Bakersfield Alternative Medicine, manager Susi Klassen said the battle is on.
"We have formed a coalition," Klassen told Eyewitness News. "We're united, and we're going to fight this."
Klassen and other collectives say they are necessary to provide patients with medical marijuana, and they operate under state law.
County officials say the new ordinance meets state law, and the original intent of state voters who approved medical marijuana use under the "Compassionate Use Act of 1996."
At Tuesday's session, Supervisor Zack Scrivner told the packed house of cooperative supporters they'll still be able to access marijuana with informal networks.
Scrivner said he's convinced of that, based on the large number who turned out at the hearing. "You can all communicate," Scrivner said. "It's not going to be the same as going into a dispensary, I understand that, but I feel confident that you're going to find a way."
The dispensaries don't believe that. They especially think seriously-ill or elderly patients won't be able to access marijuana without collectives.
Attorney Phil Ganong is working with the local dispensaries. He told Eyewitness News they'll consider filing a lawsuit or starting the referendum process.
With a referendum, Ganong said after getting a copy of the final county ordinance that passed, they could draw up a petition and file that under the election code.
The next step would be getting enough signatures on the petition, and Ganong estimates they'd need 17,000. If they got the needed signatures, the petition could be filed with the county clerk.
Ganong said that would automatically suspend the ordinance, and the board of supervisors could then repeal the rules, or put the referendum on a ballot before Kern County voters.
Glendale bans medical marijuana dispensaries
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, August, 10th 2011 by THCFinder
The Glendale City Council approved a total ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city Tuesday night.
The ban is slated to take effect Sept. 9, about two weeks before an existing moratorium prohibiting dispensaries from opening expires, the Glendale News Press reported.
Current zoning codes have so far kept marijuana dispensaries at bay, but city officials, citing growing interest from collectives, have sought stronger language to keep them out.
Glendale's ordinance uses the zoning code to ban businesses that engage in any activity that violates federal, state or local laws from operating in any zone. The ordinance identifies medical marijuana dispensaries as being banned in all zones.
Los Angeles passed an ordinance last year limiting the number of dispensaries to 70, exempting those in the city before 2007.
A lawsuit against the city of Anaheim challenging its ban on dispensaries awaits a ruling this month in Orange County Superior Court, which medical marijuana experts say could set a precedent. Glendale officials have said they were confident that their ban is on firm legal footing.
Arizona AG asks judge to shut down cannabis clubs
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, August, 9th 2011 by THCFinder
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne on Monday asked a judge shut down three Phoenix-area medical-marijuana clubs that he claims illegally charge fees to provide patients with pot.
Horne said in a news release that the clubs “falsely claim to be operating lawfully under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.”
On behalf of state health Director Will Humble, Horne asked a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to decide the legality of the clubs.
The pot clubs have cropped up to fill the void of dispensaries, which can’t yet operate in Arizona pending a judge’s ruling on Proposition 203.
Horne and Gov. Jan Brewer filed a lawsuit in late May, asking a federal judge to determine whether compliance with Prop. 203 would leave state employees vulnerable to prosecution for violating federal drug statutes.
Last week, Deputy U.S. Attorney Scott Risner asked a federal judge to throw out that case, arguing it asks for a hypothetical opinion because no state employees currently face prosecution.
Under voter-approved Prop. 203, patients can legally grow marijuana and give it to other patients as long as there are no dispensaries nearby and nothing of value is exchanged. But Horne argues the law does not protect pot clubs and cooperatives, specifically those that charge fees.
“(If) it was just a place for the patients to go and transfer marijuana for no fee, I suppose it wouldn’t be a problem,” Horne said.
In his request, Horne focused on three clubs that he said received the “most publicity:” the 2811 Club and the Arizona Compassion Club in Phoenix and Yoki A M in Mesa. The suit also names Michael Miller, who is affiliated with the Arizona Compassion Club.
The complaint does not address other medical-marijuana clubs in the Valley. Horne said a judge’s ruling also would apply to similar clubs not named in the suit.
If a judge decided the clubs were illegal, Horne said, they would have a “reasonable time period to shut down.”
Al Sobol, founder of the 2811 Club, said the 2811 Club is not – as Horne said in a news release – acting as an unlicensed dispensary. He said his club is “just a venue” that allows patients to exchange medical marijuana in a “safe, dignified way.”
The 2811 Club charges members an initial application fee of $25 and a $75 entry fee each visit to attend classes and get a free sample. The club offers marijuana through the Arizona Compassion Club, a co-op of patients and legal caregivers.
“We’ve done everything to try to be totally honest,” Sobol said. “We believe that this is completely compliant with state law.”
Spokesman Nick Monte said the Arizona Compassion Club is acting within the limitations of the Medical Marijuana Act. He said if the clubs were illegal, officials would shut them down instead of asking for a declaratory judgment.
Yoki A M did not return calls Monday.
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