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Suit over Medical Marijuana crackdown thrown out

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, March, 1st 2012 by THCFinder
More bad news for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries who want to remain open to help patients who count on their medication to get by day to day.
 
When federal prosecutors in California announced a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries last fall, pot suppliers and their advocates claimed in a series of lawsuits that the Obama administration broke a promise to leave them alone if they complied with state law.
 
The suits have gotten a chilly reception in court, and now a federal judge in Sacramento has become the first to dismiss one of them, saying the Justice Department remains free to enforce federal drug laws.
 
Tuesday's ruling allows federal prosecutors to continue a campaign that has shut down a number of dispensaries in California, including the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax and several in San Francisco. A lawyer for a Sacramento collective and one of its patients said they would appeal.
 
The suits were filed in November by marijuana suppliers and patients in each of the state's four federal judicial districts. They relied on the Justice Department's October 2009 memo to federal prosecutors that said they should concentrate on drug trafficking networks, and "should not focus federal resources" on individuals who followed their state's medical marijuana law.
 
Federal judges in Oakland and San Diego have reached similar conclusions in refusing to block federal enforcement actions, although they have not dismissed the lawsuits. The fourth suit is pending before a judge in Los Angeles.
 
Also pending, before a federal judge in San Francisco, is a lawsuit filed in October by the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access claiming that the prosecutors' actions against dispensaries and their landlords violated the state's constitutional authority to set its own health policies.
 
Matthew Kumin, a lawyer for the dispensary in the Sacramento case, expressed frustration Wednesday that Burrell and the Oakland and San Diego judges issued their rulings without holding hearings.
 
One argument Kumin said he would present to the appeals court is that the government is acting arbitrarily by blocking research proposals on medical marijuana, then asserting that it has no medical value.
 
Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. begelko@sfchronicle.com
 

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Marijuana dispensaries warned of federal charge

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, March, 1st 2012 by THCFinder

The Federal government continues it's harsh crackdowns with a new set of letters getting sent out to dispensaries this week.

U.S. attorneys sent letters Tuesday to more than 50 marijuana dispensaries in San Bernardino, Fontana, Colton and Bloomington threatening criminal or legal action in federal court if the dispensaries stay open.
This is the latest stage in a statewide crackdown that began in October, said Thom Mrozek, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Attorney's Office.
 
"We've gone after different geographic areas, and this enforcement action is the latest phase," Mrozek said.
 
The letters give the dispensaries 14 days to stop distributing marijuana.
 
"This letter serves as formal notice to you that the marijuana dispensary's operations violate United States law and that the violations of United States law relating to the marijuana dispensary's operations on your property may result in criminal prosecution, imprisonment, fines and forfeiture of assets, including the real property on which the dispensary is operating and any money you receive (or have received) from the dispensary operator," reads a sample version of the letter.
 
Federal law prohibits possessing or distributing marijuana for any reason, including medical use, but those who run or use dispensaries argue it's legal in California. They cite Proposition 215, the 1996 law that approved medical cannabis in the state, and Senate Bill 420, passed in 2003, which details the amount of marijuana a person can possess for medical purposes and sets guidelines for identification card programs.
 
"The law says we need (medical marijuana), and there is a need for us," said Dewayne "Dewbie" O'Brien, a budtender at Arrow Alternative Remedies in San Bernardino. "We're very busy with new patients and returning patients, staples of the community. The community needs us."
 

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Berkeley orders two cannabis collectives to shut down

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, February, 22nd 2012 by THCFinder
The city of Berkeley has issued “cease and desist” orders to two medical cannabis collectives, leading one to shut its doors.
 
The 40 Acres Medical Marijuana Growers Collective at 1820 San Pablo Avenue stopped operations in late January after Berkeley Code Enforcement sent it a letter informing the group it was operating in violation of the city’s municipal code.
 
The Perfect Plants Patients Group, or 3pgs, at 2840B Sacramento Street is still in business.
 
“It has come to the City of Berkeley’s attention that you are operating a medical marijuana establishment that is dispensing medical marijuana in a non-residential zoning district,” Gregory Daniel, the code enforcement supervisor, wrote to the two collectives on Dec. 8. “The establishment is in violation of the Berkeley Municipal Code … and must therefore cease and desist.”
 
Daniel also told 3pgs that it is operating less than 600 feet from Longfellow Middle School, which is the minimum distance any cannabis entity can be from a school.
 
40 Acres believes it has the right to do business on the second floor of 1820 San Pablo Avenue because it was operating there before voters passed Measure T in November 2010, which set out new guidelines for dispensaries and collectives, according to Toya Groves, one of the co-founders of the collective. It should be grandfathered in, she argues.
 
However, in inspecting 40 Acres, the city of Berkeley also determined that the Soe family, the owners of the building, had illegally converted a permitted dance studio into 11 unpermitted living units and ordered them vacated. So 40 Acres had to close down, she said.
 

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Marijuana Dispensary Owner Says Porn Shop Brings Down Studio City Neighborhood (Really)

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, February, 20th 2012 by THCFinder
Marijuana dispensaries have been painted, justifiably or not, as crime magnets.
 
The Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A. City Attorney's office have made no secret of their disdain for pot shops that have been the targets of violent armed robberies and drug rings. The LAPD recently boasted it shut down all the cannabis retailers in the Chatsworth area.
 
But one dispensary owner says not only that his shop is not the problem, but that another kind of business is. The dirty business:
 
Sam Humeid, owner of Perennial Holistic Wellness Center, Inc. (a pot shop with valet parking on Ventura Boulevard), sent a letter to the editor of Studio City Patch complaining that an adult video store wants to open in the same strip mall.
 
He alleges that the same store, Red Hot Video, has experienced crime in its current location nearby (apparently at Colfax Avenue and Ventura).
 
Humeid says that a homeless man with a history of mental illness was caught throwing a rock through the porn shop's window on Friday. In fact, he said, the suspect was caught by the dispensary's own valet.
 
He also somehow attributes a nearby sex assault last year to the adult retail biz. Humeid says adult stores attract deviants:
 
I found that crime, especially sexually related crimes increase dramatically around such stores ... An adult book store is not the right thing for this community. Maybe a community poll on your site about another porn shop could be interesting news
Agreed: L.A. needs to embrace wholesome businesses that attract clean-living (green-living?) citizens.
 
Unfortunately for Humeid, he might have spoken too soon. The L.A. City Council is aiming to put all the city's pot shops out of business. Smut stores? Not so much.
 

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Long Beach Bans "Rogue" Marijuana Dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, February, 15th 2012 by THCFinder
​The Long Beach City Council voted last night to ban medical marijuana dispensaries from operating in the city, but allowed clubs that won the city's controversial marijuana lottery to remain open for four months. The clubs that were exempted from the ban belong to the Long Beach Collective Assocation, (LBCA) and include 18 dispensaries that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on city permitting fees. As of now, all other clubs operating within city limits that failed to win the lottery or which never participated (and which haven't already been shut down) now face the immediate possibility of being raided by city police and code enforcement officers.
 
In recent weeks, LBCA has mounted a public relations campaign to pressure the city not to abandon its medical marijuana ordinance, major portions of which have been ruled illegal in a case involving patients whose clubs were shut down by the city that is now before the California Supreme Court. 
 
Although the ostensible reason for allowing the exempted clubs to continue operating for four months is to allow for the Supreme Court to issue its ruling, such clarity isn't likely to arrive in less than a year, although the city will always have the option of extending its exemption. Until now, the city has only occasionally raided various clubs that lost the lottery or which refused for financial or ideological reasons to pay the hefty $15,000 application fee, and no raids have been carried out since the city's ordinance was ruled illegal late last year. But now that the city has a ban on the books, the raids are likely to pick up speed.
 

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Arizona Dispensaries could start applying as soon as April!

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, February, 15th 2012 by THCFinder
Medical marijuana patients may soon available for medical marijuana pateints waiting patiently for their meds in Arizona.
 
This week, the Arizona Department of Health Services    is putting the finishing touches on the revised rules for medical marijuana dispensary applicants.
 
Once ADHS finishes writing that rule package, it will go to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which will file the rule package with the Secretary of State.
 
At that point, ADHS Director Will Humble said he will set the date for when ADHS will begin accepting dispensary applications. He said he expects that date to be sometime in April.
 
State health officials are revising rules for the dispensary application after federal court judge Susan Bolton required ADHS to change its dispensary selection criteria last month.
 

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