Riverside County OKs action against medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas
Already facing a potential crackdown by federal authorities, some Coachella Valley medical marijuana dispensaries must now contend with a new, local push to shut them down.
During its closed session meeting Tuesday, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors authorized its attorneys to sue any pot shops in unincorporated areas — plus any property owners who allow them to operate — unless those dispensaries immediately close.
Riverside County has prohibited medical marijuana dispensaries from operating on unincorporated land since 2006.
Last year, county supervisors briefly considered an ordinance that would have regulated these dispensaries but later stepped back and decided to uphold the ban.
Nonetheless, dozens of storefronts have sprouted in the unincorporated county in recent years, including a cluster of at least 11 dispensaries presently open in Thousand Palms, according to online dispensary locator WeedMaps.com.
County officials estimated as many as 47 in unincorporated areas last year, and they know of at least 36 such dispensaries.
Part of what has led to the county's medical marijuana boom are “vaguely written laws” on the state level, according to an October 2010 letter from County Counsel Pamela J. Walls to The Desert Sun.
Several owners of dispensaries who would be affected by the county's latest plan were unavailable or declined to comment late Tuesday.
Local patients and proponents of medical pot have endured several setbacks in the past few months.
The supervisors' unanimous vote Tuesday, according to a news release, was “buoyed” by last month's state appellate court ruling, which upheld the city of Riverside's ban on dispensaries.
That ruling followed an October announcement by the state's four federal prosecutors of a broad effort to close pot clubs, in particular, by sending landlords who rent space to pot dispensaries letters threatening to seize their property under federal drug trafficking laws.
The county's ban only applies to unincorporated areas, and Tuesday's action does not appear to affect Palm Springs — the only city in Riverside County to allow a limited number of dispensaries.
Outside of Thousand Palms, Palm Springs has the largest cluster of medicinal marijuana dispensaries, with at least 10 brick-and-mortar locations and a half-dozen delivery services listed on the WeedMaps website.
However, most of those locations are illegal under the city's ordinance regulating medical cannabis.
Palm Springs allows only up to three locations within its borders.
Medical Marijuana Collectives Raided in MI
Three medical-marijuana businesses in the Traverse City area were raided this afternoon by state narcotics officers.
State police executed warrants at two locations of Collective Inc, and at M-22 Collective.
A spokesman in Lansing says the businesses are not operating within Michigan's medical marijuana law.
That law allows only registered caregivers to sell marijuana to a certain number of patients.
Dispensaries in Michigan have operated under the belief that the law also allows patients to sell the drug to other patients, but the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled this summer such businesses are not legal.
No one at the dispensaries could be reached for comment.
City officials say there are seven other medical marijuana businesses operating within city limits.
Sacramento County Bans Marijuana Dispensaries
After months of debate, Sacramento County has brought the hammer down on marijuana dispensaries.
The county board of supervisors voted Dec. 6 to update its zoning code to ban any land use that violates federal, state law or both, The Sacramento Bee reported.
The county planning commission opposed the move, but Interim Planning Manager Leighann Moffitt last week blamed that decision on "confusion" and concerns.
Only seven dispenaries are left open, with two more expected to close soon, Moffitt said.
After hearing numerous public comments, the board voted 4-1 to ban dispensaries. Supervisor Phil Serna was the sole dissenting vote, saying the zoning code amendment wouldn't change current county policy.
As soon as the item passed, several audience members erupted into protest.
Free Pot with Donation to Marijuana Dispensary Has Stoners Giving Back
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, December, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
Like most medical marijuana dispensaries, Granny Purps in Soquel, CA sometimes struggles with an image problem. While it genuinely believes it’s helping people, pot remains illegal at the federal level and the “stoner” culture often stigmatizes what is otherwise a legitimate operation.
However, Granny Purps is trying to redeem itself in the eyes of the public. For the second year in a row, it’s feeding the less-fortunate by offering an unusual trade — one free joint for every six cans of donated food.
“It helps feed tons of people,” says Nancy Black, sales manager at Granny Purps. Since the joints usually cost $10 each, which must be paid for out-of-pocket, the program also “helps people who sometimes can’t get their medication on their own.”
But good deed or not, some groups won’t accept the food because it comes from a marijuana dispensary and they’re afraid of public backlash. Black says that 12,000 pounds of food was rejected by a local food bank last year, and although Granny Purps was hurt and upset, it had little trouble finding an alternative recipient.
“The issue can be a hot potato,” admits Linda Lovelace (no relation to the legendary porn star), operations director for Valley Churches United Missions. Though, she adds that when there’s a real need to feed the hungry, any possible stigma attached to the source of donations becomes less important.
“The demand is so high that the food is coming in one door and going out the other as fast as it’s coming in,” she says. “We’re just feeding people.”
Police raid Pomona marijuana dispensary
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, December, 9th 2011 by THCFinder
POMONA -- A SWAT team raided a medical marijuana dispensary Thursday and arrested a Rialto man on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sales, authorities said.
Javier Sarabia, 33, was booked at the Pomona Police Department's jail and released later in the day after posting $20,000 bail, according to county booking records.
SWAT team members and detectives served a search warrant about 10:45 a.m. at "Natural Remedies," 162 E. First Street, Pomona police Sgt. Duane Leonard said in a written statement.
"The search warrant was obtained as the result of a month-long investigation into the illegal sales of marijuana from the location," Leonard said. "The investigation was prompted by complaints from citizens regarding the illegal activity."
About a pound of marijuana, cash and weapons were seized during the operation, officials said.
"This location is among many other store front marijuana sales locations that have been closed in recent months," Leonard said.
California Marijuana Dispensary Trades Pot for Food to Feed the Hungry
Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, December, 8th 2011 by THCFinder
Medical marijuana users are accustomed to the munchies sending them on a hunt for food. Now they have a place where giving their food away can score them some pot.
For the second year in a row, one California medical marijuana dispensary is doing its part to feed the hungry by offering their patients a trade: one free joint for every six cans of donated food.
"We're in a really controversial industry, and we wanted to show that we're here for good," says Nancy Black, sales manager at the Granny Purps dispensary in Soquel, Calif.
The dispensary is running its unique food drive for the second year in a row, trading joints -- Black calls them "pre-rolls"-- for donated food.
There is no limit to the number of free joints a single customer can receive.
"We've given away 50, 60, pre-rolls at a time to one person for the amount of cans they've brought in," Black said.
The response has been huge. The dispensary collected more than 12,000 pounds of food last year and gave away about 2,000 joints. This year, they've collected nearly 5,000 pounds since early November.
The food-for-pot exchange not only helps feed the hungry, Black says. Patients also benefit by getting the marijuana they need without paying the usual $10 per joint.
"It helps feed tons of people and it helps people who sometimes can't get their medication on their own," Black says. "People have to pay out of pocket for all of their medicine."
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