Marijuana Dispensaries Remain Open Despite County Lawsuits

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, December, 29th 2011 by THCFinder
THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. -- Riverside County is moving forward with its push to close down marijuana dispensaries operating illegally in unincorporated county areas.
Wednesday was the day dispensaries were supposed to tell the county whether they planned on staying open or closing down.
More than a half-dozen are in Thousand Palms. So far, every single one that News Channel 3 has visited is still operational.
The lights were on at Desert Care Solutions just before News Channel 3 arrived, but once the crew pulled out the camera, the place went black. Patients were still inside.
One of the managers, Julie Montante, pushed News Channel 3's camera two weeks ago. This time, she again declined to speak on camera, but over the phone, she confirmed that at this point, there are no plans to shut down.
Inland Valley Therapeutic Healing Center is still open, and the same goes for Harmony Wellness next door. But both declined to comment and both asked that News Channel 3's crew leave the property.
Gold Star Organic Cooperative on Ramon Road has been open since Aug. 1, and it, too, has been served papers by the county.
"I'm not allowed to comment on anything," said Daniel Bosch, an employee. "You'd have to talk to my manager."
Alternative Wellness Center is less than 100 yards away from Gold Star and its business hours have not changed since the Riverside County Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead two weeks ago to have county attorneys sue dispensaries and their property owners, unless the operations voluntarily close down.
Relevance Alternative Health Care is also still serving the public.
Brothers Ricky and Jake Wright co-own Sublime Remedies, and they've received papers similar to a county complaint against Platinum Collective in the City of Riverside dated Dec. 21, which states that the dispensary is a public nuisance, and is operating illegally under county zoning laws.
"It's frustrating. It's sad, and it's hard," said Ricky Wright. "(The county) kind of looks at one person, just the dispensaries, where they should look at it across the board -- like the doctors and how the doctors are modifying who they're giving prescriptions to."
"(The patients) are very nervous," said Jake Wright. "They're scared. They don't want to go back to pills, first off. A lot of people have had problems with those in the past."
When asked if they plan on staying open, Jake Wright said, "We're playing it by ear. We're waiting to hear back what our lawyer says."
The operators are facing fines of up to $20,000 before their case even goes to trial if they don't shut down, said county officials.
At least 35 dispensaries are operating illegally within county areas, and almost half have closed up in the past year, said county officials.


Pot clubs turning to delivery With feds threatening storefronts, couriers become alternatives

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, December, 26th 2011 by THCFinder
Medithrive, a cannabis dispensary in San Francisco's Mission District that was forced to close last month, has re-emerged as a delivery-only service, part of a growing trend in California's billion-dollar medical marijuana industry that's recently come under attack by federal authorities.
Threats of property forfeiture, fines, lawsuits and raids this winter have made brick-and-mortar locations less enticing to pot entrepreneurs. Hundreds of storefronts have closed amid the new federal crackdown. Delivery services remain, offering a lower-profile, albeit more dangerous, alternative.
"It just makes sense. When you have a storefront, you're on the map. You don't have those issues with a delivery service. No one's going to know about it," said William Panze, an Oakland defense attorney who represents Northstone Organics, a delivery service based in Ukiah (Mendocino County).


Voters May Save Pot Dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, December, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
Medical marijuana dispensaries that are being run out of San Diego have unveiled a proposed ballot measure to help them survive.
The proposed initiative would set a 2.5-percent sales tax for the storefront collectives and prohibit them within 600 feet of schools and playgrounds. The 18-page measure also lays out security and inspection requirements.
"Our intent is to bring back safe access to medical cannabis for qualified patients," said Jessica McElfresh with the Patient Care Association of California, which helped to draft the proposal.
Proponents will need to collect about 62,000 voter signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
"Voters have almost always overwhelmingly supported medical marijuana responsible regulation," McElfresh said.
San Diego's city attorney has sued collectives for violating local zoning laws.
Federal authorities also are cracking down on the dispensaries and even if the local initiative passes they'd remain illegal under federal law. Last month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office sent a letter to pot shop landlords, saying if they do not kick out the dispensaries, the landlords could lose their own property.
In October, a San Diego court ruled that marijuana dispensaries could not be permitted within the city limits.
“I think it is clear that building owners and dispensaries that don’t voluntarily close their doors will be held accountable for violations of the law,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said in a media release in October. “We are obligated to enforce the law and we will do so.”
The initiative would address the city’s ordinance, according to the Patient Care Association of California’s website.


Berkeley Collective Offers Potent Marijuana Christmas Trees

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, December, 16th 2011 by THCFinder

The Patients Care Collective (PCC) in Berkeley, California, has been helping medical marijuana patients for more than 10 years now, having originally opened their doors back in 2001. They're a festive group; during the holidays they help patients celebrate the season with yummy, cannabis "Christmas Trees" augmented with potent concentrates.

(Full story


Riverside County OKs action against medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, December, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
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
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

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, December, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
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.



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