| 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.