Federal Raid Closes City's Last Pot Shop

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, November, 22nd 2011 by THCFinder
Lake Forest's last remaining marijuana dispensary is shut after a sudden raid Friday by a Drug Enforcement Agency task force.
It's the last in a string of nearly 40 such shops that have been shuttered since the city began making a concerted effort to drive them out of town about two years ago. 
Hundreds of thousands of dollars later, federal threats—and action—proved the key in pushing the pot stores outside the city limits.
Authorities say that federal agents arrested two Charles Café employees at the Lake Forest Drive establishment Friday afternoon, which is known to police as a vendor of pot-infused edibles.
A third person working at the dispensary at the time of the raid said she was a "volunteer" and was not arrested, according to sheriff's Sgt. Roger Dawes.
Dawes said a "handful" of customers were in the shop at the time of the raid.
None were arrested, he said.
Evidence collected at the raid included edibles and marijuana, Dawes said.
The evidence is expected to engender additional DEA search warrants, although not in Lake Forest, he said.
In early October, city officials received word that Lake Forest's efforts to shut down operating dispensaries would get help from the federal government.
While the assistance came as part of a larger crackdown on commercial marijuana operations, it also was the hoped-for answer to a May plea for help from Lake Forest City Attorney Scott Smith to U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr.


Officials raid Montana marijuana shops

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, November, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
HELENA — Federal law enforcement officials on Tuesday and Wednesday executed 12 criminal search warrants and four civil seizure warrants on medical marijuana operations in four Montana towns.
According to U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter's office, the crackdown was the culmination of a 12-month multi-agency investigation into what authorities say were criminal drug trafficking activities in Kalispell, Missoula, Somers and Whitefish.
The four civil seizure warrants executed at financial institutions in Missoula seek an unspecified amount of money, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office on Wednesday afternoon.
The release states that the warrants were issued based on judicial findings that probable cause exists to believe the operations were "involved in criminal enterprises that have violated the Controlled Substances Act related to marijuana, a Schedule I controlled substance."
Authorities allege that the premises or property raided this week were involved in the illegal manufacture and distribution of marijuana, conspiracy and money laundering.
While 16 states, including Montana, have legalized some form of medical marijuana use, the federal government still considers the drug an illegal controlled substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.
"The Drug Enforcement Administration will continue to enforce all laws under the Controlled Substances Act, including the targeting of drug trafficking organizations involved in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana," acting special agent in charge Kevin Merrill, of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said in a statement.


Upland wins decision against G3 in Riverside appeal case

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, November, 10th 2011 by THCFinder
RIVERSIDE - The banning of the G3 Holistic marijuana collective by Upland and other cities was upheld by an appellate court Wednesday. A judgment from the Fourth District Court of Appeals determined that Upland's banning of the collective did not contradict Proposition 215, the 1996 law that approved medical marijuana in the state, nor Senate Bill 420, which details the amount of marijuana a person can possess for medical purposes.
"We conclude Upland's ordinance banning (medical marijuana dispensaries) is not preempted by state law," read the decision. "We therefore affirm the preliminary injunction, judgement and all related monetary awards."
In a separate ruling, the court also ruled in favor of the city of Riverside banning the Inland Empire Patient's Health And Wellness Center, Inc.
The Riverside decision is published, meaning it has the backing of court and sets a statewide precedent while the Upland case is unpublished and did not.
The decision further stated:
"We reject the proposition that local governments, such as Upland, are preempted from enacting local regulations banning MMD's. Upland's zoning and business license ordinances (referred to collectively as Upland's zoning ordinance) do not duplicate, contradict, or expressly occupy the field of state law."
G3 attorney Roger Jon Diamond said he will try to appeal the Upland case to the state Supreme Court.


Belmont Shore Medpot Collective Raided by OC Sheriff's Department

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, November, 10th 2011 by THCFinder
At approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, Orange County Sheriff's deputies raided a prominent Belmont Shore medical marijuana collective, in what a department spokesperson described as part of an enforcement action carried out at multiple locations around the Southland.
Lieutenant Doug Doyle told the Long Beach Post that the collective, Belmont Shore Natural Care (5375 E. 2nd St.), was raided "because we have reason to believe it was operating outside of the provisions outlined by the CUA and the MMPA," referring to the Compassionate Use
Act and the Medical Marijuana Program Act, the two sections of California law that allow for the nonprofit distribution of marijuana to medically qualified members belonging to a given collective.
No arrests were made in the Belmont Shore raid, Doyle said, a raid that witnesses report involved numerous Sheriff's deputies and multiple vehicles.
Doyle reported that the reason the Orange County Sheriff's Department conducted this raid, which took place in Los Angeles County, is that the original investigation began in Orange County, but that information subsequently obtained connected Belmont Shore Natural Care to that investigation.
Rick Brizendine, an attorney representing Belmont Shore Natural Care, provided Long Beach Post with the following statement:
We are unaware of the source of this accusation [i.e., that BSNC was operating illegally]. No one has asked BSNC's director to provide the authorities with information which, once reviewed, we are confident will show that BSNC will be shown to have been operating within the requirements of CA law. This is borne true by the lack of any arrest or order to cease and desist.  Hopefully the Members of BSNC will soon have access to their medicine.


San Diego pot dispensaries can be evicted, judge rules

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, November, 8th 2011 by THCFinder
A landlord in San Diego can evict a medical marijuana dispensary because under city zoning laws, pot dispensaries are not legal anywhere in the city, a Superior Court judge has ruled.
San Diego County Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager, in a decision released Monday, said it was permissible for Kimber Investment Group to evict the Medibloom dispensary from the building that the investment group owns in a Rancho Bernardo shopping center.
"Cities ... are the arbiter of zoning laws," Prager wrote. "There's no place in the city of San Diego, including the shopping center in Rancho Bernardo, where a medical marijuana dispensary is a permissible use. It is therefore illegal."
In his decision, Prager also noted that neighbors have complained about increased crime since the dispensary moved in.
The San Diego City Council passed a zoning ordinance for medical marijuana dispensaries, but marijuana activists found it too restrictive and mounted a successful petition drive to put the issue to a public vote.
Rather than put the issue on the ballot, the council rescinded the ordinance. The result has been to strengthen the city attorney's aggressive stand to force marijuana dispensaries out of the city.
Federal prosecutors also have stepped up enforcement of federal law that criminalizes possession of marijuana.
City Atty. Jan Goldsmith noted that "building owners have been put on notice by the U.S. attorney that they must remove these illegal dispensaries or risk loss of their buildings under asset forfeiture."
Prager's decision, he said, removes the legal argument that dispensaries are permissible in San Diego under state law.
Meanwhile, medical marijuana advocates have filed lawsuits to stop U.S. attorneys in California from shutting down pot dispensaries. On Tuesday, they plan to seek temporary restraining orders.


Marijuana shop shut down after sheriff serves warrant

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, November, 4th 2011 by THCFinder
Santa Ana Superior Care, a marijuana dispensary at 321 W. Seventeenth St. in Santa Ana, has been closed since sheriff's deputies served a search warrant last month.
According to an affidavit by sheriff's investigator Howard J. McCulloch, the dispensary on two occasions sold marijuana to an undercover officer who had a doctor's recommendation, without the telling the officer to perform any duties or to participate in cooperatively or collectively cultivating marijuana.
Distribution of marijuana to an individual who has a recommendation but no other relationship with the distributor amounts to an illegal sale of marijuana, which is not permitted under California law, McCulloch wrote.
Sheriff's Capt. Adam Powell said deputies are continuing their investigation and will forward their findings to the District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.
Residents have complained about a  proliferation of  marijuana dispensaries along Seventeenth Street. Such dispensaries are prohibited in Santa Ana by a city land-use ordinance. However, there are dozens of dispensaries operating in the city. Enforcement of the ordinance is handled by the city's code enforcement staff. Persistent violators are referred for possible civil or criminal litigation.



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