S.F. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Generate Only 11 Complaints in Five Years

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, July, 15th 2011 by THCFinder

Pot clubs. They're boring. You go in, you buy some pot, you leave. For all the clamor a new medical cannabis dispensary's opening receives from jumpy John Q. Public, with a few notable exceptions, most we see these days resemble dentists' offices, not dens of iniquity (and, we suspect, the drugs in dentists' offices are more fun, if you're into that kind of thing). 

Know what's even more boring? Reading the list of citizen complaints San Francisco's medical cannabis dispensaries have generated over the past few years. 

SF Weekly recently asked the Department of Public Health, which oversees the city's dispensary program, for a compendium of recent problems with the city's cannabis collectives. And we received it: A grand total of 11 complaints on file over a five-year period, according to the documents we received from our public records request.

2007: Canna Med Care on Sutter Street -- since closed -- was using a scale that was off by .4 grams. In a separate complaint filed that year, a neighbor on Dore Alley says that HopeNet's customers were blocking the sidewalk. HopeNet asked not to block the sidewalk. Also, workers at 1525 Howard Street complain that the smell from Emmalyn's is too much. DPH visits but can't detect a scent.

2008: The bathroom at HopeNet wasn't working. It was working when DPH visited. Another complaint said that outside of 442 Haight Street (now a shoe store) the presence of a "known drug dealer" alarmed a neighbor who later sees people smoking pot outside the establishment on two separate occasions. That matter was referred to SFPD.

2009 was the dirty year: Green Goddess at 940 Geary Street was selling pot without a permit. Also, 194 Church Street was doing the same thing. Both operations were shut down.

2010: Grassroots on Post Street was selling more than an ounce per visit, in violation of city rules. Told not to do it anymore. Another complaint said that a man on Palm Avenue in Laurel Heights upset his neighbors by making cannabis lollipops in his kitchen. He said he'll stop.

2011: A man who claims to have top-security clearance from the United States government says he was assaulted outside of SPARC, and that he received harassing e-mails and phone calls following "a traumatic brain injury."

Had enough? So have we. Suffice to say that San Francisco medical cannabis dispensaries are hardly the most threatening entities in town. In fact, we believe that the local Pet Food Express has generated more contention

But this comes as no surprise to cannabis advocates -- it's what they've been saying for years, in fact.




Marijuana shop near Fullerton school closed

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, July, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
A marijuana dispensary operating about 300 feet from a Fullerton elementary school has been forced to shut down because of its proximity to the campus and other violations, police said Friday.
Neighbors of the Green Parrot dispensary complained to Fullerton police that it was operating illegally just yards from Raymond Elementary School in the Orange County suburb, said Fullerton police Lt. Andrew Goodrich.
Goodrich said the Green Parrot, in the 1000 block of East Chapman Boulevard, was investigated by narcotics investigators for a variety of violations, including operating without a permit, no business license and operating within 600 feet of a school.
Green Parrot owner Derek Gonzalez, 21, of Wildomar, Calif., received a citation for the violations.
Goodrich said the store had about 400 medical marijuana customers. Gonzales agreed to close his business, according to Goodrich.
The city also cited the building owner’s for code violations.
“Marijuana dispensaries, collectives and cooperatives are not allowed to operate within the city of Fullerton," Goodrich said.


Danville moves to permanently ban medical marijuana dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, July, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
DANVILLE -- The Town Council is moving toward a permanent ban on marijuana dispensaries.
The council, with member Newell Arnerich absent, discussed the issue Tuesday. No formal vote was taken, but the other members -- Mayor Karen Stepper, Candace Andersen, Robert Storer and Mike Doyle -- directed the town's staff to draft a resolution to ban dispensaries. City Attorney Rob Ewing said it would likely come to the council in September for adoption.
"I don't know why we would change what we're doing," Stepper said.
Andersen said she has seen evidence of the medicinal qualities of marijuana but would want to see it distributed by pharmacies instead of dispensaries where she said there is potential for abuse.
The decision was the latest in the town's attempts to discourage the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries. In October 2009, the council adopted a 45-day "interim urgency" ordinance banning dispensaries. Later extensions will continue the ban only until Oct. 6. The town had hoped legal issues regarding the ability of towns to ban dispensaries would be settled by now, but Ewing said it still remains unclear.
Danville cannot extended its temporary ban again, so the town had to decide what direction to take.
Ewing said other cities have adopted permanent bans, with some targeted by lawsuits that claim a broad ban -- at least applied to collectives and cooperatives -- is pre-empted by state law. So far, none of the suits have been successful, he said.
Danville's other option would be to let the current moratorium expire and wait for further legal clarification.
Meanwhile, the town could have tried relying on its general plan and zoning ordinances, which prohibit uses inconsistent with state and federal law.
A third option was to adopt a zoning regulation that would allow dispensaries with strict controls, such as requiring they be a certain distance from schools and parks.


Sheriff Mims proposes to eliminate medical marijuana dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, July, 12th 2011 by THCFinder
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Medical marijuana dispensaries in Fresno County could be a thing of the past if Sheriff Margaret Mims gets her way. The county supervisors will discuss a proposal Tuesday aimed at eliminating most of these collectives.
Sheriff Mims put a 20 page report on the agenda for the Board of Sups meeting. Supporters say it will help the Sheriffs Office control the cultivation of medical marijuana in Fresno County while critics say the ordinance makes it nearly impossible for anyone qualify and grow the plant.
Under the new ordinance proposal -- medical marijuana collectives like the one at Tarpey Village will cease to exist. And anyone who wants to grow pot legally will have six months to do so in the industrial area of Fresno County, where they'll be at least a thousand feet away from schools, parks, and churches.
Supervisor Henry Perea says the ordinance will help stop illegitimate grows taking place all over the county. "Really what I think it's turned into is a lot of criminal activity that has taken advantage of a law that was intended to help people. And we're going to put a stop to that in Fresno County." said Perea.
"We're trying to strike that balance. Yes if you have a medical need and we're going to make sure that need is met for you but at the same token we're not going to let the criminal element profit off of that either." said Perea.


Council votes to allow pot dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, July, 6th 2011 by THCFinder
CHICO — A letter from the Department of Justice stating its concern for Chico's medical marijuana plan did not stop the City Council from passing the ordinance Tuesday.
Council members voted 4-3 to adopt the ordinance that would allow two dispensaries of 10,000 square feet or fewer each to open in the city.
The dispensaries would have to go through a public hearing process and get approval from council.
Mayor Ann Schwab and Councilmen Bob Evans and Mark Sorensen dissented.
Councilman Scott Gruendl said his yes vote does not support criminal activity, but a responsibility to constituents who deserve safe access.
"My intent is to provide a safe way for people in this community who are entitled to this type of medicine to have access to it without being persecuted for it," Gruendl said.
The U.S. Department of Justice's letter to Schwab listed the federal laws people could break while following the city ordinance. United States Attorney Benjamin Wagner of the eastern district of California signed the letter dated Friday.
"The department is concerned about the proposed ordinance in the city of Chico as it would authorize conduct contrary to federal law and threatens the federal government's efforts to regulate the possession, manufacturing and trafficking of controlled substances," Wagner wrote.
"Individuals who elect to operate industrial marijuana cultivation facilities will be doing so in violation of federal law. Others who knowingly facilitate such industrial cultivation activities, including property owners, landlords and financiers, should also know that their conduct violates federal law."
Evans told fellow council members he thinks the community could be committing a crime allowing dispensaries in Chico and recommended the council table the discussion until they have a clear picture of the federal government's intent, he said.
City attorney Lori Barker said the federal government is putting states on notice of their inconsistency with its laws and that it could still come in and prosecute operations following state law but breaking federal law.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey addressed the council and said he thinks city staff could violate federal law with the ordinance and face prosecution, including Police Chief Mike Maloney.
"In general, I have some concerns about the road that we're traveling down," Maloney said.
The dispensary application period will run from Aug. 5 to Nov. 7. On Nov. 8, the council will have a public hearing on dispensary applications.
Sorensen said he does not oppose medical marijuana for legitimate reasons in "the slightest bit."


First permitted medical marijuana co-op opens in San Diego

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, July, 6th 2011 by THCFinder
Mother Earth’s Alternative Healing Cooperative reopened at 10 a.m. Monday in an industrial park outside El Cajon. Riedel shuttered his former location in Fallbrook because it would not have qualified for an operating permit.
The county’s year-old restrictions limit collectives to industrial areas and prohibit them from operating within 1,000 feet of places such as parks, churches, homes, schools, libraries and other medical marijuana facilities. Supervisors later approved an $11,000 annual fee for collective operators.
On Monday, more than 50 people joined the co-operative, which lists its hours of operation as 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday.
About 90 percent of those who signed up were over the age of 45, Riedel said. Medical marijuana dispensaries have historically drawn the ire of neighbors who argue that many members are young and appear to be healthy.
Riedel is hiring licensed pharmaceutical technicians, testing all of the product on site and doing customer surveys to determine which strains of medical marijuana are most effective. He also promised not to run advertisements depicting marijuana or to advertise free or discounted product.



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