Businesses raided, 2 arrested in NorCal pot probes

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, June, 29th 2011 by THCFinder
NEWARK, Calif.—State investigators have raided a California medical marijuana dispensary and the offices of two psychics.
Two men were arrested and a Salinas storefront was also raided during Tuesday's state Department of Justice operation.
The Oakland Tribune says the NBD Collective in Newark was the focus of the investigation into drug-related crimes. Officers from the Southern Alameda County Major Crimes Task Force and the Newark Police Department served the search warrants.
Authorities also raided the offices of psychics in Fremont and Salinas. Investigators say they were targeted because marijuana was being sold at those establishments.
More than $30,000 was seized.


Marijuana dispensary raided in La Puente

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, June, 28th 2011 by THCFinder
LA PUENTE - Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies raided Natural Choice Collective on Monday morning, the fifth raid since December on the city's dwindling marijuana businesses.
"There are legal collectives, this was not one of them," said Capt. Duane Harris, who leads the Sheriff's Department Narcotics Bureau.
Much like previous raids on La Puente dispensaries, the Sheriff's Department targeted Natural Choice because it was operating at a profit, Harris said.
According to guidelines issued by the state Attorney General's Office, a group of people can form a medical marijuana dispensary as a collective if they share the cost of operating the business, but they cannot profit from marijuana sales.
About who was arrested during the raid and whether anything was seized was not available Monday afternoon. Two men were seen being led out of Natural Choice in handcuffs.
Until Monday, Natural Choice was one of five marijuana dispensaries still operating in La Puente, which once had 10 such businesses.
Four dispensaries closed after similar raids. Another dispensary shut down following following La Puente's ban on marijuana dispensaries, which went into effect Feb. 2 and requires existing dispensaries to apply for an application to continue operating.
Of the four establishments still open, two submitted extension applications. The applications are still pending, including one by Natural Choice.
The remaining two dispensaries, Today's Holistic Collective and Trinity Wellness Center, are contesting the city's attempts to close them.


Are cannabis taxes too high?

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, June, 24th 2011 by THCFinder
Next month, medical cannabis dispensaries within Sacramento city limits will begin paying a 4 percent tax on their gross receipts.
With the new tax, Sacramento joins the growing number of cities across the country collecting money from medical-cannabis sales. Sacramento city manager spokeswoman Amy Williams says the tax will bring in an estimated $1 million in revenue anually. The money will go to the city’s general fund.
Voters last November approved Measure C, the Sacramento “Marijuana Business Tax,” by an overwhelming 71 percent.
Measure C was originally intended to allow the city council to tax recreational marijuana sales anywhere from 5 to 10 percent should Proposition 19 pass.
But Measure C also included a provision that allowed the city to tax medical-cannabis dispensary gross receipts should Proposition 19 be defeated.
In California, voters in Albany, Berkeley, La Puente, Long Beach, Morro Bay, Rancho Cordova, Richmond, San Jose and Stockton all approved various taxes on dispensaries or medical-cannabis sales. The taxes ranged from 2.5 to 10 percent.
With the stuttering economy killing tax revenues across the country, local governments have searched for ways to save vital services like police and fire protection. As sales in the medical-cannabis industry take off, city officials are seeing green.
Sonny Kumar, executive director of El Camino Wellness Center, expressed differing feelings about the new tax.
“The reason the El Camino supports the tax is because we want to be able to contribute to the community,” Kumar said. “And we accept that one of the ways to do that is to pay taxes.”
But he says the 4 percent tax was higher than what he and other dispensary owners were hoping.
Nearby Oakland has voted to increase its special tax on dispensaries, now tacking on another $50 for every $1,000 of sales, which is in addition to the city’s sales tax. The city also planned to license four industrial-sized pot farms and collect millions of dollars in yearly fees. Thousands of investors lined up to grab one of the permits; the city’s plans fell apart after receiving a threatening letter from federal prosecutors.


Three charged at marijuana dispensary (with documents)

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, June, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
Staffers at a Handy Township medical marijuana dispensary distributed their product to a "patient" not assigned to them under the law, according to an affidavit released Wednesday.
As a result, the Livingston County prosecutor's office has charged Marshall Alternatives owners Alan Marshall, 39, and Christi Marshall, 37, with delivery of marijuana. Alan Marshall, who faces two counts, is charged as a habitual offender, which means he faces up to eight years in prison if convicted as charged. His wife faces up to four years.
Dispensary employee Stephanie Lynn Baxter, 30, also has been charged with two counts of delivery of marijuana.
The three, who are card-carrying caregivers, are expected to turn themselves in for arraignment, which had not occurred Wednesday.
Defense attorney Wilson Tanner, who represents the Marshalls, confirmed his clients have been charged. He said the Marshalls plan to turn themselves in today for arraignment.
The Feb. 28 delivery is outlined in the affidavit, which notes the "patient" was actually a Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Team officer who used a fictitious driver's license and Michigan medical marijuana card to allegedly purchase marijuana from Alan Marshall, who co-operates Marshall Alternatives at 165 Fowlerville Road, north of Mason Road and about four miles south of the village of Fowlerville.
The affidavit further notes that a defense for the medical use of marijuana "exists only for a registered caregiver who is connected to the patient through the Department of Community Health's registration process." Yet, the fake marijuana card identifies the "patient" — an undercover officer — as a patient only, with no caregiver designated.


Dispensaries having banking issues across the US

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, June, 22nd 2011 by THCFinder

It's time a bank steps up to the plate and realize the opporunity they are missing out on!

Operator and supporters of marijuana dispensaries say banks are turning away their businesses because they risk falling afoul of anti-money-laundering and drug-trafficking laws.

Sue Harank, co-owner of Denver-based dispensary Alpine Herbal Wellness, said her accounts were closed in two banks and the credit union, after she opened a shop in March 2010.
"Both banks and the credit union pursued our business initially and said they had talked to the corporate office and run it through legal, but a month or two later they all reversed themselves," she said.
The largest U.S. bank, Bank of America Corp, said it started withdrawing services from dispensaries after receiving a warning from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in late 2007 or early 2008.


Beaumont dispensaries raided

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, June, 22nd 2011 by THCFinder
Law enforcement officials raided a medical marijuana dispensary in Beaumont in the early afternoon of June 21, serving search warrants at its nondescript location on 6th Street and four other locations, and arresting five people, including its owner, Art Moreno, 39, of Yucaipa.
Members of the Allied Riverside Cities Narcotic Enforcement Team (ARCNET) concluded a seven-month long criminal investigation of Oak Tree Alternative Care. The business had been operating their under the guise of medicinal marijuana collective since it has leased its location in 2008.
ARCNET determined that the business was operating outside the scope of California Senate Bill 420 (known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act) and Proposition 215 (The Compassionate Use Act of 1996). As a result of the criminal investigation findings a search warrant was secured for five locations associated with the business, to include residences for the owner and managers of the Oak Tree Alternative business.
Oak Tree Alternative Care had been paying fines for violating city codes since August 2009, and paid the city of Beaumont approximately $600,000, according to Beaumont Police Chief Frank Coe. Now that the entity has been identified and shut down as a criminal enterprise, it will no longer pay fines, he said.
Agents also seized processed marijuana, hashish, business documents, and indicia of the illegal sales and use of marijuana. Two of the residential locations had illegal marijuana grows inside of the homes. All of the arrested persons were charged with California Penal Code section 182 – Conspiracy and California Health and Safety Code section 11359 – Possess for Sales (marijuana) and booked into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Larry Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.



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