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.


Colorado Springs jacks medical marijuana fees

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, July, 5th 2011 by THCFinder
The Colorado Springs City Council decided unanimously last week to impose a $2,200 charge on all medical marijuana businesses in the city. The fee went into effect July 1 and applies to all new and existing businesses. Prior to this vote, medical marijuana businesses were only required to pay a $500 pre-registration fee.
The new fees were proposed as a way to provide processing and maintenance fees that the city covers for the facilities. There were other proposed charges that will be under deliberation by the Council in 60 days, including two extra charges of $1800 each.
Audrey Hatfield, President of Coloradans for Cannabis Patient Rights (C4CPR), was not pleased with the new fees.
“I think this new fee is ludicrous,” she said. Hatfield said that she believes the city is unfairly picking on dispensaries, which could have negative effects for the local economy.
“These businesses are barely breaking even as it is, and I’ve already heard from several businesses that will be closing as a result,” Hatfield said.
Council-member Brandy Williams acknowledged the concerns, but said that the fees are necessary to pay for the amount of work that has to be done by the city clerk, especially for a business mired with so many regulations on a city, state and federal level.
“This is certainly a precarious situation, especially since it’s still an issue undecided on many levels. Perhaps as things change, many of these fees may go away,” said Williams, “Right now we’re in an adjustment period.” Williams also said that the fact that marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, further complicates the situation.
Williams said that currently the position of medical marijuana businesses is in a position of “limbo” as both the state and the city make slow movements on how best to regulate the growing industry.


Peoria, Arizona OKs 2 applicants for medical-pot dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, July, 4th 2011 by THCFinder
Peoria's Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved permit requests for two medical-marijuana dispensaries, but such facilities are in limbo as the state seeks clarity on whether the voter-approved ballot measure conflicts with federal drug laws.
As Arizona waits for an answer on opening medical-pot facilities, the state health department has issued thousands of patient cards for marijuana use. More than 98 percent of 6,669 applicants were approved as of Wednesday. In Peoria, 169 residents applied for the card.
If requested, cardholders will be able to grow their own marijuana for personal use, at least until dispensaries open. The law allows cardholders to grow their own if a dispensary is not located within 25 miles of their home.
Peoria requires patients or caregivers to grow medical marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility, such as a room inside a home.
Arizona voters in November approved medical-pot use for cancer patients and those with other debilitating illnesses to get a medical-marijuana card with doctor approval.
The state was scheduled to accept applications for dispensaries and growing facilities in June. Then a letter raised concerns. The U.S. Attorney for Arizona warned the state Health Director of prosecution of prospective pot growers and sellers under federal drug-trafficking laws. The Arizona Attorney General in May filed a lawsuit in federal court to clarify whether Arizona would run afoul of the federal government.
With no response yet, those interested in opening facilities are moving forward. In Peoria, one applicant hopes to open at the southeast corner of Loop 101 and Peoria Avenue, while another wants to open at the northwest corner of Lake Pleasant and Beardsley roads.
Arizona Natural Selections Patient Center seeks a dispensary near Loop 101, in an area zoned commercial and geared toward retail shops and offices. The applicant estimated the dispensary would see as many as 30 patients a day at the site, which would be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Arizona Grown Healthcare proposes the northern Peoria location, which is in a commercially zoned area. Hours of operation would be weekdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and closed Sundays.


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.



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