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Whittier police crack down on unlicensed pot dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, May, 19th 2011 by THCFinder
WHITTIER - Culminating a three-month investigation, police brought a hammer down Wednesday on unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries, shutting down two underground clinics, including one operating across from East Whittier Middle School.
 
They also served a search warrant at a medical office in the 7200 block of Greenleaf Avenue, where they arrested a physician on suspicion of aiding and abetting an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary.
 
Investigators from the Medical Board of California could take action against the physician's license, police said.
 
Four other people were arrested on various violations, including operating an unlicensed medical marijuana dispensary, aiding and abetting an unlicensed
 
None of the suspects' names were released because officials were still sorting out their booking offenses Wednesday evening.
 
In all, officials served warrants at six locations, including the two dispensaries, the medical office and three other locations associated with the operators of the dispensaries.
 
The crackdown, conducted with members of the L.A. Impact task force that specializes in uncovering and shutting down unlicensed pot dispensaries, also seized baggies and prescription bottles of processed marijuana, pot plants, cash and other evidence that was still being catalogued late Wednesday.
 
"We'll spend the next few hours weighing it all, so I don't have the actual amount yet," said Whittier police Lt. Bryan Ellis. "But we seized a bunch of marijuana today."
 
The city has permitted only one medical marijuana dispensary to legally operate within its borders, the Whittier Hope Collective on Byron Road. Officials said the illegal dispensaries operated like for-profit stores, selling pot to people with doctors' recommendations.
 
At the illegal Apex dispensary inside a non-descript building next to a salon on Whittier Boulevard and across from the middle school, the operator was arrested on suspicion of violating parole.
 
He had a previous felony conviction for selling narcotics, said Sgt. Kevin Ramos.
 
That dispensary had an ATM on the premises. Officials confiscated cash from the machine. Ramos said the operator will be investigated for possible tax law violations.
 
"We've frozen accounts," Ellis said.
 
At least one client who happened to walk into the Greenleaf Healing Center to buy marijuana when police were there was arrested. He turned out to be on county probation, Ellis said.
 

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Proposal would ban medical marijuana businesses in Fort Collins

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, May, 18th 2011 by THCFinder
Medical marijuana dispensaries and grow operations would be banned from Fort Collins under an ordinance proposed by a group of city residents that includes Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.
 
Supporters of the ban are expected to start collecting signatures on petitions backing the proposal on Friday, city officials say.
 
Proponents would have until July 19 to gather the signatures of 4,214 registered Fort Collins voters to get the proposed ordinance before the City Council.
 
The council could then adopt the ordinance or refer it to voters. Supporters on the ban are requesting a special election in November.
 
While the Colorado Constitution allows using marijuana for medicinal purposes, state law allows municipalities to ban medical marijuana businesses. Loveland, Windsor and Greeley have banned medical marijuana shops.
 
Fort Collins should do the same, said Ray Martinez, a former mayor and retired police officer. Martinez is listed as a representative of the petition effort in a document filed with the city clerk's office.
 
Medical marijuana and the industry that has blossomed around it is a "ploy" toward legalizing the drug for recreational use, Martinez said.
 
"Theyre taking steps in that direction," he said. "What drug is next that they want legalized? Where do you draw the line in the sand?"
 
Fort Collins has about 20 licensed medical marijuana businesses. The City Council in March approved an ordinance that allowed existing businesses that did not meet all of the city's zoning rules about where shops may be located to continue operating.
 
The city has spent a lot of time crafting regulations for marijuana businesses that address concerns about the industry while meeting the needs of patients, said Steve Ackerman, president of the Northern Colorado Medical Marijuana Business Council.
 
Taking the issue to voters would be "a step back," he said. But if voters approve the measure, the consumption of medical marijuana in the city is not likely to go down.
 

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Long Beach marijuana dispensary fire causes $50K damage

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, May, 16th 2011 by THCFinder
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A pot clinic in Long Beach goes up in smoke Monday.
 
The fire broke out around 1 a.m. at The Green Room, located on the 1700 block of East 7th Street. Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze in about 20 minutes.
 
No one was injured. There was no marijuana inside the dispensary. The estimated damage is around $50,000.
 
Investigators are investigating what sparked the blaze.
 

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Marijuana Dispensary Manager Grabs Robber's Gun

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, May, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
The manager of a San Diego medical marijuana dispensary tried to foil a robbery attempt Thursday night by brazenly grabbing the suspect’s gun.
 
Four men attempted to rob the Green Goddess Medicinal Marijuana dispensary near El Cajon Boulevard and Keeney Street east of Lake Murray Boulevard around 9 p.m. police said.
 
When the suspects entered the store and demanded employees to the ground, the manager grabbed the suspect’s gun and started a struggle police said.
 
One shot was fired but no one was struck. One employee was cut by some broken glass police said.
 
San Diego police and La Mesa police responded to the robbery since the business is located in the College Area near La Mesa city limits.
 
The suspects wore black hooded sweatshirts with bandanas over their faces and last seen driving westbound in a black SUV, police said. 
 

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Joseph Erich Pearson, S.F. Dispensary Owner, Arrested After Marijuana Grow Burns in Sonoma

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, May, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
‚ÄčThe cofounder of San Francisco's slickest medical cannabis dispensary and a member of the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force has been charged with multiple felonies stemming from a Sonoma County marijuana grow, according to news reports.
 
Joseph Erich Pearson, 34, co-founder of the award-winning Mission Street dispensary San Francisco Patient and Resource Center (SPARC), was arrested Monday near Guerneville, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported this week. He and two others -- Alexander Pearson, 33, and Timothy Crites, 32 -- will appear in Sonoma County District Court today.
Pearson and his attorney declined to comment when SF Weekly called them on Thursday. Sheriff's deputies could not be reached for comment.
 
The trio was arrested Monday after an electrical fire broke out late Sunday in a barn on a Mays Canyon Road -- property Pearson owns. The barn contained grow lights and nearly 1,000 plants, police told the Press-Democrat. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but fire officials say it was probably an overloaded electrical circuit, according to fire officials.
 
The men were arrested on suspicion of cultivation and possession for sale as well as renting, leasing, or making available a building for drug use, according to the newspaper. 
 
However, there were enough medical-marijuana recommendations on site to render the grow legal, sources told the Press-Democrat. State law regarding cultivation limits are ridiculously vague, which means it's entirely possible that Pearson would not have been charged with a crime if the grow were in San Francisco (though if it were in San Diego, things could also have been different).
 
Pearson is well-known within Northern California's medical marijuana movement. He is one of the state's most successful legal cultivators, and he was a principal at a short-lived cannabis consulting firm, CannBe, with Stephen DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center, which is the nation's biggest medical marijuana dispensary.
 
But that's not to say he is necessarily well-liked. Several years ago, Pearson gained a bad reputation after he told other dispensary owners that he knew just how to put them out of business. He told them that he knew how to grow cannabis at cost for $600 per pound -- much less than the $5,000 per pound  other profiteering dispensaries were selling pot for. His threat became more of a reality when San Francisco Patient and Resource Center sold quarter-ounces of high-quality outdoor cannabis for $50, which would cost $90 at most dispensaries. 
 
When contacted, other members of the Medical Cannabis Task Force didn't want to speak unfavorably of Pearson. "I want to wait until we know all the facts," one told us. Suffice to say nobody, save perhaps Sonoma County sheriffs, is celebrating the bust.
 
According to John Stample, who was quoted in the Press-Democrat as a local resident on the isolated country road, the barn had been the source of noise stemming from "late-night parties."
 
"It's been a real problem," he says.
 

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East Grand Rapids proposal to ban medical marijuana dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, May, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
EAST GRAND RAPIDS — The City Commission will consider banning medical marijuana dispensaries and compassion clubs in East Grand Rapids’ commercial district.
 
The Planning Commission unanimously recommended an ordinance to prohibit dispensaries Tuesday after no one spoke at a public hearing. The City Commission may consider it at its June 6 meeting at City Hall, 750 Lakeside Drive SE.
 
A city subcommittee is still looking at possible regulations for caregivers and patients in residential districts, but City Manager Brian Donovan said dispensaries are not a compatible commercial use in the business district. Zoning already prohibits such establishments in residential areas.
 
The city drafted the ordinance in response to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008, which was passed by 63 percent of state voters. A city moratorium is in place through August.
 
The prohibition also aims to eliminate the group dynamic of commercial dispensaries.
 
City Commissioner Amna(cq) Seibold, who also sits on the Planning Commission, said the ban makes sense.
 
“I think this is reasonable and fair and in the best interest of our community,” she said.
 
Planning Commissioner Tom Getz said the ordinance is effective in maintaining character in the commercial district without infringing on anyone’s rights.
 

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