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San Diego considers tougher rules for marijuana dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, March, 28th 2011 by THCFinder
SAN DIEGO—California's second largest city is considering regulating its more than 80 medical marijuana clinics caught in a legal cloud that some say has left the dispensaries vulnerable to raids and arrests.
 
Under the proposed ordinance taken up by San Diego's City Council on Monday, pot shops—both existing and new—would be required to obtain a permit by the city planning commission and prove they are a nonprofit business.
 
They also would have their hours limited to between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. and would be barred from doing business within 1000 feet of places of worship, parks, schools, playgrounds, libraries, child-care and youth facilities and other dispensaries.
Opponents say the proposed law is a de facto-ban on the pot clubs.
 
Ben Cisneros, of the nonprofit Canvass for a Cause, said the regulations will push clinics out to far-flung industrial zones patrolled by federal agents near the U.S.-Mexico border and other remote areas that are difficult to reach. More than 3,700 people have written to city officials asking for a less restrictive ordinance to ensure AIDS patients, veterans and others have access to medical cannabis, he said.
 
Cisneros said regulations should allow dispensaries within 600 feet of schools and not require approval by the planning commission if they are in commercial zones and there are no complaints. He also said keeping dispensaries more than 1,000 feet apart from each other limits them because so few landlords want to rent to the clinics because of the stigma.
 
"They're trying to zone out medical cannabis dispensaries as if they were strip clubs and adult book stores," he said. "It's not providing access, if you have to travel for hours on public transit and hours back with medical cananbis on you."
 

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Dozens more L.A. medical marijuana dispensaries ordered immediately closed

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Sat, March, 26th 2011 by THCFinder
Los Angeles city officials have widened their campaign against illegal medical marijuana dispensaries, warning an additional 60 stores that they must shut down immediately.
 
The new letters went out earlier this week about two weeks after the city attorney's office notified the operators and landlords of another 141 pot shops that they must close. The letters warn that the city could sue violators, seek financial penalties and “padlock the property.”
 
SEARCH: Complete list of dispensaries in lottery or ordered to shut down
 
Asha Greenberg, the assistant city attorney who oversees the enforcement efforts, said that city employees checked every one of the newly notified locations to be certain the businesses were open.
 
“These were locations that we were unclear about,” she said. She added, however, that the office has not determined whether all those stores are selling marijuana.
 
The city’s letter asks for a response. So far, Greenberg said, the city attorney’s office has received information on two dozen locations. At 11, the dispensaries are closed. At six, owners said they were acting to close them. At another six, the dispensaries are still open. And at one site, the business has denied that it is a medical marijuana dispensary.
 
If the notified dispensaries do not close, the city attorney’s office will work with the police department to gather evidence that can be used in court proceedings to shut them down. Greenberg said she could not estimate how long that process would take.
 

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Judge says no to Loveland medical marijuana dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, March, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
A judge on Tuesday denied a request to allow three Loveland medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open while attorney Robert J. Corry fights against cities prohibiting the sale of medical marijuana.
 
Judge Daniel Kaup ruled in 8th Judicial District Court that the temporary restraining order and permanent injunction requested were not proved by three medical marijuana dispensaries and two unnamed medical marijuana patients, represented by Corry.
 
"Granting an injunction would disserve the public," Kaup said. "It goes against the expressed voter will and the majority of voters in the city of Loveland."
 
Kaup said Corry did not prove all the elements necessary to require the injunction and restraining order, therefore, it was denied. Additionally, he said Corry did not prove medical marijuana is a fundamental right.
 
Kaup also said the court understands that some patients might be inconvenienced by having to drive farther or pay more for their marijuana but those factors do not justify an injunction against the city of Loveland. Loveland forced the dispensaries to close March 1 after voters approved a ban on the shops in November.
 
Corry said he was disappointed with the judge's ruling.
 
"There is no love in Loveland," he said after the hearing. "It was unexpected."
 

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Things don't look good for medical marijuana dispensaries fighting IRS, says NORML director

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Wed, March, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
In a post on Drug War Chronicle, criminal justice journalist Clarence Walker reports that the DEA and FBI are together putting pressure on banks in northern California to report any suspicious activity pertaining to the sale of marijuana. Rather than get involved in messy federal investigations, many banks have opted to simply close the accounts of medical marijuana dispensaries. The news comes at the same time as other recent stories, as reported by The Colorado Independent and The American Independent, have implicated federal efforts to cut the legs off of medical marijuana dispensaries that operate within state laws but are in murky legal territory according to federal drug statutes.
 
As The American Independent has reported, perhaps the most effective of these tactics is a push within the IRS to audit the books of medical marijuana dispensaries and declare all business deductions ineligible. If the move continues and isn’t overruled in court, it could mean that all but the largest dispensaries in the country could shut down within months.
 
Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), tells The American Independent that he believes this is phase three in a federal push to stymie medical marijuana that began in 1996, when medical marijuana first became legal in California. St. Pierre says that federal investigators first went after doctors, threatening to convict any who discussed medical uses of marijuana with patients as accomplices in the procurement and possession of marijuana. That tactic was declared unconstitutional in the case Conant v. McCaffrey.
 
The next tactic was to prosecute landlords. “If you’re renting property to someone breaking federal law, the property can be taken,” says St. Pierre. “Unsurprisingly, a lot of landlords stopped renting to dispensaries.” Eventually, enough landlords found liability loopholes or simply decided it was worth the risk to rent to dispensaries that the government gave up, as the thousands of dispensaries that today populate California alone attest.
 
Now, the federal government is using a time-honored method that could just cripple the medical marijuana industry once and for all, St. Pierre says.
 
“Rather than the SWAT approach, they’re going the Al Capone approach. He didn’t go to jail for cutting off people’s testicles and shoving them down their throats as a calling card,” St. Pierre colorfully offers. “He went to jail for tax evasion. If past is prologue, that route is much more effective.”
 

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Spokane: Marijuana Dispensaries Concerned About Their Future

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, March, 22nd 2011 by THCFinder
SPOKANE -- Medical marijuana dispensary owners swarmed Spokane City Hall on Monday night asking local leaders to push for a clarification of Washington's state law.
 
Last week, a Spokane jury convicted defendant Scott Shupe who co-owned one of the city's first marijuana dispensaries. Shupe had argued that a broad interpretation of the law enables dispensaries to supply card-carrying patients, provided they serve just one patient at a time.
 
But jurors decided that Washington's medical marijuana law should not be interpreted to allow for commercial dispensaries.
 
Now dispensaries across Spokane are concerned about their future.
 
 
Medical marijuana dispensary owners swarmed Spokane City Hall on Monday night asking local leaders to push for a clarification of Washington's state law. KXLY4's Tania Dall reports.
 
"I don't think a lot of time has been taken to deal with this in Spokane County and that's why 50 or 60 have popped up in the county in the last two years," said Ryan Seeley, director of a non-profit dispensary.
 
"We're licensed with the city, with the state, with the federal government, we're a corporation, we're a non-profit here in the City of Spokane, we do have a business license, a nursery license, a resellers permit, we have every license a business has," added Seeley.
 
After a jury charged Shupe with drug trafficking, Seeley says his dispensary decided to temporarily close its doors last Thursday.
 
"One of the big things that have come from closing our doors is my cell phone has been exploding from these calls from people wanting to know why we're not there and what they're suppose to do," said Seeley addressing the Spokane City Council.
 
Almost a dozen speakers chose to address the city council on the issue Monday night. Many were medical marijuana dispensaries pushing for a clarification in the state's existing medical marijuana law, and asking local leaders for support.
 
"In Seattle or in King County, the government officials have shown their support and compassion for patients. We don't have that clarity here," said dispensary owner Greta Carter.
 
After Carter's son was diagnosed with cancer, she decided to make the $50,000 investment and open up a medical marijuana shop.
 
"I'm a business person from a very conservative background, that investigated this industry to the tune of a lot of money and a lot of time and energy. Before I made the decision to go forward," explained Carter who recently opened her dispensary on Division Street.
 
However, now the venture has been put on hold surrounding concerns with the verdict in the Shupe case.
 
Carter along with other medical marijuana businesses plans to continue to fight for her son and other patients needing relief.
 
"I'm pushing the envelope and the hope is that there are others out there, that see the advantage too," said Carter.
 
The Spokane City Council listened as speakers shared their concerns but did remind the public that it doesn't have the power to change state law. Right now, a bill is being considered in Olympia that would improve protections for both medical marijuana patients and suppliers.
 

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Marijuana Shops Get First Green Light In Phoenix

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, March, 22nd 2011 by THCFinder
PHOENIX -- The chains may soon be coming off the marijuana industry in Phoenix with business getting their first green light to open.
 
Six owners were approved for a use permit by the city of Phoenix last week, cementing some of the locations where dispensaries and cultivation sites may open in the future. And while all the locations are in business and industrial areas away from neighborhoods, some feel they are still too close.
 
"There are families around here and this is an area where I like to come and bring our family, and I guess the location I am not a huge fan of," said Kevin Devine, who lives a few miles from a dispensary location.
 
Along Deer Valley there are two sites that received their use permits, established businesses nearby said it will be interesting to see what happens if they open. A worker from a neighboring business said she did not mind the location as long as the right people take advantage of the dispensary.
 
"For medical use, it is totally fine, but you have a lot of people that want to smoke just to smoke and get high, but medical is really good," said Taylor Grim, who works in the area.
 
While the sites have permits they still have many more hurdles to get over before they can officially open their doors. It will be up to the state health department to give them the final rules to permission to operate.
 

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