Feds Push Banks to Spy On Legal Marijuana Dispensaries

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, March, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
The government has forced banks and financial institutions to enlist as foot soldiers in the war on drugs.
Federal regulators ignited a firestorm of controversy recently when they ordered banks located in the North Coast area of California to spy on transactions of customers who are suspected of making money in the marijuana business. In a bid to crack down on California's marijuana industry, regulators have ordered banks to look out for suspicious activity by those running such operations, but that is leaving legal -- under state, but not federal law -- medical marijuana businesses out in the cold.
Although DEA and FBI officials are not specifically targeting medical marijuana, they say they are looking for drug traffickers and money launderers, and they regard any marijuana-related banking activities with suspicion. The banks are not being ordered to not do business with dispensaries, but are instead closing accounts rather than put up with the hassles of investigating and reporting those transactions.
Banks in the North Coast region, including Savings Bank, Wells Fargo, the Exchange Bank, and Ukiah Bank, as well as other financial institutions in the Sacramento and San Joaquin areas are scrambling to comply with the government's order as the feds continue their onslaught against the legal marijuana trade.
The enforcement action is the result of the North Coast's widespread reputation for marijuana production and also includes the arrest of citizens in the area operating legal medical marijuana businesses under California state law. California voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, legalizing the medical use of marijuana for patients whose doctors have recommended they use it.


New Jersey medical marijuana dispensaries announced

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, March, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
Six organizations received licenses to grow and distribute cannabis. The state's rules call for the alternative treatment centers to be set up in northern, central and southern New Jersey.
For the northern region encompassing Warren County, marijuana dispensaries are planned in Secaucus, Hudson County, and Montclair, Essex County, according to the state Department of Health and Senior Services. For the central region that covers Hunterdon County, medical marijuana will be sold in Manalapan, Monmouth County, and New Brunswick, Middlesex County.
The southern region dispensaries will open in Bellmawr, Camden County, and a location still to be determined in Burlington or Camden County.
The state adopted a law more than a year ago allowing pot to be sold to patients with certain conditions. But implementation has been delayed as officials crafted rules spelling out how the industry would work.
Today's announcement is a major milestone in bringing medical marijuana to the most populous East Coast state to allow it.
Patients or caregivers will have to pay a $200 registration fee, which is valid for two years, to buy medical marijuana in New Jersey. A reduced fee of $20 would be paid by patients who qualify for certain state or federal assistance programs. 
Patients will be able to buy a maximum of 2 ounces in any 30-day period.
State health officials have not pinpointed when sales would begin, only that marijuana growing and processing can begin following today's identification of alternative treatment centers. 


Colorado: New rules for MMDs expected

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Sat, March, 19th 2011 by THCFinder
Colorado's storefront medical marijuana centers face rigorous security requirements in the coming months as the state works to keep pot from falling into the wrong hands.
Surveillance cameras tied to state computers, weight records of growing plants and background checks with fingerprinting for all employees are among the rules in a 77-page draft released Friday on the Colorado Department of Revenue website.
"They're going to put a lot of small businesses out of business," said attorney Sean McAllister with the Cannabis Law Center in Denver, adding that compliance will cost as much as $30,000 for a center.
The draft was published the same week two Wyoming teenagers were arrested on suspicion of twice robbing Infinite Wellness Center, a Fort Collins dispensary (or center). Robbers broke through a Plexiglass door Monday, stealing five jars of cannabis from the store as employees hid in a safe room.
But the incident and a December robbery at the same location are the only two involving a local dispensary since the industry began blooming in 2009. Several pharmacies and banks also have been robbed in that time.
"We have had quite a few pharmacy robberies for prescription drugs - more than we've had at the licensed dispensaries, for sure," said Fort Collins Police Capt. Jerry Schiager.
He said burglaries have been more common for the marijuana businesses, but perpetrators often don't get away with pot because it's locked in safes. Black market, residential grow operations have been the subject of many armed robberies, Schiager said.
The new regulations are pending review by the Colorado Attorney General's office, and time is allowed for compliance before they're effective July 1.


California: County aware of new Mentone pot dispensary

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Sat, March, 19th 2011 by THCFinder
Just months after a medical marijuana collective closed for business, a new dispensary has opened in the same Mentone storefront.
The new dispensary - Mentone Patient Group - opened for business at 1944 Mentone Blvd. in early March.
But San Bernardino County has a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries in its unincorporated areas, like Mentone. County code enforcement officials have begun a multi-step process that could end in a court order shutting the new dispensary down, said spokesman David Wert.
"This (dispensary) has received its 10-day notice to cease operation and we will continue attempting to work with the facility to get them to come into compliance," he said.
Code enforcement officials have issued a notice of violation to the dispensary, which is the first step in the process. The violation was accompanied by a fine.
"Code enforcement can issue 13 additional citations in order for the county to move forward with seeking a court order to force the facility to close," Wert said.
A representative from Mentone Patient Group said Friday no one from the facility would comment on the moratorium or the county citation.
Operating a dispensary in violation of a county moratorium is not a crime because of Proposition 215, a California law passed in 1996 that governs the use and sale of medical marijuana.
A medical marijuana dispensary operating in violation of a moratorium is no different than a nail salon violating a zoning ordinance, Wert said in September.


Boulder allows 5 marijuana businesses to stay open during appeal

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Sat, March, 19th 2011 by THCFinder
Five of the six medical marijuana businesses the city of Boulder ordered to shut down will be allowed to stay open until a hearing is held on their appeal requests.
The sixth remains closed because it did not appeal the city's order to close down.
The city sent six cease-and-desist letters to Boulder marijuana businesses earlier this month after a review of their business license applications found problems with background checks for five of the businesses and a zoning issue for the sixth.
But, city spokeswoman Sarah Huntley said Friday, the decision to allow them to stay open was reached after an attorney for some of the businesses disagreed with the city attorneys' interpretation of the code.
The city maintained it could issue a cease-and-desist order as soon as a decision was made to deny a business license, while the businesses' attorney said the law required the city to wait until a quasi-judicial hearing is held.
Huntley said the city still believes it has the right to shut the businesses down now but decided to let them re-open until the hearing.
"We didn't want to fight over someone's due process rights," Huntley said. "We want to give businesses in the community every chance to succeed."
All five businesses that encountered issues with background checks -- High Grade Alternatives, 8th Street Care Center, Fresh Baked Dispensary, Timberline Herbal Clinic and Southwest Alternative Care -- filed appeals with the city, Huntley said. No dates have been set yet for the hearings.


Longmont cops shut down Mother Greens med pot shop

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, March, 18th 2011 by THCFinder

LONGMONT — Police on Thursday afternoon served a municipal search warrant on a medical marijuana dispensary suspected of providing medical marijuana in violation of city code and a moratorium on the businesses.

Police served the warrant at Mother Greens, 615 Ken Pratt Blvd., to look for violations of the city's code and, specifically, violations of the business' agreement with the city outlining the type of business Mother Greens is allowed to conduct at its storefront.

Cmdr. Jeff Satur said the dispensary was shut down by the city.

Mother Greens moved from the 1300 block of Vivian Street to its current location last April, according to city code enforcement officer Shannon Stadler. That move came after the city placed a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Stadler said that after Mother Greens relocated, the city approved the business only for massage therapy and holistic medicines, and planning and zoning specifically noted that the business would no longer be allowed to provide medical marijuana.




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