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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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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.
 

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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. 
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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