The DEA Sweeps Montana

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Tue, March, 15th 2011 by THCFinder

A reader flags the troubling news, adding, "The Feds have not stopped cracking down on medical marijuana even though Obama said they would." NORML is all over it:

Our Montana Affiliate, Montana NORML, has been liveblogging the latest news.  They report the “smash and grab” tactics Californians are already familiar with, destroying ballasts, lights, seizing cash, computers, and lots of cannabis, but not charging anyone with crimes or arresting people.

(Photo: Federal agents and local authorities raid a medical marijuana operation on Monday, March 14, 2011 in Helena, Mont. Authorities from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, Lewis and Clark County sheriff's office and Helena police watched over at least eight people in handcuffs outside Montana Cannabis west of Helena Monday afternoon. The greenhouse is the length of half a football field and packed with marijuana plants. By Eliza Wiley/The Independent Record/AP)



Federal agents raid 4 Montana medical marijuana businesses

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, March, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
HELENA, Mont. — Federal agents and local authorities have raided medical marijuana operations in four Montana cities.
Authorities from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, Lewis and Clark County sheriff's office and Helena police watched over at least eight people in handcuffs outside Montana Cannabis west of Helena Monday afternoon. The greenhouse is the length of half a football field and packed with marijuana plants.
A spokeswoman in the U.S. attorney's office in Montana says the federal agents executed search warrants that are under seal. Victoria Francis said she could not release any more information.
Montana Cannabis co-owner Christopher Williams told The Associated Press that raids were taking place at other businesses he co-owns — Big Sky Patient Care in Bozeman, at MCM in Belgrade and Good Medicine Providers in Columbia Falls.
More info to follow...


Marijuana dispensary trial begins today

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Mon, March, 14th 2011 by THCFinder
A groundbreaking trial for the area's medical marijuana dispensaries is set to begin today in Spokane.
Scott Q. Shupe, 56, faces felony drug charges stemming from a 2009 police raid at Change, a pot dispensary he operated on Northwest Boulevard, near Maple Street. 
Prosecutors have said they believe dispensaries are illegal because they distribute marijuana to more than one patient.
But pot advocates note that the statute technically states a caretaker can provide to one person “at any one time.” Owners of medical marijuana dispensaries use that interpretation to justify their businesses; Shupe says he only sold marijuana to one patient in the business at a time.
The investigation began when a detective saw a TV news article about the business.
“The news story advised that Scott Shupe dispenses marijuana and that he grows, possesses and sells marijuana and that ‘it’s all perfectly legal,’” according to search warrants used in the September 2009 raid.
Shupe is represented by Frank Cikutovich. Teresa Border is prosecuting. Judge Michael Price is presiding. Opening statements are expected this afternoon or Tuesday morning.
Trial for Change codefendant Christopher P. Stevens, 37, is scheduled to begin April 11.
While Spokane County authorities say the dispensaries are illegal, dozens are operating in the area, including one on Northwest Boulevard that offers to deliver.


Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Swamped as California Prepares for Tsunami!

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, March, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
Lines formed around the block in San Francisco at the city's marijuana distribution points as citizens prepared for emergency conditions following an 8.9 earthquake in Japan and a Tsunami warning extending from the California coast up to Washington state.
According to the California Highway Patrol, so far the lines waiting for their prescriptions have been 'orderly', with a staff of emergency Doctors outside the clinics hurriedly filling out prescriptions for "stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness," and additional staff being called in to bag rations and hand them out. No credit cards or 'Paypal" are being accepted, with "Cash Only" being the only payment method.
Down along the beach in Venice, stoned surfers continue to get toked while preparing for what some said would be 'the ride of my life, Dude!" 
Said "Sunny" Masterson, a sun parched 62 year old surfer, "Man, I've been waiting for the ultimate wave for over 45 years........I'm goin' ride this bitch all the way to Sacramento!"


Once-popular Venice-area medical marijuana dispensary is barred from reopening

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Fri, March, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
Los Angeles has won a court order permanently barring Organica, a once-popular Venice-area medical marijuana dispensary, and its former operator from reopening. 
In a judgment issued Wednesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson also ordered the dispensary and Jeff Joseph to pay nearly $326,000 in fees and penalties. 
The dispensary, which was in a sprawling building on Washington Boulevard that straddles Los Angeles and Culver City, drew intense law enforcement scrutiny for its high-volume business and the charge that its representatives distributed fliers near Culver City High School. 
“I feel like Organica was truly one of the big bad apples out there,” said Anh Truong, an assistant supervising deputy city attorney. “They were so off the hook with their activities.” 
The city has used costly, slow-moving civil actions to close four of the illegal dispensaries in the city and is trying to persuade a judge to evict a fifth.
The city attorney’s office this week warned 141 dispensaries in letters sent to operators and landlords that the stores must close immediately or face legal action. “We hope that this process will be smoother and quicker,” said Asha Greenberg, an assistant city attorney.
Organica, which registered with the city in 2007 to operate under the moratorium, was raided three times. In two searches, about 290 pounds of marijuana were seized. Records indicated the dispensary had almost $5.3 million in sales over a 13-month period. 


IRS tells Fairfax medical marijuana dispensary it owes millions in unpaid taxes

Category: Dispensaries | Posted on Thu, March, 10th 2011 by THCFinder
The Internal Revenue Service has notified the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana in Fairfax that it owes millions of dollars in unpaid back taxes, according to the alliance's founder and director, Lynnette Shaw.
Shaw said the IRS audited the alliance's tax returns for 2008 and 2009 and disallowed all of its business deductions. She said that although dispensaries throughout the state are being audited by the IRS, the alliance is the first to be told it can't deduct business expenses.
"Every dispensary in the nation, past, present and future is dead if this is upheld," Shaw said.
Shaw would not disclose the exact amount she is being ordered to pay but said, "It's a staggering sum, millions and millions." She is also negotiating with the state Board of Equalization regarding sales tax that was not paid in 2005 and 2006.
Shaw said the IRS disallowed her deductions — for buying marijuana, hiring employees, securing office space and more — based on section 280E of the federal tax code, which states that no deduction shall be allowed for any business trafficking in controlled substances.
Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a schedule I controlled substance, a category of drugs not considered legitimate for medical use — despite voters' 1996 approval of Proposition 215, which legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes in California.
Jesse Weller, an IRS spokesman, said, "We can neither confirm
nor deny there is an examination or audit of any taxpayer, because of the disclosure and privacy laws." Weller declined all other comment.
Henry Wykowski, a San Francisco lawyer who represents marijuana dispensaries, said, "I'm personally involved in over a dozen audit cases now, and I've been consulted on a number of others." Wykowski said all of the audits are in California.
Steve DeAngelo, director of the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, one of the largest dispensaries in the nation, said the IRS began auditing Harborside's books a year ago.
DeAngelo said section 280E "is the major issue in the Haborside audit."
"If the IRS were to aggressively interpret 280E, it has the potential to close down every medical cannabis dispensary in the United States," DeAngelo said. "If you can't deduct your rent, your payroll, licensing fees, et cetera ... you're going to be taxed out of existence."



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