Breaking news: Police Raid Medical Marijuana Dispensary
LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas police have raided another medical marijuana dispensary. The raid took place at the Medical Man shop.
Police have arrested two people, including the owner of the business. They say they have also seized a large amount of money, marijuana and hash oil.
The shop is located on Flamingo Road near Durango Drive. The business license is registered under Mark Godines.
Vermont considers medicinal pot dispensaries
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Advocates of medical marijuana dispensaries are telling Vermont lawmakers the facilities are needed to help patients who are legally permitted to use the drug.
Under existing Vermont law, they have no legal way to do so. Larry Phillips, who's 1 of them, says he has to buy pot on the black market and that he's been robbed and threatened in the process.
State Sen. Jeanette White, who's co-sponsoring a bill that would establish dispensaries, says they would keep patients safe. But police and the state Department of Public Safety say dispensaries could lead to increased crime and more people driving under the influence of pot.
WPTZ-TV reports that the dispensaries, licensed by the state, would allow for the legal purchase of marijuana by anyone with a prescription.
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Vancouver Island medical marijuana group raided by police
The North Island Compassion club, a medical marijuana group, was busted by Comox Valley RCMP last week.
On Friday, police executed a search warrant on the club's headquarters on Sixth Street in Courtenay on Vancouver Island.
They seized several pounds of marijuana, and arrested four people. RCMP spokeswoman Const. Tammy Douglas confirmed two were charged and released on a promise to appear in court.
"Police are concerned the club has become a front for marijuana dealing," said Douglas in a statement. "We recognize there are conflicting views on the medicinal value of marijuana but it remains illegal to sell in the manner in which they were conducting business."
Ernie Yacub is a director for the club and claims to be one of the two persons charged.
He said the bust shook up a lot of his fellow club members, many of whom he said are already nervous when it comes to getting hold of medicinal marijuana.
"We're talking about people who are sick in the first place, who are having all kinds of similar issues anyway, people who are afraid to talk to their doctors about marijuana ... ," said Yacub. "... So here we have a legal program where some people can access [medical marijuana] while the rest of us are criminalized, and the access is denied."
The Compassion Club has been operating for 10 years and has been at its current location for the last seven. Before that, Yacub said the club was dispensing marijuana at the train station.
He said police were civil and respectful during the bust on Friday but added, "If there's something they don't like about our operation, they can talk to us, instead of coming in here and taking all our medicine..."
Yacub said the club's members - there are 200, by his estimate - depend on the marijuana for pain relief. Yacub himself suffers from spinal stenosis.
"Imagine if the cops raided the only pharmacy in town and took everything. That's what it is for some of our members. Many of them are already on pharmaceuticals, but they also use [marijuana], because it works."
IRS audits marijuana stores
OAKLAND, CA (CNN) - The IRS is auditing marijuana dispensaries in California, and advocates have called for a change in federal laws.
The sale of medical marijuana is legal under state law, but illegal under federal law, and cannabis collectives say there is a problem because of the way they are being treated by the IRS.
Tax code 280-E does not allow drug trafficking organizations to deduct business expenses.
"If 280-E were applied strictly, we would not be allowed to deduct our rent, our payroll or any of the other normal and usual expenses that other businesses deduct," said Steve DeAngelo, Harborside Health Center.
Attorney Henry Wykowski is representing various dispensaries that are being audited, and he said 280-E was created in the 80s to go after drug lords, and it should be updated.
"What the California dispensaries are engaged in is not trafficking," Wykowski said. "They're engaged in a legal activity that benefits their patients."
Several members of congress have drafted a letter to the IRS, asking it to allow dispensaries to deduct business expenses and not treat the organizations as drug traffickers.
"I hope that what's going on is that the IRS is making a good faith attempt to understand our industry and to tax us like any other businesses would be taxed," DeAngelo said. "And I'm in support of that. We want to pay our fair share of taxes."
DeAngelo welcomed the audit, and he said the audit will help advance the cannabis industry.
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