Fines Instead Of Jail For Marijuana Dispensaries
Anyone trying to run a medical marijuana dispensary in Auburn could face fines instead of court in the near future. The Auburn Planning Commission voted Tuesday night to recommend the City Council amend the city’s municipal code to make penalties for running dispensaries in the city civil rather than criminal infractions. According to Will Wong, community development director for the city of Auburn, in 2004 the city adopted an ordinance putting regulations on the dispensaries, but in 2006 the city amended its code to prohibit the facilities altogether.
Wong said fines for operating a dispensary in Auburn would start at $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second and $500 for the third. Wong said if someone tried to run the illegal business without a license, they would also be fined for that. According to city documents, non-criminal penalties avoid conflict with the Compassionate Use Act and the Medical Marijuana Program Act, which “decriminalizes possession and cultivation of marijuana for specified medical purposes.”
Wong said hydroponic shops are not considered the same as dispensaries, because they don’t sell marijuana. So, they are legal in the city. “Selling merchandise is not a problem,” Wong said. “We would have no grounds (for legal action). Someone could use it to grow tomatoes.” Wong said people interested in opening dispensaries have asked him about business licenses, and he has had to explain the city’s prohibition policy. Wong said if a time ever came where Auburn could no longer prohibit the facilities, the city would have to think about putting standards on them again. The City Council still needs to approve the municipal code language change before it would go into effect.
City of Oakland Warned By Feds About Marijuana Law
The U.S. attorney's office has warned Oakland officials that the city's marijuana farm ordinance breaks federal law and would put cannabis cultivators in criminal and civil jeopardy.
The ordinance was passed in July by the City Council but has since been put aside after local law enforcement leaders warned that it could result in criminal prosecution of city officials.
In a Feb. 1 letter to Oakland, Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, wrote: "Individuals who elect to operate 'industrial cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities' will be doing so in violation of federal law."
Haag's letter marks the first time federal authorities have sent a written warning on Oakland's ordinance and comes as the council is in the midst of considering a new proposal to license pot farms. Haag, however, did not weigh in on the latest proposal, and Department of Justice officials refused to comment on it.
Thus, some council members said they intend to continue moving forward with the plan by Councilwoman Desley Brooks that would license five new dispensaries, which would each have farms of up to 50,000 square feet.
Haag's letter calls marijuana a controlled substance and says that federal authorities do not pursue "seriously ill" people who use medicinal marijuana approved by state law. Landlords, property owners, financiers and others, however, could face prosecution and the loss of property for growing marijuana under Oakland's law, Haag wrote.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com
San Bernardino Moves Toward Shutting Out Marijuana Dispensaries Entirely
Looks like unincorporated L.A. County isn't the only place these days.
State Debuts Preliminary Rules On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Marijuana shops that will be set up under a new Arizona law would be strategically located throughout the sprawling state to limit the number of patients allowed to grow the drug for themselves, according to preliminary rules posted Monday .Arizona voters approved medical marijuana in November, but part of the law stipulates that patients can grow their own marijuana only if they do not live within 25 miles of a pot shop. The Arizona Department of Health Services is hoping to section off the sprawling state into 126 areas based on population, with each getting only one marijuana dispensary. The more populous the area of the state, the more dispensaries. The Phoenix metro area, for example, would have 46 dispensaries. But rural areas like Kingman, Ajo, Payson and the Navajo Nation would have just one dispensary to serve a much larger geographic area.
The changes come after the department posted the first draft of the rules in December and got feedback from doctors, patients, potential pot shop owners, police and the public. "We got concerns from cities who were saying, `Look, if all the dispensaries are in the urban core, our whole community is going to be self-grow," department Director Will Humble said. "The more home-grow situations you have, the more community problems you'll have." He said growing pot in homes leads to fire hazards and an increased threat of break-ins.
Humble said limiting dispensaries to specific areas also eliminates the possibility of clusters of pot shops, a magnet for crime. Humble acknowledged that it will be more difficult to get dispensaries wanting to open in more rural, far-flung parts of the state. "We probably will not get a dispensary in every (area)," he said, but denied that the state was trying to further limit the number of pot shops. Humble said if a designated area goes unused, it could be reallocated elsewhere in the state or simply left open. If more than one dispensary applies to open in a given area, qualified applicants will be chosen with a lottery system.
Medical marijuana dispensaries get notice to vacate
LONG BEACH - The news wasn't very positive at Positive Vibrations medical marijuana collective Monday.
The City Attorney's Office sent letters Thursday to Positive Vibrations and 15 other Long Beach collectives that city officials say are operating illegally, telling them they must close within 30 days.
If they don't, the collective operators - and their landlords, who also were sent letters - will face fines of $100 the first day that they violate the order, $200 the second day and $500 for every day thereafter.
City Attorney Robert Shannon has also filed a civil complaint seeking a court injunction to force Positive Vibrations, 2137 Pacific Ave., to close. He said he targeted the collective because it has caused the most complaints about nuisance activity.
The 16 collectives are considered to be illegal because they didn't comply with Long Beach's new medical marijuana restrictions and permit process. Many have continued to operate for months despite being told they must close, the city attorney said.
"We're not going to put up with it," Shannon said, noting that other collectives could face litigation too. "We certainly have the discretion to file more complaints. Since I'm relatively confident that we're not going to get compliance with the warning letters, I'm sure there will be more complaints to follow."
Weed Trading Cards Unveiled
In California's competitive marijuana growing industry, popular strains such as “OG Kush” and “Blue Dream” can generate big profits, and inventing a hit new strain is a lifetime goal. This week, Berkeley Patients Care Collective honors some more of Northern California's weed celebrities with the release of BPCC's medical cannabis collector cards “Series Two.”
Following the success of BPCC's first set of ten cards in 2010 , patients who buy a gram or more of the strain “MK Ultra” this week can get its collectors card while supplies last. Nine more cards will become available at a rate of one every other week, and eventually patients can purchase all ten for $10 at the collective on Telegraph Avenue. Pics after the jump:
Series Two features: MK Ultra, Purple Kush, Morning Star, Durban Poison, Peak 19, Ogre, Purple God, Sage & Sour, Blue Moonshine, and Blackberry Kush.
The card's front showcases a high-resolution photo of the strain's sticky bud, along with an inset photo of the microscopic trichomes on the plant. Bowers said all photos were taken at BPCC from what came in the door, representing some of the most popular, most available strains in the Bay.
On the back of the card, BPCC traces the strain's history, describes its effect, and the ailments it has been known to treat. For example, MK Ultra is “named after a covert CIA human research program begun in the 1950's, this strain is a cross between the infamous 'government grown' G-13 and OG Kush.”
“Flavor: A spicy and pungent lemon pepper up close, but smells like a skunk from far away. Very strong lung expansion.
“Effect: One of the strongest and heaviest varieties available. Starts out with a powerful euphoria followed by long lasting physical relief.
“Medicinal Recommendations: Chronic Pain, Insomnia, Muscle Spasms, Nausea, Appetite, MS, Anxiety, PTSD, Glaucoma, Migraines, Gastrointestinal Issues, AIDS, Cancer, Epilepsy, Alcoholism, Arthritis, Anorexia.”
Bowers said the first set of cards reaffirmed the impact of specific strains on different ailments. “It really made people understand and inspired to know more about strains that are good for them,” he said.
BPCC's experienced staff determines strain when growers come into the collective with a fresh crop. A good wholesale buyer can tell a strain from across the room, Bowers said, but bud morphology, smell, and texture also help confirm the strain. Buyers also use data from overseas seed banks like Green House in Amsterdam.
However, strains change over time and location, and growers constantly alter them to gain notoriety, leading to a new problem: the strain names themselves. The counter-culture roots of pot growing in California must now contend with the new mainstream legitimacy of the plant.
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