City Beat: Dispensaries raided for acting like for-profit businesses

by on September 10, 2009 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Health

September 9, 2009 – 9:22 pm — Eric Wolff
The police raids on numerous San Diego County medical marijuana dispensaries that took place throughout the afternoon are the culmination of a five-month investigation, CityBeat has learned. A law enforcement source close to the operation and familiar with the details told CityBeat the investigation revealed that many of the marijuana collectives and co-ops were functioning as for-profit businesses, and thus lost the protection granted to them by voters under Proposition 215 in 1996.

Since February’s announcement by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that the Drug Enforcement Administration would not be raiding marijuana dispensaries, California has seen explosive growth in new storefront marijuana collectives and co-ops. They are governed by guidelines (PDF) laid out by California Attorney General Jerry Brown last year. Brown’s rules use precedent set by the courts and the language of Prop. 215 to define ways in which patients and primary caregivers can band together to grow marijuana, and thus take advantage of economies of scale. But Brown’s guidelines are also very specific, stating that a dispensary under whatever legal form it takes cannot operate as a for-profit business. In the final paragraph, the guidelines lay out some indicators of for-profit operations for law enforcement:

“When investigating collectives or cooperatives, law enforcement officers should be alert for signs of mass production or illegal sales, including (a) excessive amounts of marijuana, (b) excessive amounts of cash, (c) failure to follow local and state laws applicable to similar businesses, such as maintenance of any required licenses and payment of any required taxes, including sales taxes, (d) weapons, (e) illicit drugs, (f) purchases from, or sales or distribution to, non-members, or (g) distribution outside of California.” for the rest of the story go here

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Shawn Conrad September 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Still getting my card to join the fight. I am not scared.

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avatar Wireless Mike September 10, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Did anybody not see this coming? Our county government officials didn’t get their way in court, but this shows they aren’t giving up their fight against medical marijuana. Remember this incident when county officials come up for reelection.

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avatar joe vargo September 10, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I hope this rag isn’t restricted to ob res., Joe near SDSU chiming in. I’m tired of the DA selecting who wins and looses. Your sworn to uphold the law, not selective interpretations. I don’t smoke any more, but what the fuck does that have to do with it. I went to the DA website the other day, Bonnie is releasing press releases about legislation affecting her budget. It’s all about the budget. If she doesn’t get funding were all going to have lawlessness. I’m tired of the sheepherders telling me where I can graze.

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avatar Patty Jones September 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm

Not many restrictions here Joe, welcome to ya!

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avatar lane tobias September 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm

joe – well said.

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avatar Dave Gilbert September 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I would hope that our current D.A. will be a champion for Gay & Lesbian rights rather than the direction she’s been going.

God made weed, so let’s move forward as a society. We legalize it, tax it and let the non-violent pot offenders out of our overcrowded prison system.

What’s so hard to understand about that?

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avatar Shawn Conrad September 11, 2009 at 11:33 am

I have been following the stories and comments of the raids. They are after the folks that are selling to everyone, and selling clothing apparel for profit.

They are in no way targeting patients.

I aspire to have my picture taken, holding my medicine, with a cop ASAP after getting licensed.

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avatar Ryan September 13, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Here is the problem Shawn, how does a cop determine who is selling legitimately and who is not? I happen to know one of the people arrested because I used to buy from him. Once he opened a shop though he refused to sell to me, a close friend of 5+ years, until I had gotten a prescription. To believe the cops premise I would have to believe that my friend, who has held my hand in the hospital before going into surgery, would sell to a random stranger illegally yet would not sell to me illegally. Not going to happen. As with just about everything, this is nothing more than one of a million + examples of how cops are willing to lie through their teeth every single day to justify their jobs. In my personal experience, this is more about the cops protecting their personal turf and kickbacks from illegal dealers then it is about reigning in scofflaw medicine peddlers. Its a competitive market and unfortunately when the market is illegal, the enforcement tools are guns and cops instead of lawyers and courts.

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avatar Shawn Conrad September 14, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Ryan,

What were the charges if you do not mind me asking? If your friend had teh corect amount of medicine and dollars he would be within the legal limits. However, too much medicine and to much money lying around causes issues. I am just trying to understand better what your friend got in trouble for.

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