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