MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Cities take action to shut down remaining clinics

MEDICAL MARIJUANA: Cities take action to shut down remaining clinics
By Christopher R Rice Underground America Inc.

Authorities in California cities and counties have begun shutting medical marijuana dispensary stores and assessing hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees, penalties and costs, ahead of full legalization in January 2018.

San Bernardino officials began the first of several raids aiming to shut down the remaining storefronts in the city, authorities confiscated 30 pounds of pot and cited four people for operating a marijuana business, City Attorney James Penman said.

Murrieta officials said they are considering drafting an ordinance modeled after the one in Riverside. There is nothing in California’s medical marijuana laws that prevents local governments from banning dispensaries.

Storefronts or other types of dispensaries that remain open face an array of legal maneuvers to shut them down, authorities said: contempt-of-court citations with fines, warranted seizure of produce and goods in the stores along with possible arrest and jail time; $1,000-per-day penalties; misdemeanor nuisance violation charges; and asset forfeiture letters from the U.S. attorneys office.

James De Aguilera, a Redlands attorney who said he has represented in court or advised about 100 medical marijuana dispensary clients, said he is recommending the collectives end dispensing on the sites.

Riverside City Attorney Greg Priamos said his office was trying to shut down the 10 dispensaries that remained open in the city; 56 had been shut down already.

Priamos said he was seeking cooperative action from the U.S. attorney€™s office, to send letters that inform property owners who lease to the clinics that marijuana sales are in violation of federal law, and their property is subject to possible asset seizure.

Priamos said assessments were underway for hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, police investigation costs and other expenses than can be attached to the litigation to shut down the dispensaries.


In San Bernardino, 30 still-operating dispensaries were served with notices to close. For each subsequent day a clinic remains open, it faces a $1,000 fine, said Penman, the city attorney.

17 had voluntarily shuttered.

San Bernardino police raided a dispensary in the 3200 block of North E Street called the e Street Collective. The undercover narcotics task force and city attorney investigators shut it down and arrested four people on misdemeanor citations of operating a marijuana business, Penman said.

Inside the store, police seized 30 pounds of marijuana, including 80 growing plants. Police also found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and more than $9,000 cash, Penman said.

A clinic in the 3900 block of Sierra Way was empty, except for an ATM machine, when personnel got there, Penman said.

Signs at both shops were removed or painted over, and ATMs were removed from both locations.

We're treating these businesses as illegal drug houses and drug businesses, Penman said. What we hope to find today and every day is that these stores have closed. Our goal is to shut everyone down by citing them for code enforcement and other violations.


Other cities have banned medical marijuana including Hemet, Redlands, Banning, Moreno Valley, Norco, Corona, Temecula and Upland, plus Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Palm Springs is the only city in Riverside County that allows medical marijuana facilities, but officials shut down those operating without a permit. Three dispensaries are operating legally in Palm Springs, and a permit application is pending for a fourth authorized storefront.

Murrieta was actually the first city in Riverside County to ban dispensaries.



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