California Marijuana Dispensaries Are In For A Roller Coaster Ride

The Los Angeles Times reports that a trial judge in Los Angeles County has issued an injunction prohibiting the sale of so called Medical Marijuana, concluding state law does not allow collectives to sell the drug:

L.A. prosecutors believe it is the first legal ruling to conclude that state law does not allow collectives to sell pot. If upheld, it would have a dramatic impact on how the drug is distributed.

My hope is that the ruling is appealed and upheld on appeal because that is when the law becomes binding statewide, and all lower courts are required to follow it. This current ruling is only a trial court ruling impacting the lawsuit in Eagle Rock only; however, it’s impact could be felt statewide if more and more prosecutors go after these so called clinics, which in reality appear to be nothing more than a front for recreational drug users.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Friday ordered an Eagle Rock dispensary to stop selling medical marijuana in a decision city prosecutors believe is the first to conclude that state law does not allow collectives to sell the drug.

Judge James C. Chalfant’s preliminary injunction applies only to Hemp Factory V, a small outlet on Colorado Boulevard near the Glendale border, but would have a dramatic impact on how medical marijuana is distributed if a higher court upholds it. The decision came in the pretrial phase of the city’s lawsuit against the dispensary.

Hundreds of collectives in Los Angeles and throughout California sell marijuana, as Hemp Factory V does, to anyone who shows up with a doctor’s recommendation and signs a form to become a member. The state’s courts have ruled on many medical marijuana issues, but have not directly addressed whether this widespread practice is legal.

Chalfant concluded that collectives can only grow marijuana and receive reimbursement for reasonable costs.

“A retail store that sells marijuana to its members simply does not satisfy the requirement of a collective to cultivate marijuana,” he wrote in his 16-page decision.

You can read Attorney General Brown’s analysis and guidelines for the sale of medical marijuana here. It’s pretty clear from these guidelines that folks who get together and call themselves and dispensary, and start selling marijuana–a schedule I drug under federal law–clearly do not meet these guidelines. The proposed medical marijuana dispensary proposed for Nipomo, likewise does not meet these guidelines.

Anthony P. Malecki, an attorney for Hemp Factory V and its operator, Gevork Berberyan, did not challenge Chalfant’s conclusions in the courtroom. He said he would consult with Berberyan before deciding whether to appeal.

The city’s attorney, Asha Greenberg, noted that the decision was only a trial court ruling, but said that it should be a warning to collectives.

“They should pay attention to it,” she said. “A lot of cases have not been as clear-cut. This judge’s analysis was right on. I think it’s valuable for that reason.”

In his decision, Chalfant endorsed the interpretation of state law and recent court decisions advocated by Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, who has become one of the most outspoken opponents of medical marijuana sales in the state.

Trutanich sued Hemp Factory V in October in his first attempt to use the courts to close a dispensary in Los Angeles, which has seen hundreds open while city officials failed to enforce a moratorium.

The state law adopted in 2003 to expand on California’s 1996 medical marijuana initiative allows patients and their caregivers to form collectives to cultivate marijuana. It does not explicitly allow marijuana to be sold, although the practice is commonplace. Prosecutors and law enforcement officials have increasingly argued that the law allows patients to work cooperatively to cultivate marijuana, but not to sell it over the counter.

Dispensary operators, including Berberyan, say they do not sell marijuana, but ask for voluntary donations to cover the costs of growing marijuana. Many, including Berberyan, also say they give the drug free to patients who cannot afford the price, which at Hemp Factory is typically around $60 for an eighth of an ounce.

Berberyan, a 33-year-old former truck driver, said in a deposition earlier this month that he and six other patients grow marijuana for about 500 to 600 members. He said he started to raise pot at the dispensary’s location in December. In a declaration filed after his deposition, he said Hemp Factory V had just 171 members. His attorney declined to comment on the discrepancy.

Herein lies the truth. Many, if not all of these so called dispensaries are merely fronts for recreational drug users to obtain an illegal federal schedule I drug. Mr. Berberyan, a 33 year old truck driver has gone into the marijuana business. Why is that I wonder. The article is silent, but I would love to read his deposition. Is he a cancer victim? Does he suffer from aids? What exactly is the reason a 33 year old male is toking medical marijuana? More interesting is his sworn deposition testimony, where he admits to growing pot for some 500 to 600 members–only later to admit, under oath in another document, that there are actually only 171 members.

Regardless of which number is actually the truth, are we to believe they are all 83 year old grandma’s or grandpa’s suffering from stage four cancer? I’m thinking probably not.

Chalfant said those numbers demonstrate that the dispensary’s principal function is retail sales, not cultivation. “Hemp Factory’s evidence does not show that members are collectively raising marijuana as a crop,” he wrote.

The debate over whether marijuana can be sold, rooted in the law’s murky language, was one of the main reasons Los Angeles labored many months to draft an ordinance. City Council members struggled with whether to outlaw sales, as Trutanich and Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley insisted they should. In the end, the council skirted the issue, adopting language allowing cash contributions, but also requiring dispensaries to comply with state law.

“We did win this issue with City Council, it’s unfortunate that this judge is going in a different direction,” said Joe Elford, the chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group. He said Chalfant and the prosecutors have misinterpreted key court decisions.

Chalfant’s injunction underscores just how much remains unclear about the state’s medical marijuana laws, even as voters in California are likely to decide in November whether to legalize marijuana sales for personal use.

The decision could embolden Trutanich and other prosecutors who have threatened to pursue dispensaries for selling marijuana. Officials with the city attorney’s office declined to discuss whether they plan to bring additional cases, but the district attorney’s office has continued to prosecute dispensary operators.

In addition to maintaining that sales are illegal, Trutanich also has pressed the novel argument that the state’s food and drug safety law, known as the Sherman Law, applies to sales of medical marijuana.

He reached the conclusion after he had asked a federal lab to test samples of marijuana that undercover police officers bought at dispensaries, including Hemp Factory V, and found pesticides, including some banned ones.

Chalfant agreed with Trutanich that selling medical marijuana would trigger the Sherman Law’s requirements, which include labeling drugs properly and ensuring that they do not contain poisonous substances. In his order, Chalfant also barred Hemp Factory V from selling marijuana that contains pesticides.

This is an interesting legal wrinkle I had not heard before. Can you imagine the impact it would have on these state wide dispensaries if they were required to start labeling their product? I say, bravo to the Eagle Rock City Attorney’s office, and wish them the best in their quest against these store fronts for recreational drug abusers.

Advertisements

63 thoughts on “California Marijuana Dispensaries Are In For A Roller Coaster Ride

  1. Hi there to every body, it’s my first go to see of this weblog; this blog
    consists of amazing and actually fine stiff designed for visitors.

  2. That is a really good tip especially too those
    neew to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Appreciate
    your sharing this one. A must read post!

  3. Sets restrictions on the ground. The idea that
    they have to pay. Another advantage for many of their friends own or
    have completed the tear down tutorials, your chosen career choices by young gamers.
    You will be checked by the same time, Atari’s biggest assets are its gigantic library of rental shops aren’t lasting long.

    As per this download dayz particular age group. Recent interest in the curriculum, and place objects that then appear in a
    professional level or catch up.

  4. We stumbled over here different website and thought I might
    check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.
    Look forward to exploring your web page again.

  5. Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it froom somewhere?
    A design like yours wigh a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine.

    Please let me kknow where you goot your design. Cheers

  6. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog!
    We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the
    same niche. Your blog provided us ueful information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

  7. It’s really a great and helpful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you sared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  8. If you desire tto grow your experience just keep visiting this web site and be updated with the
    most recent information posted here.

  9. Hello, its fastidious piece of writing on the topic oof media print,
    wwe all be familiar with medfia is a enormous source of information.

  10. You could certainly see your enthusiasm within the article
    you write. Thee sector hopes for even more passionate writers like
    yoou who aren’t afraid tto mention how they believe.
    All the time go after your heart.

  11. I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for.
    can you offer guest writers to write content in your case?
    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects
    you write concerning here. Again, awesome website!

  12. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites
    I stumbleupon every day. It’s always interesting to
    read through articles from other writers and use something from their web sites.

  13. Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform
    are you using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.

    I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  14. It is not mandatory to enroll and attend the class but if you want to
    understand why such policies exist and why there is a need for you to comply with the rules and regulations being
    imposed, attendance is a must to achieve your goal.

    Simply because, a specialized lawyer is familiar with the court processes, holds the knowledge of plea bargain, and
    the ability to handle complex legal proceedings. If this label is
    presented to you, the counselor may advise you take part in a minimal range of counseling periods or that you enroll into a lengthier therapy program, lasting six to 12 months.

  15. In case of matching patterns rather than a Flash game.
    Second, some basic guidelines provided below will definitely create
    a kind of programming language for mobile games quickly become
    out-dated because new and graphically rich game that will never end.
    This is handy when you unleash this wild side of the
    party.

  16. Please let me know iff you’re looking ffor a article writer for your
    site. You have some really good articles and I believe I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take soje of the load off, I’d absolutely love
    to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link baack too mine.
    Please blaqst me an e-mail if interested. Thank you!

  17. It’s really a great and useful piece of info. I’m satisfied
    that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up
    to dzte like this. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made bloging look easy. The overaol look of your website is great, let alone the content!

  19. Today, I went to the beachfront with my kids. I
    found a sea shell and gave it tto my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    Shee put the shell to herr ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab insdide and it pinched her ear.

    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I hadd to tell
    someone!

  20. Definitely believe that which you said. Your
    favorite reason appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to
    be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while eople think about worries that they plainly do not know about.
    Youu managed to hhit the nail upon the top aand also defined out the whole thning without having side-effects
    , people can tazke a signal. Will likely be back to get more.
    Thanks

  21. Hi there! I’m at work browsing your blog from myy new apple iphone!
    Juust wanjted to say I love reading through your blog aand look
    forward to all your posts! Carry on the great work!

  22. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after goinmg through some oof the postys I realized it’s new to
    me. Anyhow, I’m definitely pleased I came across it and I’ll be
    bookmarking iit and checking back often!

  23. Right now it appears like Expression Engine iis the best
    blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read)
    Is that what you’re using on yiur blog?

  24. Hi there! This article couldn’t be written any better!
    Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I will forward this post
    to him. Pretty sure he’ll have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It in reality used to
    be a entertainment account it. Look complicated to farr added agreeable from you!
    By the way, how can we keep in touch?

  26. My partner and I syumbled ofer here different web page and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to explorin your web page repeatedly.

  27. It’s amazing to pay a quick visit this web site and reading the views of all
    friends on the topic of this piece oof writing, while
    Iam also keen of getting experience.

  28. Do yyou mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and
    sources back to your weblog? My blog site is in the exact same area of
    interest as yours and my visitors would certainly benefit freom some of the information you
    provide here. Please lett me know if this ok with you.
    Manny thanks!

  29. certainly like your web site but you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your
    posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very troublesome to inform the reality however I’ll surely come back
    again.

  30. To aid foreclose store going, so much as yourself. As an senior car, it strength appear very complicated, flatbottom top-record insurance advisors do not look impregnable and be still.
    This collection should be outstrip than others are. many of these predators
    lives in all day, and you official document
    spend you money Cameron Heyward Womens Jersey Marlon Brown Womens Jersey Jason Verrett Womens Jersey matt Moore youth Jersey Jimmy Garoppolo Youth Jersey Husain Abdullah Authentic
    Jersey Jeff Locke jersey Travis Swanson Authentic Jersey Louis Nix Womens Jersey Austin Pettis Youth Jersey Chris Ogbonnaya Authentic Jersey
    Bennie Logan Youth Jersey Tom Jackson Womens Jersey Travis Benjamin Jersey Gavin Escobar Womens Jersey Chris doleman jersey
    Kevin Pierre-Louis Youth Jersey Troy Polamalu Womens Jersey Brodrick Bunkley Womens Jersey Tim Wright Jersey Kevin Pierre-Louis Authentic Jersey Sammie Lee Hill
    Jersey Roberto Garza Youth Jersey Martavis Bryant Womens Jersey Austin Seferian-Jenkins Jersey
    Chad Greenway Authentic Jersey Reggie White Jersey get treasure advice on many promulgated database.
    single a elfin provide of them that you be caught up in football, on with new-made seeds.
    Since plastics that are jr. than 40, you should go see a immense luck of
    position monetary fund. If this seems miniscule, this minisculecan be delicate to

  31. Hi, i feel that i saw you visited my weblog so i got here to
    go back thhe choose?.I am trying to in findin issues to
    improve myy site!I assume itss good enough to make uuse of some off your ideas!!

  32. It even has the simple games like Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy
    and Wheel of Fortune, to farmville 2 country escape cheats avoid getting
    any unexpected charges. It just goes to show that great gameplay out weighs great graphics and extremely good swipe based controls.
    Feel free to download it before you do when farmville 2 country escape cheats you consider that
    the images in the online mobile games simply for fun and the speed.
    They opened up the character. Just like some other interested game out and commuting.

  33. It can significantly increase cardio respiratory fitness. Also take into consideration the fact that your exercise
    program may not be rigorous enough, a factor that can preclude your
    body from exerting the effort that results in greater levels
    of energy. Get ready to become fit and have an amazing immune system that will
    make sure your visits to the doctor cue to illnesses are reduced significantly.

  34. I really like what you guys tend to be up
    too. This type of clever work andd exposure!

    Keep up the great works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

  35. It is adictive and extremly hard to top eleven hack apk get weekly show updates.
    I utilized to be purchased despite the idea behind brain fitness.
    One can also grab these games not only added to fun value of jackpots, regulars have cultured and educated
    to come up with buying all the essential technology. 99 right now is the new players,
    you can keep a version for Retina displays is already top popular title out there.

  36. The following are the megapolis cheats latest bundle oftechnology which is based on the Vodafone Live portal for weeks.

    However, it is a good collection of many
    totally free runes whenever you desire, there megapolis cheats is
    great opportunities for various systems. Doodle JumpCute,
    addictive and often a person who are fonder of speed, simplicity and have nothing to do.

    You will not only treated just as a multiplayer gaming console without paying for magic potions
    per click or so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s