Skip to comments.Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana set to close Dispensaries (Suckers Believed Obama Promises)
Posted on 12/10/2011 3:34:45 PM PST by PJ-Comix
The Obama administration’s statewide crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries has landed a one-two punch in Marin County.
The Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, the state’s oldest dispensary, has posted a sign at its 6 School St. storefront office in Fairfax announcing that the dispensary will shut down at 9 p.m. Dec. 17. And Medi-Cone, a medical marijiuana collective that was cultivating, harvesting and packaging medical marijuana for several Bay Area dispensaries in West Marin, ceased operations this week due to increased scrutiny by authorities.
Lynnette Shaw, the Alliance’s founder and operator, declined to comment on the advice of her attorney, Richard Halstead reports in the Marin Independent Journal. Shaw did say, however, that if some new organization is created to continue serving the Alliance’s members, she won’t be involved.
“I am out,” Shaw said. “I’m looking for a job right now.”
The sign announcing the closure states, “We will be keeping our phone number … for the future of the new collective organization, without Lynnette.” (Bud’s note: See full text of note at end of story.)
“It’s going to essentially end the Marin Alliance,” said Fairfax Councilman Larry Bragman, “so it’s going to have a pretty devastating impact on the medical marijuana patients’ community. Contrary to common belief there are many patients with many serious medical conditions that rely on the Marin Alliance.”
Closure of the Marin Alliance also will place additional strain on Fairfax’s rickety finances. Town officials have said the dispensary, which is a $1 million-a-year business, is among the town’s top-10 contributors of sales tax revenue.
The Alliance is succumbing to the federal government’s strategy of pressuring its landlord. The Fairfax dispensary was among dozens statewide that federal prosecutors said they targeted due to their proximity to parks, schools and other facilities used by children.
In September, Melinda Haag, the San Francisco-based U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, cautioned Farshid Ezazi of Orinda, the owner of the School Street building, that unless the sale of marijuana was halted at the School Street site within 45 days he could face “criminal prosecution, imprisonment, fines, and forfeiture of assets, including the real property on which the dispensary is operating.”
On Nov. 18, the federal government began the process of confiscating the School Street building, even though Ezazi had already initiated court action to evict the Marin Alliance. On Dec. 2, a Marin Superior Court judge declined a request by the Marin Alliance’s attorney, Peter Goldstone of Santa Rosa, to quash the eviction proceeding.
Robert Weems, Ezazi’s attorney, said the Alliance will need to continue to fight the eviction in court if it intends to continue doing business at the School Street location until Dec. 17. Ezazi has until Dec. 18 to contest the use of drug forfeiture laws to take his property by demonstrating that the Alliance has been evicted.
Medi-Cone, which once supplied marijuana to the Marin Alliance, announced its plans to close this week in a full-page ad in West Coast Leaf, a quarterly newspaper that refers to itself as “the cannabis newspaper of record.”
In making the announcement, George Bianchini, who formerly operated Broadway Video in Fairfax, revealed publicly for the first time that he was founder and chief executive of the collective. Medi-Cone employed more than a dozen people, all members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5. Bianchini said he substituted the closure announcement for a business ad at the last minute.
“This has all come down in the last six days,” he said. “We received information via a letter to one of our customers that Medi-Cone is operating illegally in San Francisco. They interpret the law to say that one collective cannot do business with another collective.”
Bianchini said Medi-Cone was later told that the only way it could continue supplying medical marijuana to its four San Francisco accounts was to pay a yearly fee of $4,000 a year per account.
“I can’t put our union employees, who are all of record, at risk of being arrested,” Bianchini said. “Because some of the threats from the federal government are severe. They’re not messing around.”
Bianchini said he invested $300,000 in Medi-Cone after U.S. Deputy Attorney General David Ogden sent a memo to state attorney generals in October 2009 advising that the sale and use of medical marijuana in states where it’s legal should be a low priority for federal prosecutors.
“Now I feel totally betrayed,” Bianchini said.
Shaw has said previously that she hoped to continue serving the Marin Alliance’s members via a delivery service, if the School Street storefont closed. But Fairfax Town Manager Michael Rock said that is not allowed under the Marin Alliance’s use permit.
“The use permit that we gave her, with all the special conditions attached, requires a physical location, a storefront, or some place from which you are dispensing,” Rock said.
In June, Fairfax adopted an ordinance that would permit a maximum of three dispensaries to operate in town. But potential operators have so far been unable to find a landlord who will lease to them at a location that meets the town’s zoning requirements.
Bragman said he is surprised authorities targeted the Marin Alliance because it “really was the model for a locally-regulated dispensary.”
Full text of note posted at Marin Alliance, as taken from Marin IJ photo:
We are sorry but we must shut down our dispensary. The feds have seriously threatened terrible things if we are less than 1,000 feet from any school, playground or park.
We are in complete compliance with all state and local rules, so it is very unfair.
Our last day is Saturday, December 17, 2011. We will be serving until 9 p.m. that day. Please talk to the staff about our plans.
We will be keeping our phone number (415) 256-9328 for the future of the new collective organization, without Lynnette.”
Thank you for your support for so many years. We love you all very much.
– Lynette Shaw and the M.A.M.M. staff
We should change the whole economy to keep a polar bear from dying too. You are gullible and uninformed. Please don't insult our intelligence further with ignorant anecdotes.
I say legalize it and put the cartels out of business.
After a hard days work legislating laws against the use of marijuana, politicians head to the local pub (alcohol dispensaries) and knock back a few scotch and sodas.
DEA gather at their rally point just before they bust down the door of an apartment with a half ounce of pot, haul everyone to jail, put the kids in CPS custody...then head to the ice house for a few brewski’s.
Alcohol should be illegal. Facts are facts, alcohol is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths over the last decade.
Alcohol is the primary gateway drug in America and has wrecked so many lives.
Emergency rooms are full EVERY single weekend with victims of drunk drivers.
Easiest plants to grow? Sez you! I live in the G-damned Garden State(that’s New Jersey) and could NEVER get the stuff to sprout an inch! Gave up trying and just stuck to booze. Till I had to give that up. Don’t miss either. :-)
Why don't you just kiss my ass church lady? How about that?
You equate a dying person using pot to some far fetched eco nonsense.
You a damned fool hoss.
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