LA judge bars sales at Venice dispensary

Posted on April 15th, 2010 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

cannabisVenice medical marijuana dispensary Organica Inc was barred by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant April 13 from selling or distributing cannabis, in a ruling that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich hopes will lead to the shutdown of hundreds of clinics across the city. Assistant City Attorney Asha Greenberg said there is no evidence Organica, which had $5.2 million in sales over a 13-month period, was operating as a nonprofit collective.

The ruling bars Organica from operating as a retail outlet selling cannabis to the collective's members. Chalfant ruled that qualified members must perform labor necessary to cultivate and harvest for the group's benefit. "Maybe I am too old, but those of us who grew up in the 1960s know what a collective is," he said.

The suit originally stemmed from complaints that Organica was passing out fliers to Culver City High School students. The store had been raided by police three times, and authorities said they also found psychedelic mushrooms on the premises and on the owner, who was also carrying large amounts of cash. Cannabis bought by undercover agents was improperly labeled in violation of state law, prosecutors asserted.

Some activists remained guardedly optimistic. "It's very troubling but at the same time, all these things they're accusing Organica of are pretty unique to Organica," said Marc Kent of the Green Alliance of Patients and Providers. "This is very remote and highly individual and it has to be looked at on a case-by-case basis." "We strenuously disagree with the reasoning," added Joe Elford, attorney for Americans for Safe Access. "He's hinting that they're making money off of it, but they're not making money off of it."

Trutanich has also filed suits against two Holistic Caregivers dispensaries in South Los Angeles and Hemp Factory V in Eagle Rock. Chalfant ordered a preliminary injunction on Hemp Factory V in January. (AP, Contra Costa Times, April 14)

Photo by the Mad Pothead


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