Paul Wellman (file)

Dope Days Are Over?

In Wake of Federal Raids, Santa Barbara Dispensaries Face Uncertain Future

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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It has been two weeks since federal agents, working in concert with local authorities, raided three different medical marijuana outfits on the South Coast and contacted landlords for 10 other operations in the area threatening property forfeiture lawsuits. Though no arrests were made during the sweeps, the efforts seem to have had their desired effect on Santa Barbara’s once blooming and booming dispensary landscape as the majority of clubs operating from Summerland to Goleta (a number that fluctuates from five to 12 depending on who you ask or how you define dispensary) have since shuttered their storefronts or simply stopped accepting new patients as they work to sell off back stock in anticipation of closing down later this month. Noting the initial success of their recent raids, Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesperson Thom Mrozek explained this week, “We certainly seem to have got the attention of people in the industry, and at least right now, our strategy appears to be working across our region.”

Raids and letter-writing campaigns are nothing new in the federal government’s war on medical marijuana in Santa Barbara. Multiple times in the past five years, folks from the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have been part of raids as well as outreach to property owners who rent to clubs or dispensary-affiliated grow houses, the communication — both via letter and actual face-to-face meetings — essentially informing landlords that they are violating federal law by renting to these cannabis businesses and thus at risk of possibly having their property seized via a forfeiture lawsuit. Despite these sporadic efforts, as well as a baker’s dozen or so of raids and associated arrests (and convictions) by Santa Barbara Police and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s departments, several clubs, including a few of those on the wrong end of the raids, have remained operational. After all, thanks to 1996’s state Proposition 215 (aka the Compassionate Use Act) and 2003’s State Senate Bill 420, medical marijuana, though very much plagued by confusing and incomplete regulatory guidelines, is perfectly legal under state law in California for patients who have a note from their doctor.

This time around, however, it appears that the federal efforts have worked to shut down the dispensaries or, at the very least, get them to go underground. An informal survey of clubs in Santa Barbara County by The Santa Barbara Independent this week indicated that the businesses were either closed, on their way to being closed due their landlord giving them notice to vacate, exploring delivery service options, or just not commenting on the situation whatsoever. As the owner of one recently shuttered club opined anonymously, “It was a perfect storm: raids (not on us), actual lawsuits filed, and then a letter to my landlord that same week threatening basically the same thing — it is pretty hard to stay open after all that.”

According to Mrozek, the raids were anything but unexpected. Pointing to a press conference last October in which all four U.S. Attorneys from around California formally announced their coordinated plans to crack down on the medical cannabis industry, Mrozek explained that the Santa Barbara actions were simply the latest chapter in those ongoing efforts. “We are moving forward with our basic strategy of letters, lawsuits, raids, and in some cases, criminal charges,” summed up Mrozek Monday afternoon. “What happened 10 days ago was that we got to Santa Barbara County.” Mrozek added that, as far as his region is concerned, which covers seven counties from San Luis Obispo to Orange County, the Santa Barbara raids were the “fourth wave” of activity, coming after prior raids and letters in Orange and Riverside, as well as seven forfeiture lawsuits (more than half of which have already been settled) from those same areas. More sweeps are sure to follow, he said, especially in Los Angeles.

Of course, even without the increased federal heat, clubs operating within the City of Santa Barbara have been facing ever more stringent rules and regulations since the City Council adopted its Medical Marijuana Dispensaries ordinance nearly two years ago. One part of those rules — which also limit the total number of clubs in S.B. to three — is that a dispensary will lose its legal nonconforming status should it be closed for 30 or more days, a fact that is certainly on the minds of the owners and operators currently closing their doors or simply laying low until this latest round of trouble blows over. As for the potential of clubs to convert to delivery service from the typical brick-and-mortar operation, City Attorney Steve Wiley opined this week rather emphatically that such activity, in his current interpretation of the law and various court rulings, was illegal under both state and, obviously, federal law. Instead, he figured that operators on the South Coast were probably headed underground in the coming weeks, “kind of like prohibition in the 1920s,” he said.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

And we all remember how well prohibition worked...

Welcome back drug dealers! Welcome back gangs! Welcome back crime! Welcome back violence!

Meanwhile in Mexico, the drug cartels forecast profits for 2012 going up! And we all know what that means - more headless bodies littering the roads! Sweet!

This issue is as obviously as allowing gays to marry, yet there are still clueless morons who oppose it, and who always will. Money and ignorance rule the day once again..

bronc (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 1:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Federal Agents, in a recession, with far too much funding, and with the our local SBDP and the SBSD apparently, all with nothing better to do. Are these raids staged while having corporate cocktails over at a local paradise lounge. So who, whom or what is pushing these raids? Names please.

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 5:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is the California State Law as it reads to the Public;
I believe the Federal Government sees the whole aspect of Medical Marijana as "High Times" and not medical but the Law is ambiguous in its rules of dispensing but I degress.
Unless someone knows the website for our Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, I didn't get to read much regarding their approach to this issue of Dispensing Medical Marijuana. My approach (if I were to open a dispensary) would be to open it as a Medical facility and not a Pot-Shop. The public's view of these dispensaries is that they promote illegal drug dealing and not a State approved and regulated pharmaceutical for marijuana. Why is promoting a Marijuana dispensary to the public important, to keep the Law from closing down such dispensaries but also to operate an integrity motivated dispensary that is legal in all its operations.
Operate a Medical Marijuana Dispensary from a medical standpoint rather than a Pot-Shop, keep it sterile, professional and grow the product under strict secuirty and parameters dictated by the State law. This means strict and through background checks of all workers, accounting of all marijuana products and records in triplicate for the State, the dispensary and the Police. I would either be a medical professional with degrees or a Facility (dispensary) manager and degreed with State certified and permitted. The shop would be that of a doctors office and the consumption of the marijuana would be conducted in a ventilation recycling and airscrubber room, this way the smoke (if in the marijuana is in its natural form) would be disposed without dispersed into the atmosphere giving others a contact high. These rooms would be individual and mandatorialy cleaned and disinfected after every use, inspected and approved by the qualified staff. Requirements (since the state is ambigious in dictating the parameters of the dispensaries) would be several years of training and certification in pharmaceutical distibution as a pharmacist. The background would have to be through and approved by the same standards as the state requires for all pharmacist. plus a contract of personal responsiblity; signed andd dated each year. The purchase of the product (marijuana) would be from a state regulated facility or from the dispenaries own operated and regulated facility with strict HTC growth parameters and havesting procedures, NO purchasing from local growers or out of County or State growers esp., from out of Country. These dispenaries grown facilities would be in warehouse controlled environments, within strict secure controls and to maintain a record of planting, care and harvesting and by who, with signatures and dates and times.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 7:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Under NO circumstance are any employees allowed to partake in the product and random / manditory testing will be conducted weekly, with all testing to be documented. For the farmers of the product, chemical hazard suites w/ rubber gloves and shoe booties plus gas masks will be used when planting, caring and harvesting the product and the farm (where the product is grown) and the common area will be inspected by the health inspector of the facility and the farmers work wear.
Many of you would see this as Draconian but with the conflict between State and Federal regulations and the ambigous nature of the state law with regards to growth and dispensary legalities, its best to err on the side of strict operation rather than to run the risk of Legal raid and shutdown, also from a corporational standpoint, managing the facility like a Doctors office and phamacy rather than a Pot-Shop, disfuses the misconceptions that Illegal operations are being conducted; at least this would be my method of operating a Medical Marijuana Dispensary.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 7:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)


No. Your model is not the answer.

This medicinal plant grows all over the world and has been used safely by many for centuries.

No sterile" delivery systems with layers of beaurocracy needed or wanted.

I am not a criminal. Leave me alone to do what I want in peace and quiet in my own home.

Let me have safe access to this medicinal herb via regulated, trusted store front dispensaries...just like we voted to do in November 2010 when we defeated measure T. Those who voted in the city of SB made it clear we wanted safe access and to keep the dispensaries.

Does the mayor, DA, city council not listen to its voters and citizens?

sez_me (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 8:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, but weren't these "medical" mary jane dispensaries being abused by many random non medical people? I heard there was a Doctor in town you could flat out give $100 and he would give you a "medical" card, no questions asked. I don't think this was just in this town, but the whole scene turned into a big money making get rich quick scheme that was out of control, and sure enough, it got reined back in. How much reefer does one person need? This whole medical thing became a farce and an excuse for every stoner to get baked. Grow your own and chill out.

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 9:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you Obama, I will be sure to remember you in the polls.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 10:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Dope days are over, incarceration times here we go, time to fill these jails up to 1000 times over capacity so we can get more of them built.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 10:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 10:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is what happens when you got people equating pot to drugs like smack, meth, coke/crack, shrooms & acid.
The attempt here is to make "across the board" laws that will lead to prohibition in the same manner: Across the board.
This is your federal government @ work here, to hell w/ state's rights or what the people voted for, fed mandate trumps state's rights.
It doesn't take right wing conservative nuts in power to push the fed mandate, plenty of left wing liberal loons in pwer as well to lend a hand on quashing what is a good thing.
Look @ it this way: If the state can't make a profit from the sales of pot they'll create laws (based on frederal mandate) that will fill those coffers up w/ fines.
Medicinal or not, pot is a little problem to contend w/ if legalized. It is when you make it a prohibited substance that the REAL problems (jail overcrowding, gangs, illegal immigration, environmental destruction, bad economy, etc.) grow out of control :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is a little list of losses to the community by closing only one collective:

Legal Medical Marijuana patients, lose safe and dignified access.

Eight employees laid off.

Eight families lost health insurance.

Community lost $150,000 in sales taxes per year.

Community lost $150,000 in payroll taxes per year.

Eight families lost health insurance.

I guess the city government will need to lay off the Distrct Attorney who is responsible for calling up the DOJ to get all these bad guys with a 45 cent stamp. Seems he lost all the money to pay himself.

4justice (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 3:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank goodness the US Federal Government decided to enforce the laws voted by our Congress and signed into law by our President. If you want to change the law elect a Congress and a President that will pass the changes. No one should be allowed to ignore the laws just because they don't agree with them.

Carpeterian (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 3:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Is Joyce Dudley starting her reelection campaign early with this?

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 4:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

[Taking a break from singing D I N O S A you R a dinosaur (ke$ha)] to tell Carpeterian, You are out of touch.

You are out of touch with the 66% of Santa Barbarans who voted to maintain safe access to medical cannabis via the store front dispensaries.

You are out of touch with the majority of the population of the US who think pot is no big deal, medical or not.

sez_me (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 5:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't follow your question, John_Adams:

"Is Joyce Dudley starting her reelection campaign early with this?"

How is Dudley involved with any of the activity described in this news report?

binky (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 5:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Anybody and everybody who supports this insanity called a "Drug War" is responsible, and it cuts across party lines. So far the only elected officials I've seen publicly stand up against this latest attack is Nancy Pelosi. Has Lois Capps said anything?
Local incumbents up for re/election that have supported this disgrace include Salud Carbajal and Joni Gray.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 7:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@sez_me: You are so right! I am a nearly 50 year old, female, 3 time cancer SURVIVOR! The insensitive opponents of Medicinal Marijuana Dispensaries (both Federal and State wide) have never seen one of their LOVED ones suffer through the side effects of chemotherapy! They have never witnessed the relentless vomiting and pain that begins to start immediately after leaving a chemotherapy facility! These insensitive "Holier than Thou" know nothings have never watched someone they love call out in agony, pleading to God to make THIS go away! I challenge every opponent to go to your local Cancer Institute, Cancer Care Facility, Chemo Facility or HOSPICE CARE Facility.... WATCH the suffering that these people endure! Stay there, hold their hands, comfort them, AND then and ONLY THEN will you realize that medicinal marijuana does NOT promote crime, devaluation of commercial property, deface neighborhoods, or cause the American way of life to be compromised! The current Federal laws are archaic! Those laws do NOT represent or encourage the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness! This Federal Law strangles those of us with the want and will to live! This same law forces me, a Law Abiding Citizen of this great State of CA and of the United States of America to turn to the very avenue of illegal distribution they are trying to prevent! I need MY MEDICINE! Yes, Medicine! And don't ask me to grow my own!!! I am NOT a horticulturist! I have never been able to keep a house plant, ANY house plant longer than the 90 days of life guaranteed by the florist, or nursery! I can only imagine the education needed to supply quality medicinal marijuana to those of us in need! If you need your pants hemmed or your hair cut, I'm your girl! I need my medicine grown by a professional, who, like me, has the best interest of his clients first and foremost! I will be checking back in shortly! I invite all thoughts and feelings about my post!

cancerpatient010110 (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 8:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I care for a cancer patient, surviving thankfully. Anything or anyone that makes life the least bit harder or more stressful for someone battling cancer is, in my humble opinion- someone who should be ashamed if not shunned. And to do so for political or economic gain, well I guess thats's why we've fought a few "wars" haven't we..

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 8:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

prohibition made criminals out of everyday people. it still does.

GluteousMaximus (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 8:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@ Ken and GluteousMaximus: Thank you for your posts and support! We really need to fix this inequity we are facing! God willing, I have A LOT more fight in me! Please, can we brain storm this situation and ACTUALLY do something about it? Lately, besides concentrating on my survival, "I got nothing but time!" Let's unite our time and dedication to this most honorable cause! Are you both in? <3<3

cancerpatient010110 (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 8:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"medical marijuana is far more popular than Obama is" -Rob Kampia MPP.
Here is your solution, especially in an election year. Politicians want to be "re-hired" and this issue is becoming a particularly important one, time to strike while the iron is hot, by either contacting your reps, senators, or donating to MPP or NORML which have been at the forefront of this battle, they also have ways to get you involved if you would like.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 10:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Carpeterian: You mean that people should not have defied segregation laws? Jim Crow? Ride in the back of the bus? Laws are not necessarily congruent with morality and ethics. In order to bring law into accordance with what is we feel is "right" we must in some cases defy law. (e.g. Montgomery, AL).

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@AZ2SB: Thanks for the comments. We encourage everyone to post their ideas, solutions, changes and ideas! This is NOT an issue soon to retire! We all will be fighting this fight for years! So, Don't give up, Don't surrender your power! This fight is bigger than we are individually! This fight is for all of US, all of us who have been diagnosed and endured! All of Us who WILL BE diagnosed and persevere! ALL of us who have a loved one, who will or has been diagnosed! This FIGHT is for ALL of US! No one will be left unattended... We need to unite, here and now! We need to grab each other's hands and walk calmly, surely, confidently into the eye of the storm! We need to band together and make a difference in this crazy world! We all need to fight this fight, TOGETHER! Thank you all for your love and support! With our dedication, strength and confidence... CHANGES WILL BE MADE! Stay strong, stay dedicated.... our love and determination will never falter! <3<3<3<3

cancerpatient010110 (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:20 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I don't intend to argue the ethical and moral issues surrounding marijuana and more specifically medical marijuana. Most of us have come to conclusions on whether marijuana use is unethical or immoral. We may also have differing opinions on whether using marijuana crosses those boundaries based on intended use, i.e. whether it is befor recreational or medical use. This is a long drawn out argument that has been played out thousands of times in countless forums. But what is currently a more import issue here is whether in California marijuana can be “sold” legally to medical marijuana patients with valid doctor provided recommendations and whether these transactions can be conducted within the confines of a dispensary. Another subject I do not want to address here is the federal vs state rights issue due to the much wider breadth of those arguments. I will leave that to the constitutional experts. But I will say that there are now 16 states which have legislation on the books regarding medical marijuana and who's populace or legislators have come to the conclusion that they can regulate these issues despite potential federal illegalities. I would say this fact presents some evidence that it is not such a cut and dry issue.

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

First, regarding the contention that dispensaries only provide marijuana to young healthy people and not the sick and dying, it is widely known that many doctors will indeed provide recommendations to young healthy people with scratched fingers resulting from yesterday's frisbee golf game. Doctors may do this for financial gain or for personal ideology. My intuition tells me it is probably both. However, the dispensaries cannot and should not be penalized for this. As long as doctors have the discretion, they are the only ones who can decide who can walk into a dispensary and obtain medical marijuana. Dispensaries are not qualified to make the medical determination of whether someone should use marijuana for medical purposes. It is absolutely unfair to punish the sick and dying because doctors engage in these practices. Despite the fact that young healthy people may frequent dispensaries it is true that very sick and often dying individuals also use and rely on the services provided to them by dispensaries. And when you shut down a dispensary it clearly limits access to the sick and dying whether intended to do so or not. It is to ridiculous suggest that people who are sick and dying should just then “collectively” participate in the harsh physical labor required to grow marijuana. It is a fact that it cost money to grow marijuana. It requires physically difficult work, expertise, capital and a willingness to risk being prosecuted by a legal system run by people who are willing to leverage the system against individuals even where the legalities are gray. I suppose law enforcement in many cases does this out of the convictions arising from their personal beliefs and morals. For whatever reason the result is many lives become ruined, whether by the prevention of access to medical marijuana, arrest, prosecution, job loss, financial strain, stress on relationships and family, loss of custody of children, character assassination, slander, humiliation etc.

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We all know that DEA has come into town on their federal high horses with the intent to close every dispensary and marijuana grow in the county. They have done so with Cam Sanchez's blessing and most likely at his specific request. Cam and the SBPD have recently determined through “thorough investigations” that every dispensary in the city is knowingly operating outside of the law because they are engaging in retail sales for a profit, which in their words is clearly illegal under state law. It is interesting that after almost ten years of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the open within the city of Santa Barbara that they have just now reached this all but obvious conclusion. It is also interesting that city police and city officials have often toured and vetted these facilities to the extent that they have even engaged in the process of permitting them. Where were the police during those city council hearings? Where was the DA? I don't seem to recall that Cam Sanchez ever came into one of those hearings to say to City Council, “hey, you are permitting organizations that are clearly breaking California law to operate with your blessing”. Would it not have been his obligation to do so?

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What if I were to tell you that it is not “clearly” illegal? That what law enforcement calls “profit” is most likely just salary and pay compensation that employees receive for their work; you know, that stuff most of us get when we commit our resources to organizations in exchange for other resources? Apparently, the common and popular view among anti dispensary law enforcement community is that any compensation constitutes profit. This is an absurd declaration. Even people who work for organizations like Direct Relief and the Ocean Futures Society, which are registered non-profits, receive compensation and in some cases in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Employees which are paid salary know what to expect every month or so in compensation and that pay neither increases nor decreases based on the immediate performance of the organization. Profit, on the other hand, can be defined as a “financial benefit that is realized when the amount of revenue gained from a business activity exceeds the expenses, costs and taxes needed to sustain the activity. Any profit that is gained goes to the business's owners, who may or may not decide to spend it on the business.” It is not defined as salary and compensation which actually fall under operational costs on an Income statement. Thus, the accusation of profiteering needs to be grounded on fact of compensation resulting from the varying performance of the organization over time and represented through equity interest.

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The fact that money is changing hands does not in it of itself establish that an organization is “profiting”. Otherwise, most American non-profits would be criminally liable for almost all participate in the exchange of currency. This leads us to the next point of contention. Our local police, being legal experts in California's medical marijuana legislation, have engaged in multiple swat style raids and arrests based on a very weak legal argument, which presumes that every single dispensary in the state of California is inherently illegal due to the fact that exchanges of money for medical marijuana occur within them (i.e. retail sales).

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The argument that sales in California are clearly illegal is so hollow that even a local judge publicly disagreed with that assertion during a recent dispensary case. To paraphrase, Judge Brian Hill stated that it is clear that transactions where marijuana is exchanged for money does not void the protections afforded by Prop 215 and SB420. There are also no solid published court cases at the supreme court level establishing precedence to the contrary. In addition, while Governor Brown was still the Attorney General of the great State of California he issued guidelines for compliance. Within those guidelines he stipulated that California dispensaries must obtain a sales tax account with the Board of Equalization. Having a sales tax account inherently implies that “SALES” occur and are taxable. In court, police and DA's often counter this argument by emphasizing that the guidelines are only the legal opinion of the Attorney General and not law. They are correct in this assertion. But despite the fact that the guidelines are not law, they are the opinion of the state's most prominent law enforcement official about what the law actually is. How are we, as normal citizens, expected to come to a more correct conclusion about the law and be held to account in cases when we supposedly don't comply? I am not a lawyer, thus, I do depend on and consider to be mostly truthful the official statements made by government and senior law enforcement officials. This includes statements issued by the federal government such as the Ogden memo.

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now, one thing that is clear is that the laws surrounding medical marijuana in California are in fact not clear. It seems logical that where these vagaries exist there should be legislation enacted to provide clarity. And you would think that because the laws regarding medical marijuana are vague and not clear that police would have the ethical obligation to not throw individuals into the justice system based on flimsy legal arguments. But indeed police are fervently arresting individuals and throwing them into the abyss of the justice system in order to try and force their preferred version of legal precedence through the courts. The result of police actions is the of destruction of the lives of community members they are supposed to represent and protect. Again, one would think that law enforcement including District Attorneys would also be familiar with the void for vagueness legal concept. It is a legal concept in American constitutional law that states that a given statute is void and unenforceable if it is too vague for the average citizen to understand. There are several ways, senses or reasons a statute might be considered vague. In general, a statute might be called void for vagueness reasons when an average citizen cannot generally determine what persons are regulated, what conduct is prohibited, or what punishment may be imposed (wikipedia). I would say this clearly applies to the vagueness of California Medical Marijuana laws.

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now back to our local officials. In his paternal moral stewardship of the community Cam Sanchez has taken it upon himself to nullify the voters of the City of Santa Barbara. When our community overwhelmingly voted Measure T down we sent a strong message to our officials. That message was that we believed that dispensaries should be allowed to exist and operate within the city. Most of us also agree with the use of marijuana for medical purposes and we agree that there needs to be easy, safe and reliable access to that marijuana. Unfortunately, our employees at the police department don't feel the need to honor our community mandates despite the fact that they are paid by us to do exactly just that. Instead they prefer to arrest and slander the good names of citizens by ridiculously overcharging and attaching $1million bail schedules. Is this just part of a politically motivated campaign intended to manipulate public perception? The rhetoric always seems to paint dispensary operators and employess as “bad” people who take advantage of “sick” people; for whom the police obviously have a new and keen interest to protect. So is implication that “sick” people need to be protected from dispensaries? You mean the only place they can obtain the medical marijuana they need? By closing down dispensaries police are protecting the “sick”? What sort of nonsensical logic is that?

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now, to add insult to injury they have used our tax dollars in the costly effort to investigate, raid and prosecute those who were arrested. SBPD investigators are also so thorough that they raided the wrong person's house. Jeff Restivo was arrested over two years ago for possession with intent to sell (i.e. managing a dispensary). Subsequent to his arrest two years ago he relinquished his interest in the continuing operations of Pacific Coast Collective. Jeff has had nothing to do with PCC since his arrest and there is no evidence which suggest otherwise. However, officers noted that his name was still listed under the PCC legal entity on the Secretary of State's website, which was filed PREVIOUS to his arrest. Due to this fact, investigators felt there was sufficient evidence to utilize our tax dollars to raid Jeff's house 2 days before Jeff was scheduled to settle in court with the DA's office regarding his felony case. It should also be noted that they took nothing from his home or cars, because there was no evidence there to find; because he isn't/hasn't been involved with PCC. It was also a publicly known fact that Brian Cota, the prosecutor in the case, was quoted as having the intent to settle the case in an Independent article. Also, according to the search warrant Det. Shawn Hill (the anti dispensary hero) observed Jeff Restivo pull up to his residence in a car registered to Jeff. Apparently, driving home in your own car infers that that you must be selling marijuana and was, thus, justification for the raid of his residence and vehicles.

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now after the fear of federal prosecution settles in, Jeff will have no choice but to accept whatever deal the DA offers. To me that is analogous to blackmail and does not reflect the sort of ethical fortitude we expect from our law enforcement officials. And, to my knowledge this is not the first time the DA and the police have used federal prosecution as a threat, thereby, all but forcing defendants into accepting plea deals. None of the local dispensary cases have made it to trial probably for that very reason. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Mr. Restivo is a witness for the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the city for damages resulting from the brutal beating of Tony Denuzio by an SBPD officer. I suppose this raid counts as one hell of a cross examination. But this must all just be coincidence. I am sorry this was so lengthy, but apparently no one has had the courage to do some real research and investigative journalism. All the public hears are the slanted versions the SBPD puts out in its press releases which are summarily published by the press without any sort of scrutiny. No one is presenting the other side of the coin and as we well know there are always two sides to a story.

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 16, 2012 at 11:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

why do you care wolverine. you are moving out of here, remember?

to a place where naturally talented musicians and actors fall out of the womb, and where nobody rents, and where perpetually angry people are welcomed...spittle and all.

citizenx...what you said.

the fed loves to throw money down the long drop.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Or let the drug dealers from LA move to SB and bring the crime and problems from that area to your family, because it was too much for you to bear to have a legitimate storefront.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 8:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you Citizen X for letting everyone else know exactly how crooked the police have become in this matter, after all there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in 'Drug War' funding here on the line, which is why its being done. I guess the Policeman's Ball is not enough anymore.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 8:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Some seriously ignorant comments here...

The reality is that a few profiteers ruined this for all. A few people who used the protection (not the intent) of the law for their own financial gain. It was out of control and it was bound to come to an end.

The irony is that when legalization / decriminalization was on the CA ballot - it was overwhelmingly opposed by people in the marijuana industry. Not because it was a bad bill or a bad premise but because it would greatly impact their financial gain from growing and selling weed. This above all shows that most stoners are indeed idiots... they voted against legalization!

This will have zero impact on use. It will simple move to the untaxed and unregulated black market.

iamsomeguyinsb (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 9:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

iamsomeguyinsb pretty much said it all clearly and concisely. The so-called dispensaries were largely a joke and even the local stoners I know who patronized them acknowledged that. Just look at the ads: Are they appealing to _medical_ users? Am all for medical MJ for those who truly need it and assume that regulated legalization will eventually become a reality and I have no problem with that.

As iamsomeguyinsb pointed out "profiteers" is the key word in the local situation.

zappa (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 9:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yeah, because there are no profiteers in the pharmaceutical business......

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 1:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Merck and all those people are in it to help people after all, so is Walgreens and Cottage, they don't care about their bottom line or making a profit.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 1:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

They're should be the same restrictions on all pharmacies that the previous city council enacted on cannabis dispensaries.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 3:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just want to say Thanks to Citizen X! Your posts are awesome! I am behind you 110%! You are an informed and educated citizen! I admire your perspective! I hope that someday we will meet and fight this fight together! You really are an incredible person and inspiration! Thanks so much! May Your Higher Being (if you have one) encourage, enlighten and inspire you! You have affected me and so many others! I pray that the Forces of Justice are with you to protect and guide you each step of your way! Go get 'em!
You are so admired, loved and encouraged!!! You will change the world as we know it! Thank you!

cancerpatient010110 (anonymous profile)
May 17, 2012 at 10:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

CitizenX is informed because he's been hounded and victimized by the system. They have gone after his family's legit businesses too.

Something stinks in this town. We deserve answers from the city administrators, mayor and police department. Why is the will of CA voters (Compassionate Use Act of 1996) and the vote to keep safe access via the regulated, store front dispensaries being ignored?

Reliable polls show over 50% of those asked think marijuana is no big deal. Peoples' lives shouldn't be ruined over cannabis, especially not those who operated dispensaries and tried to be compliant with the ordinance, paid their taxes and had transparent as to operations.

One SB dispensary was run by the same family since 1996. These people are barely scraping by financially. They aren't rolling in the money from "profit." When one has to pay commercial rent, have an attorney on retainer, pay for insurance, security guard, payroll and benefits for employees that doesn't leave much room for profit in this industry in this town. It's expensive to grow quality cannabis.

We don't make coffee drinkers "grow their own."I can't grow pot at my house, nor can I whip up a decent Pinot in the bathtub. I shouldn't have to grow my own medicine. I need safe access to quality cannabis so I can get relief from my symptoms.

sez_me (anonymous profile)
May 18, 2012 at 7:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

There are THREE DAYS LEFT to register Republican so you can vote for a candidate for President who not only has a chance at winning, but wants to end the ridiculous war on (some) drugs and is pro-medical cannabis. Ron Paul 2012.

As far as other options, I think our city, state and/or county need to come up with a popular referendum to stop the Feds from raiding medical cannabis dispensaries based on the Tenth Amendment.

There is absolutely nothing constitutional about the war on drugs, therefore the power should go to the states and local governments.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 18, 2012 at 10:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Obama has raided 20 times more medical cannabis dispensaries than Bush.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
May 18, 2012 at 10:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Sort of appears to be local dispensary owners arguing/agreeing or seconding each other (or themselves) here. Why is that?

I'm for legalization, but some apparently tried to game the system, presumably to increase profits (I'm for capitalism too, but using all that herbal medicine/compassion-type lingo, well...), and brought the heat down on all.

Who, ultimately, is to blame for this? Who, or what, brought this attention on SB? There are legitimate questions, not meant as insults or jibes?

zappa (anonymous profile)
May 18, 2012 at 10:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

to come to an end.

The irony is that when legalization / decriminalization was on the CA ballot - it was overwhelmingly opposed by people in the marijuana industry. Not because it was a bad bill or a bad premise but because it would greatly impact their financial gain from growing and selling weed. This above all shows that most stoners are indeed idiots... they voted against legalization!

May 17, 2012 at 9:23 a.m.

You took the words right out of my mouth. When I talked to one of the people who worked for one of the S.B. pot shops he came up with the argument that he opposed legalization on the grounds that unsafe pot could be distributed. All this is is that the pot shops would get government protection i.e. protection against competition.

Remember folks: marijuana was legal until 1937 and our country wasn't going to hell in a handbasket before then so all the moralist natterings about Doomsday approaching if we RE-legalize it are pure nonsense.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 18, 2012 at 8:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The person I quoted was iamsomeguyinsb. I see I screwed up the copy and paste.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2012 at 1:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Great, so now I have to go back to shady dealers that also sell stuff like cocaine and ecstasy. I'm so tired of the federal government working against my interests, time to vote for Romney out of spite (if I can't have a good life, no one can).

Tonkatsu (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2012 at 6:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hmm Tonkatsu, I never thought of it that way. What better revenge on Mitt Romney than to actually elect him... it would be the first honest job he's had and even that is pushing it.
A candidate in a tight race who declared support for legalization would win. In many ways it would be the least divisive issue.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2012 at 6:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oops I forgot about Romney's term as governor, but he would like you to as well!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2012 at 6:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I promise you. I am not a dispensary owner. I voted yes on prop 19. And to top it off I am so poor it hurts. No profiting. But keep the generalizing accusations coming. It's so much easier to view the world as black and white don't you think? Unfortunately, the right loves stereo types and unsubstantiated statements. But lets keep the ball in play. How many of you are police?

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 19, 2012 at 9:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

With the DEA’s Marijuana Cultivation Eradication programs, and now targeting the medical marijuana collectives...thank god we still have Mexico.

The drug cartels must feel like they hit the lottery.

Only problem for those of us who truly use cannabis medically is there’s no way to determine how pure their cannabis is.

arepe (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2012 at 2:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Reportedly U.S. AG Holder once said that the American people considered the War On Drugs to actually be a War On The American People. He got that right. For a while.

geodel23 (anonymous profile)
May 20, 2012 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Arepe: "The drug cartels must feel like they hit the lottery."

Oh, hell yeah! Then on top of that you got Holder's "Operation Fast & Furious" which was fast to arm the cartels w/ furious high powered weaponry.
The feds just CAN'T seem to get it right no matter what. The best thing that could happen is to legalize it, tax it & regulate it much in the same way as pharmaceuticals.
But no, these malakas have a problem w/ common sense, yet they want another 4 years. So much for "hope & change" when all we got is more of the same, but in a highly inept manner :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 12:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What changed was the butt sitting in the Oval office, everything else stays the same.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
May 21, 2012 at 11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Our elected officials—bd of supervisors, city council, mayor, sheriff, chief of police, and district attorney, etc.—knew in advance that these federal raids on medical marijuana collectives were going to take place. With all the controversy about medical marijuana in Santa Barbara, and the fact that voters in Santa Barbara support it, I don't doubt for one minute, that our elected official requested that Feds include Santa Barbara, in there crackdown. It's a win-win. They don't "lose face" for shutting them down, and all the blame goes to the feds.

arepe (anonymous profile)
May 23, 2012 at 8:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Like I said and recently verified by the California State Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, and again, at the expense of ruining lives through the prosecution of someone who didn't deserve it.

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2012 at 10:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

also @ cancerpatient010110 : I tried to post earlier, but system would allow for some reason.

Thank you very much for your kind words! I am merely an average citizen trying to sift through garbage in order to find some truth buried underneath.

Keep on the good fight!

CitizenX (anonymous profile)
May 25, 2012 at 10:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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