CW: Another disturbing raid happened yesterday in Santa Barbara and San Diego. this disturbing trend seems to be a blatant show of force in cracking down on medical cannabis dispensing collectives. In both recent raids, organizations that own multiple collectives were targeted and there has been a disheartening resurgence of the attack on cannabis foods , as pictured below. Those who oppose Prop. 19 will have you believe that the medical system is perfect and that there is no need to expand freedoms beyond medical use because the system is working so well. This failed insight never seems to realize the many people daily who are being raided and jailed for providing medicine because the current law really fail to protect anyone.
Attorney Bill Panzer has likened it to everyone speeding on the freeway and only a few being pulled over, but has warned that “most” collectives would probably be deemed illegal under current statutes. Well, it seems as if more people are being stopped on the medical cannabis highway these days, and we must advance freedoms by passing 19 to establish legal and regulated distribution points to remove people from the harm’s way created by unclear laws. Operating in the gray area has served some well, but as we see, it can also be used against providers and that is the danger of the current situation.
Three Arrests in Marijuana Raid
updated: Oct 14, 2010, 7:54 PM
A nearly year long investigation by Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives has resulted in the arrest of three suspects following the raid of two marijuana dispensaries in South Santa Barbara County and a dispensary in San Diego.
Over the past year, the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office has received numerous tips and complaints of drug trafficking and money laundering at the Helping Hands Wellness Center on the 4100 block of State Street and the Choice Pharmacy on the 6300 block of Lindmar Street in Goleta.
During their investigation, Sheriff’s Narcotics Detectives discovered that both businesses were operating well beyond the guidelines of Proposition 215/Senate Bill 420. The investigation also led narcotics detectives to the Helping Hands Wellness Center on the 3500 block of Fifth Street in San Diego, Ca.
CW: Here in lies the problem. When Sheriff’s are allowed to determine what is “well beyond the guidelines of Proposition 215/SB 420” it leaves the door open for a variety of interpretations and law enforcement speculation.
On Thursday morning, October 14, 2010, personnel from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara Police Department and the San Diego Sheriff’s Office served search warrants at the following businesses and private residences in Santa Barbara and San Diego Counties:
Choice Dispensary 6300 block Lindmar St. Goleta, Ca
Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, 1,100 marijuana plants being grown on property, dozens of pounds of processed marijuana for sale, Automated Teller Machine, hashish, hash oil, several security safes with contents yet to be determined.
Helping Hands Wellness Center 4141 State Street Unincorporated Santa Barbara County
Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, Nearly 75 pounds of processed marijuana for sale, 200 plants growing on property, $20,000 cash, Automated Teller Machine.
Helping Hands Wellness 3000 block of Fifth Street, San Diego, Ca
Seized: Hundreds of edible marijuana items, 35 pounds of processed marijuana for sale, $17,000cash.
CW: I know it is chic to operate several locations these days, but it would also seem to raise a red flag in some instances. I support the notion of good organizations serving more patients, but it is hard to justify under the current “collective” scenario. Prop. 19 would allow for local cities to establish bona fide sales outlets, which would be seemingly good for everyone….
Residence on the 6300 block of Lake Decatur Avenue San Diego, Ca
Arrested: James Harder (DOB 9/19/80). Booked into the San Diego County Jail for felony drug trafficking (11360 HS) and felony money laundering (11370.9 HS). Bail: $2,000,000. Mr. Harder is suspected of operating all three dispensaries with Craig Corneal. Harder was arrested at the Lake Decatur Avenue residence and is awaiting transfer back to the Santa Barbara County Jail.
CW: Felony money laundering being charged is disturbing and could be an increasing trends. Be sure to handle cash appropriately and ALWAYS hire a CPA to do non-profit administration for the organization.
Residence on the 3000 block of Serena Road, Santa Barbara, Ca
Seized: Nearly $70,000 cash, plants from small marijuana grow in basement, marijuana growing equipment. James Harder has been linked to this property and is believed to have also lived here.
Residence on the 5300 Shoreline Drive, Goleta, Ca
Seized: $2,400 cash, 11 pounds of processed marijuana.
Arrested: Craig Corneal (DOB 6/9/81), Booked into Santa Barbara County Jail for felony drug trafficking (11360 HS) and felony money laundering (11370.9 HS). Bail: $2,000,000. Corneal was arrested at the Shoreline Drive residence and is suspected of operating all three dispensaries with James Harder.
Residence on the 100 Block of Sumida Garden Lane, Goleta, Ca
Arrested: Laura Bertucci (DOB 4/16/86) She was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail for felony drug trafficking (11360 HS) and felony money laundering (11370.9 HS). Bail is set at $500,000. Ms. Bertucci was taken into custody this morning at her apartment in Goleta and is suspected of helping operate the dispensaries.
CW: More focus on the food-based medicines. This disturbing trend seems to signal that the old strategy of demonizing the foods as ways that kids could be harmed is back in style….I thought we moved past that, but I guess not.
CW: DOES THAT SAY “SHIT” ON THE LABEL? I cannot get behind that. Sorry. Twist ties are weak packaging, as well. People…if you make cannabis foods find a REAL packaging and labeling scheme and for the love of god, please do not use profanity on your labeling and naming…..Shit? Really? Come on……
CW: $5 milkshake? (Pulp Fiction). But really, as a person who did foods for a long time, it seems these prices are a bit high, but maybe they are super strong. Who knows. What is an “X” mean anyway? Is that a quantifiable amount and if so, how much is 4 of them? Funny that after 3 years of being out of the business, not much has changed. people need to do a better job of self-regulation.
But I am not here to cast stones. Just pointing out the disturbing trend in law enforcement and encouraging people to do a better job of self-regulating. Reel it in. Tighten up the ship. And if you own multiple collectives, think about diversifying your ownership/Board so that you are not left holding the bag. And BY ALL MEANS….VOTE YES ON 19 to put an end to this madness.