UNDER ATTACK! 3 More Collectives RAIDED in SD and SB.

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

Source: SBSO

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.

Source: http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?nid=41036

5 thoughts on “UNDER ATTACK! 3 More Collectives RAIDED in SD and SB.”

  1. I do not agree with enacting another law, when the local jurisdictions have just started to recognize medical marijuana. I encourage fixing the gray areas that we have in the existing laws. The prop 215 was passed in 1996 and some local legislations have just started to take action on medical cannabis. In my area, three months ago the city council just agreed to allow three medical marijuana dispensaries. This comes NOW!!, fouteen years after the law has been passed. So now everyone wants to LEGALIZE MARIJUANA FOR RECREATIONAL USE but they leave up to the local jurisiction to regulate and tax. So in 2024 I can expect to see some regulation? The new law is just as vague as the old one, If i’m wrong I encourage you to correct me. If we could work together and come up with a legitimate law that stipulates how it will be regulated, then I would me more inclined to vote yes but all we are doing is tradeing a flawed law for another. We talk about how we the people can make a difference. Then we need to be informed ( do some REAL research) and have access to all the information needed to make a diligent decision.

    I read something awhile back ( I dont remember the reference), that Alaska legalized marijuana back in 1975 and after the addiction rate to other drugs skyrocketed and minors useage went up dramaticaly. The people voted to re-criminalize marijuana. This is exactly what i’m saying about a poorly written law that was passed and it had detrimental effects. Don’t think i’m not for the legalization of marijuana. I’m looking for a law that will not backfire in our faces and then the government will tell us we can’t make these decision on our own.
    We need to be smart and have access to all the facts before we can make an educated decsion. I understand that this will generate money for our economy but that is a problem in it’s own. We are in this situation because our goverment is very poor with money. The last thing we need to do is throw more money at them. Think of California as a business, it should be able to sustain itself without having to outsource or generate more money. Like I said this is a problem I don’t want to get into.
    In the end of my rant, I want people to stop and think what will happen if this law passes. We can carry pot (we can do that now), we can grow a 5’x5′ area ( we can do that now) or are going to be able to buy it in a store (this is my biggest worry). I really don’t want to give more money to big business aka Phillip Morris or RJ Reynolds Co. They have made stagging fortune on cigarettes and they will just make more if this is completly legal.

    Thank you TDB

    Cannabis Warrior you have my email send me a reply if you want to debate or anyone else who thinks my views are flawed or wants to correct me.

    1. TDB-

      Continuing to keep 9 of 10 cannabis users criminals is unacceptable. The medical system STILL does not clearly allow for retails sales, where 19 empowers localities to do so. The medical laws as they stand and the ability to have dispensing collectives is based on a loosely written gray area of State Bill 420 allowing for non-profit collective cultivation. This is the source of much controversy and as you can see there are many dofferent interpretations of non-profit and whether or not storefront dispensaries are illegal.

      A major reason for the backlash is that a number of public officials, law enforcement, medical professionals, and concerned citizens see an abuse in the medical system. Many peope may fudge their medical need at this point to avoid going to jail. While that is obviously the better choice of the two, it also creates a difficult path for legitimization of cannabis medicines. By separating those who just use cannabis for adult enjoyable use from the real patients in need it will allow for more legitimacy in the medical system.

      19 moves our cannabis laws forward and allows for local municipalities to make distribution and production regulations that meet the needs of their community. It is not prudent to continue to allow people to treat all cannabis users, including medical, as second class citizens. Medical cannabis laws do not make cannabis use lawful. It provides an exemption from prosecution for patients. 19 is a much better path and will embolden the medical situation. Stating we should not pass new laws because the old law has not worked out great is irresponsible and short sighted.

  2. TDB,

    Regarding the History of legalization in Alaska.

    The main reason this happened:

    “In 1990, Alaskans voted to re-criminalize marijuana in a state referendum. The referendum was heavily funded and backed by the federal government, with then-President George Bush and his drug czar William Bennett personally promoting the effort. During the last couple weeks of campaigning, the feds blitzed the airwaves with frightening anti-drug commercials designed to scare voters into voting with the status quo. The measure passed with 55% of the vote.”

    While the study did show that teen cannabis usage went up it also showed that cocaine use went way down lower than the national average.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/10/25/us/alaskans-to-vote-on-marijuana-use.html?pagewanted=2

    Curious how Medical Marijuana has affected teen use in states that allow it?

    http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=001557#tableIVa

    This actually shows teen usage dropping in medical marijuana states. A net drop of 10.29% of teens using cannabis in all medical marijuana states.

    I think it’s also important to note that this re-ill-legalization has not held up. The current laws in Alaska are some of the most lenient in the country.

    1 oz or less in your residence or home – no penalty. Not even a fine!

    Possession of less than 25 plants is protected under the Alaska Constitution’s right to privacy (See Ravin v. Alaska).

    So if you look at the big picture and understand the political attack made on MJ in the state one can understand why this even happened in 1990. Furthermore there is only ONE study that actually shows what they claimed in the late 80’s. How often do you come across a situation that huge with only one supporting ‘study’. If this was a rabid problem there would have been countless studies showing the demise of the youth. But there is only one. Uhmmm.

    I would rather have the youth in my city using cannabis at a higher rate than using cocaine or other drugs (including alcohol at a higher rate) Any idea how the abuse of alcohol has ravaged small towns in Alaska? The abuse of alcohol is a MUCH bigger problem in Alaska than any cannabis consumption. But you don’t see the feds getting involved in that do you?

    Questioning peoples motives will usually answer peoples questions.

    John Phillips

  3. There is more to this story in San Diego.

    http://networkedblogs.com/9ifIi

    “According to Matt, one of the patients who visited the dispensary that day, detectives welcomed him to the collective, told him the facility was under ‘new management’, checked him in, and even provided him with free concentrated cannabis (hash) as a gift before inquiring with the unsuspecting patient whether he cultivated his own medicine. As soon as Matt told them that he did, the detectives pulled out their badges, said they were DEA, and then proceeded to detain and interrogate him for almost two hours.

    San Diego Americans for Safe Access (SDASA), the local chapter of the nation’s largest advocacy group advancing therapeutic use and research medical marijuana, received a call on Thursday around noon from another patient who said the Helping Hands Collective was “taken over” by law enforcement. The call was followed by an email to SDASA from a sales representative of San Diego CityBeat, who also stopped into the dispensary that day to visit their advertising client only to find out that the place is ‘under new management’.

    Upon receipt of these reports, SDASA quickly activated the local Raid Response Team (RRT). The team was successfully able to verify, confirm, and notify the community of the raid within minutes of the initial reports.”

    Did your face fall off after reading this? Mine did.

    John Phillips

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