UPDATE: County Threatens To Sue Marijuana Dispensaries

Riverside County turns up the heat on medical marijuana.

UPDATE 5:11 p.m.: The County of Riverside is cracking down on medical marijuana.

In closed session today, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors authorized County Counsel to initiate litigation against all medical marijuana dispensaries operating illegally in Riverside County.

“The Board of Supervisors today authorized its attorneys to sue any marijuana dispensary in the unincorporated county area, or the owner of any property where a dispensary conducts business, unless the operator or property owner voluntarily and immediately ceases operation,” according to a news release from the county Tuesday afternoon.

The release stated that there are at least 36 dispensaries “operating illegally within unincorporated Riverside County.”

In 2006, Riverside County amended its zoning ordinance when it adopted a ban on marijuana dispensaries in the unincorporated county area.

Since that time, the county has largely cracked down on dispensaries from a land-use approach. In August, Greg Flannery, code division manager for the county, told Patch that out of 11 pot dispensaries found to be operating in Lakeland Village, 10 had been handed cease and desist orders by code enforcement.

Failing to follow a cease and desist order can be expensive, Flannery said in August: The options are a court challenge, or stay open and pay the consequences of additional citations that can cost a property owner $500 to $1,000 a day.

Today’s news confirmed that county officials will still use code-enforcement powers, but costly lawsuits are now an added threat.

“County officials also will seek to recover all administrative and legal costs unless dispensary operators or property owners immediately and voluntarily cease dispensary operations,” today’s news release stated.

The news release also warned that property owners who lease to suspected medical marijuana operators may be in jeopardy.

“If businesses are operating out of leased buildings, federal officials also might be able to seize the property, including buildings,” the release stated.

Today’s news from the county follows an Oct. 7 announcement made by statewide.

However, that news was quickly followed

As legal tangles continue elsewhere, here at home the county could run up a large taxpayer bill.

“Some of them (dispensaries) are heavily lawyered up,” Flannery He said these types of lawsuits cost upward of $150,000 to defend and, with uncertainty surrounding medical marijuana bans, there is no guarantee the county can prevail.

However, his words came before a from the Fourth District Court, which ruled that nothing in the 1996 Compassionate Use Act or the Medical Marijuana Program Act pre-empts local jurisdictions from banning the facilities.

Last month's court ruling buoyed today's decision, according to today's county news release.

Medical marijuana advocate Lanny Swerdlow, who heads up THCF Medical Clinic in Riverside, said he is not surprised by today's decision given last month's court ruling. He said pressure to crack down on marijuana is not coming from residents but rather law enforcement.

"Law enforcement has them (government leaders) chomping at the bit," he said. "No one else is agitating them to do this. The cops are behind this."

He questions where legitimate patients who really benefit from marijuana will get the drug now.

"The criminals," he answered.

Joe Grumbine lives in unincorporated area just east of Lake Elsinore. He also heads the medical marijuana advocacy group The Human Solution and is currently embroiled in a lawsuit in Long Beach Superior Court. He is being tried on marijuana possession and sales charges after two medical marijuana cooperatives he operated in Long Beach and Garden Grove were raided in December 2009.

As of December 5, he said he has made 28 court appearances in the case. He has pleaded not guilty and is undergoing a jury trial.

“This case will last longer than most violent crime cases, including murder,” he writes on his website. “Just to reiterate, this is all over the charge of selling a plant to qualified patients.”

Tuesday afternoon medical marijuana advocate and Lake Elsinore resident Wayne Williams had not heard the news about the county’s decision. He owns a medical marijuana collective in unincorporated area just outside Lake Elsinore, the Compassionate & Wellness Center Cooperative, and is the founder of We The People, an advocacy group fighting to keep medical marijuana accessible.

Last month he kicked off a restaurant to get a medical marijuana initiative on the 2012 ballot for Lake Elsinore.

Despite today’s news, he said his group still plans to move ahead.

“The initiative is still going forward,” he said. “It will be an all out campaign.”

Click here to read about California's medical marjuana laws.


ORIGINAL POST: In closed session today, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors authorized County Counsel to initiate litigation against all medical marijuana dispensaries operating illegally in Riverside County.

The news follows an Oct. 7 announcement made by statewide.

However, that news was quickly followed

Click here to read about California's medical marjuana laws.

While word from the county is pending today, Patch has previously reported that fees to litigate marijuana cases can be costly.

“Some of them (dispensaries) are heavily lawyered up,” Greg Flannery, code division manager for the county, He said these types of lawsuits cost upward of $150,000 to defend and, with uncertainty surrounding medical marijuana bans, there is no guarantee the county can prevail.

However, his words came before a from the Fourth District Court, which ruled that nothing in the 1996 Compassionate Use Act or the Medical Marijuana Program Act pre-empts local jurisdictions from banning the facilities.

More information is expected to be released by the county this afternoon.

Tonto December 15, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Only the Cartels get to sell weed :)
Roberto December 15, 2011 at 12:44 AM
Smoking pot is illegal just like illegal aliens.
Tonto December 15, 2011 at 12:53 AM
It must not be because Mexico's biggest cash crop is marijuana in my opinion :)
BLUESGUITAR777 December 15, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Roberto - LOL so true... and the ones doing either/or think it's perfectly okay!
Roberto December 15, 2011 at 01:08 AM
One of the problems I see with with legal pot is a health hazard like cigarrettes. Pot can be laced with opiates, stimulants, cook down into hashies, or a honey oil base. Not sure society needs anymore legal vices. It's hard enough trying to convince people to go to work and with legal pot?
UNCLE FESTER December 15, 2011 at 01:58 AM
BEEN THERE DONE THAT.... like everything else here, its all about the dollars... so we get to deal with it.. by the way, the city only had 1 of these.. the rest are all on county land... and the county flip flops on this issue like a drop of water on a hot plate..
Tonto December 15, 2011 at 02:17 AM
I think Obama still smokes cigarettes :(
Roberto December 15, 2011 at 02:38 AM
I'm sure Robama Hood smoked a fattie once or twice. You bring up a good point though, I'll bet smoking pot causes Robin Hood syndrome....makes you want to rob from the rich and give to the poor once you get motivated to do something.
Tonto December 15, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Thats it, and his staff hashes out the details who is poor and rich :)
Popeye December 15, 2011 at 04:03 AM
BlueGuitar is a Tea Bagger racist.
UNCLE FESTER December 15, 2011 at 05:18 AM
there bad for nearly all the businesses on the entire st. when you cant blink more than twice and not miss one, theres a huge problem here. its just as stupid as having a mc donalds on every corner. whats the point ? over worked areas being frequented by mostly their "buddies" anyway, tells me this is just another scam to make money on the backs of the homeowners and the general public. just another big load of b/s for the government to deal with using our tax dollars to do it.. and to top it off, they WILL RE-OPEN in a matter of months if not weeks or days because of the loop holes.. the d.e.a. says its still illegal and eventually they will shut them all down and possibly put the owners in jail for it too. since the DEA is federal, it pretty much over-rides all the local crap they step all over to open these COLLECTIVES.. theres a great word for it too, collectives.... more like "come see what killer weed we have today.. this will fix all your problems --till tomorrow when you come back for more". how the hell can they afford this stuff everyday ? some as high as 300.00 ? where are they getting the money ? i work like a slave and i cant afford anything that cost 300.00 a day.. and i make good money too.. if these are supposed to be free to some, and cheap to others, whats the draw to open them.. its CERTAINLY NOT THE MONEY YOU CAN MAKE GIVING IT ALL AWAY..IS IT !?!? ALL B/S.. if these places were not making money, they couldnt pay the bills.
Tonto December 15, 2011 at 05:35 AM
Maybe the dispenseries were taking too much business away from local pharmacies?
Roberto December 15, 2011 at 06:13 AM
With all the other drugs available at a pharmacy, pot would simply be another medication. Vicadon, qualudes, pot, pot brownies, hash etc. pick you poison under a doctors supervision. None of it can be be any good for you but if you need it, get a supervised prescription for narcotics and may you remain a productive citizen as long as possible. Pharmacies are already doing well and pot would simply make their business grow even more. Could save the local Pharmacist from going out of business to the conglamerates. Some people can smoke pot and remain productive, sadly many cannot as with any drug.
Diana December 15, 2011 at 05:50 PM
There are two dispensaries operating in the city of LE and they are both on Riverside Dr just before you get to the Ortega HWY and LE does nothing they have been there for some time. The others are in the County. Some say that these dispensaries keep the drug dealers off the streets, in all actuality it is just the opposite, fathom this, Mr. Drug Dealer goes to the doctor and gets his medical marijuana card, he goes to the dispensaries and buys his pot, he then turns around and sells it on the streets to those that do not have a card for a profit!!!!!!!!! All of these dispensaries are in it for profit and yet they avoid paying taxes with a "non-profit exemption", there is no way they are not in this to make money!!!!!!! As far as complaining to those in an official capacity...been there done that...and what is up with the cops running around LE in unmarked blue chargers and unmarked pick up trucks, the past two days I have seen people pulled over by these vehicles, the only marking would be the blinky lights in their back window??? Now we don't know who the police are, is that legal?
Roberto December 15, 2011 at 05:54 PM
I have not noticed these. If they are on the mountain side before the Ortega Hwy. they to may be in the unincorporated area. Except for the housing tract next to Hwy. 74, the area is pretty much unincorporated.
Diana December 15, 2011 at 06:29 PM
They are both within the LE City Limit, the sign stating "thank you for visiting LE" is posted right after the Ortega Hwy, one of them is in a blue building with arches in the front, the other is located in a building before, I believe it is shared with a business that sells tires and fixes cracks in windshields. I have sent this information to Melissa Melendez several months ago.
UNCLE FESTER December 16, 2011 at 02:58 AM
menace was located in a square block in the county map. some of the homes are the same along grand. most of the homes however are in the city limits.. its a very odd pattern of lines if you look at it closely. lakeland village is supposed to county area but not ll of it is. it was supposed to be everything on the lake side was city and the mountain side county but we all know it never is what it is supposed to be... go get a permit--all of a sudden your in the city-- or is it county ? the unmarked cars are usually the drug task force and or the parole sweepers.. some are just for the shock factor too. they have all sorts of undercover cars for this area.. they need it.. but, they shouldnt be pulling over cars and unveiling their little secrets either.. that what the motorcycles are for--traffic... i figure if they're watching these co-ops and catching the frauds--sure, why not...
Roberto December 16, 2011 at 03:49 AM
The area near Hwy. 74 and Grand Ave. is known as "The Claw". The city limits if you look at a map is the shaped like a claw at Hwy 74 & Grand ave. The Ortega Market and the newer tract across 74 and behind two tracts behind the Ortega market are in the city. One way to tell if you are in the city or not is Lake Elsinore street signs are blue and County signs are green. The Lake side on Grand all the way to the Lakeland Village sign is in the City. The rest of the area is all unincorporated county particularly on the mountain side of Grand Ave. County area starts on Grand Ave. at Withrow Elementary School and continues on the moutain side after Machado almost all the way to hwy. 74. There is a sign welcoming you to the city of Lake Elsinore at Machado and Grand that is confusing because the sign is on the County side because only the lake side is city. I knew a guy who years ago paid the city to add on to his house only to find out years later...he live in the unincorporated area near the claw!
Mort Mortimus December 21, 2011 at 01:20 AM
Yay Diana and American Girl. I'm with you 100%. Common sense and decency will eventually win this battle. I'm not trying to keep medicinal MJ from anyone who needs it. I believe they should get their medicine from a regular pharmacy just like I get my Nasonex. I also think it's okay for them to grow their own MJ in their backyard or basement, but I worry about that angle because of the violence associated with grow houses.. We have to protect the children, even if we're not parents. Children don't need pot.
Josh Ovalteen January 04, 2012 at 11:59 PM
My name is Joshua J. Lewis....I am an MMJ patient in Lakeland Village. I suffer from a very rare Genetic Disorder called ECS-NCD it stands for Endocannabinoid System Nero Chemical Disorder and it affects every organ of my body including my skin. This is a life threatening illness and Cannabis is the only financially reasonable supplemental therapy for this! It literally keeps me alive and there are only several people in the world whom have this rare disorder. I also suffer from Gout, chronic pain and keratosis pilarous all of which are kept in check with the miracle of cannabis. I am a Christian Pastor for The Fellowship of The Living Word Church and I am a very successful musician, Journalist, Disc Jockey and Land Surveyor. I have an absurdly high I.Q. and my accomplishments are many. My works are even on display at the Smithsonian Institute. Before these cannabis dispensaries opened up, Lake Elsinore was a no-mans land and in fact the unincorporated side of the lake had virtually no commerce coming in and looked exactly like what it is which is a haven for crackheads, biker gang's, streetwalkers and drug dealers....The Elsinore underworld is a harsh one and is a place where legit patients will have to go for relief from their symptoms. So in other words you are making sick people Criminals. People like me whom cannot drive because of their disease may very well die. Thank You
Josh Ovalteen January 05, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Freebies were Very Compassionate and have given me medicine during my hardships. It is the one place I new I could go to and come home with medicine, even if I had no money to donate! They also sold Grams for $1 instead of $25-$30 which is the going rate it seems. If anything Freebies is the one place that should stay open. This is a sad way to bring in the new year looks like Elsinore will go back to being a Biker town with abandoned buildings.
Josh Ovalteen January 05, 2012 at 12:19 AM
It is def. unincorporated which is why we have sheriff's over here and not cops. Melissa Melendez is unfit to hold any office for she clearly does not care about people nor about the poisonous aerosol military experiments that are present daily in the lakeland Village skies. She does not care about peoples lives only her vain position of power. God is watching.
Josh Ovalteen January 05, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Mr. Drug dealer cannot compete with the dispensaries. There is no Drug dealer on the planet who will sell me my Medicine at $1 per gram. Sorry just ain't gonna happen. Drug dealers are more inclined to move into crack and heroin- don't believe me - then go hang out at the park on mainstreet behind el unica...cops allow the junkies to conduct their business freely.
Josh Ovalteen January 05, 2012 at 12:25 AM
you are probably right what is Perris hills pharmacy gonna do now they run their op like mexico...pretty much i can go in their with no script and by pain meds...many drug dealers go there to get there dope and they resell it on the street for twice what they paid. I have seen it many times...they even advertise on TV lol
Josh Ovalteen January 05, 2012 at 12:26 AM
a couple of them fall in city limits
Josh Ovalteen January 05, 2012 at 12:31 AM
We already got the 12,000 signatures. I went to city council meetings for 3 years it did nothing. I even gave the entire council Education packets on the laws and rights concerning this...The DA had no interest even though what i gave her was thorough....She did not have a proper understanding of the Law and even admitted to ignorance at several meeting which i filmed. He we even held a town hall meeting and invited the world's leading experts which included a judge and court qualified experts but the council members did not show up even though it was mostly for their benefit. You can't help those whom don't want it. They are set in their ways. Apparently the Feds are too. : ) Godbless
justme January 05, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Unfortunately there will always be those who abuse a right and those who will forever judge and criticize others. People will NEVER understand what you are going through until they themselves have encountered such a disease. My husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis back in 2005 and it opened our eyes to so many more things than we ever imagined. I hope you find a way to fulfill your prescription. I know how important it is. My husband could get an rx if he wanted to but he has always told his neuro no. He doesn't want to become addicted/dependent on something that can go away so easily. So he takes on his exacerbations head on with some suppliments and other meds he has for help. Be well Mr. Ovalteen
Josh Ovalteen January 05, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Prop 215 is here to stay. It was voted in by initiative. I was under the impression that this process represented the freedoms protected by our constitution. The people have spoken. Studies and Facts have been ignored. The Fact is that Obama and Holder set forth guidelines and it says in print that MMJ patients that have a dr. recommendation to use cannabis have the right to do so and their is no sense in wasting federal funds on raiding and going after legit patients or their collectives. This was Holder's words not mine.
Stormy January 07, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Josh: I am so sorry to hear about your illnesses but I do have a question for you, not to be rude but where did you get your medical MJ prior to the last year or so before all of the dispensaries opened in Lakeland Village? From your posting I would assume that you have had your illnesses for quite some time, I know others that use medical mj for help with their illnesses and surprisingly not a one of them obtained it from the dispensaries on Grand.
Stormy January 07, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Jam I couldn't of said it better myself, I think at $300.00 an ounce they are preying on the sick and laughing all the way to the bank........this is just wrong in so many ways!!!!!!!!!!


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