Fresno Police Shut Down Tower District Pot Clinic


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
Fresno police this morning searched, then boarded up, the Tower District medical-marijuana clinic owned by Rick Morse. No marijuana was found inside and no one was arrested, authorities said.

Police said they brought a search warrant to the Medmar clinic at 210 E. Olive Ave. about 10 a.m., used a locksmith to open a door, and combed through the building. The business was closed and no one was found inside.

The clinic appeared to have been cleared out, police Capt. Dennis Bridges said

A pickup truck towing a trailer delivered plywood that will be used to board up the clinic's windows, police said. Crews from the city's code enforcement department were securing the building.

Natalie Gomez, 36, of Fresno, standing a block from the clinic this morning, said she is a Medmar client.

Protesters watch as a Fresno city code enforcement officer finishes closing the Medmar medical-marijuana clinic on Friday morning.

Gomez said the clinic's closure will force her to go to Oakland for the 1 to 3.5 daily grams of cannabis she takes to ease the pain of an ailment she declined to specify. She said she suffers from aching bones and joints, weight loss, depression and anxiety.

A Fresno County judge ruled Thursday that police could use force to shut down the clinic. Judge Donald Franson Jr. also ordered Morse to return to jail and finish a 15-day sentence for violating a court order that prohibits him from selling the drug.

Morse's son, Brandon Morse, could not be reached for comment today.

The judge said Rick Morse, 48, has continued to disobey a court order by allowing his clinic to dispense marijuana.

The elder Morse was initially sentenced to jail on May 14, but he spent only eight hours behind bars before being released because of crowding.

Franson said Sheriff Margaret Mims used a federal decree that prohibits overcrowding to release Morse. But he said state law gives him "the inherent power" to keep Morse behind bars for the full 15 days.

California voters in 1996 passed a law that allows qualified patients to use medical marijuana, and Fresno city officials initially approved Morse's Medmar clinic in the Tower District in December 2008.

But city officials sued Medmar and eight other dispensaries in August last year on the grounds that they violated a zoning ordinance that requires them to comply with both the state law and federal law; the latter prohibits marijuana sales.

Franson and another judge have ruled in the city's favor.

While eight clinics have closed, Morse continued to sell.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: The Fresno Bee
Author: Paula Lloyd
Contact: The Fresno Bee
Copyright: 2010 The Fresno Bee
Website: Fresno police shut down Tower District pot clinic
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