Pot Shop Owner Refuses To Abandon Clients


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The operator of a medical marijuana dispensary said he will continue to help his clients even though the City Council opted this week to close down his operation.

Council members took two separate actions related to medical marijuana dispensaries Monday evening. The first of those actions was a unanimous vote of the council to extend the existing moratorium on new dispensaries for a year.

The council then voted 5-2 to deny the Pomona-based dispensary, Farm Assist Caregivers at 268 San Lorenzo St., an exemption to the moratorium.

"I'm just shocked," owner David Touhey said Tuesday. "They removed my exemption for no reason."

In April of last year council members adopted an interim urgency ordinance setting a temporary ban on the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

As part of that action, the City Council granted permission allowing Farm Assist Caregivers to continue operating while the city studied the larger dispensary issue, City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman said Tuesday.

The original 45-day ban was later extended to a 10 1/2-month ban that was extended this week to give time for two legal cases in California courts to be resolved, a staff report said.

Touhey said he spent much of Tuesday fielding calls from worried clients.

"I'm trying to reassure them they don't have to worry," he said.

For Touhey, his work is critical to people who are struggling with a variety of medical conditions, some of them life-threatening.

"I can't go anywhere. I can't let these people down," he said.

Touhey said since he hadn't been told to close his operation he would continue seeing clients.

Alvarez-Glasman said a letter was expected to go out Tuesday informing the dispensary operator he must cease to operate no later than Monday.

After that "the city will take every measure necessary to make sure they abide with the order of the City Council, including prosecution if necessary," Alvarez-Glasman said.

At the meeting Councilwoman Paula Lantz expressed concerns about denying the exemption to the dispensary.

"In my mind they have not created a negative impact," Lantz said.

Police Chief Joe Romero said Tuesday the dispensary has not generated calls for service directly tied to its location but it's hard to say if other areas are being impacted.

"One of the things that's hard to track is the activities of clients away from that particular location," he said.

Councilman George Hunter said his concerns about the presence of dispensaries are linked to a small bag of marijuana he found on a school playground that labeled it as being for medical purposes.

Hunter said he turned over the contents to police who confirmed it was marijuana.

Although the bag didn't say where the drug came from, Hunter said his concern is that medical marijuana from any dispensary can land in the hands of young people.

In addition, there are still many legal questions involving state and federal regulation of the drug, and this is one area he would prefer the city step back on. "There are certain areas I don't want to be in the forefront of and that's one of them," Hunter said.

Mayor Norma Torres said city leaders are working on trying to move the city in a positive direction.

"When I look at establishments like this one it just sends the wrong message," she said.

Newshawk: CoZmO - 420Magazine.com
Source: Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Author: Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Contact: m_rodriguez@dailybulletin.com
Copyright: 2007 Los Angeles Newspaper Group
Website: DailyBulletin.com - Home
It makes you wonder if he found anything at a school. Seems like I remember this story. Let's just say he did find the pot, if it was in a plain baggie, how would that have been handled.

Sending the wrong message? What message? That we have sick people in the community that need medicine for their illness?

The percentage of people who use the clubs for legitimate reasons far outweighs others who use it for their personal gain. Providing a place for people to go, other than the streets, is what it's all about.

I think most clubs probably follow the law better than other businesses in their communities. They are under extreme scrutiny, and even when following the law to a tee, they are shut down.

I hope none of the council members or the mayor would ever have an illness that marijuana would benefit them. It could be a really long drive, or maybe they wouldn't find it their meds at all.

Marijuana is not the drug of choice for kids these days, so why is it still such a big deal. They ought to be more worried about what's in mom and dad's medicine cabinet than a bag of pot that was found on the ground. Closing down a legitimate marijuana co-op is not going to curb marijuana smoking at all. It just sends those that need relief from illness and pain, to go out and have to find it for themselves.

Peace and happiness
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