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Some La Puente Dispensaries Interested In Growing Marijuana But Haven't Been Allowed

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Ganjarden

Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
When medical marijuana dispensary owners first came to this city of 43,000 residents, they had hopes of not only opening up shops but also of cultivating their own marijuana.

While a city ordinance allows indoor cultivation of marijuana, so far six of the seven dispensaries in La Puente said they have yet to do so. The seventh did not return a message for comment.

Ed Esposito, an attorney who represents THC2 Cooperative, said that dispensary found a large 68,000-square-foot facility because it wanted to grow marijuana. But after the dispensary opened in mid-February, the owners were told by a city building inspector that they could not cultivate marijuana, Esposito said.

The reasons they could not boiled down to "various" building codes, he said.

"They were gonna make it impossible," Esposito said.

State law allows the cultivation of marijuana at cooperatives and collectives, said Jamie Casso, an attorney handling medical marijuana-related ordinances for the city.

In La Puente, dispensaries would be allowed to grow the plant themselves if they met all city and Fire Department codes, he said.

Jon Salman, who runs Trinity Wellness Center on Amar Road, said he could provide cheaper marijuana to his patients if he were allowed to grow it.

Salman went to City Hall in February to ask about cultivation and was told he couldn't without a reason, he said.

"It's not going to hurt our business and hurt our patients," he said.

Instead, dispensaries such as Trinity Wellness and THC2 rely on marijuana grown by its members.

Trinity Wellness uses a collective of about 10 people outside of La Puente to grow the marijuana, Salman said. Those who grow it, donate and trade it to the dispensary.

THC2 relies on some of the 2,000 members of its cooperative to grow the plant, Esposito said.

To some residents, already concerned about the seven dispensaries in their city, the thought of them cultivating marijuana adds more worry.

"I think that's crazy," said resident John Martinez, 65. "It's not good for the kids. ... If they have the opportunity to grow, how much are they going to grow?"

With the support of residents, city officials are working to ban the dispensaries. The City Council directed its attorneys in late February to return with an ordinance pushing the shops out of town.

Some dispensary owners, such as Salman, are rallying supporters to attend a May 10 city Planning Commission meeting to oppose a ban.

"I'm not going to lie down for the city," Salman said. "They let us come in and now they're saying no. It's not right."


NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Pasadena Star-News
Author: James Wagner
Contact: Pasadena Star-News
Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Newspaper group
Website: Some La Puente dispensaries interested in growing marijuana but haven't been allowed