Medical marijuana is legal in California. But what happens when a pot shop isn't following the local rules? Is it a matter for a threatening letter, or should the cops move in and treat the retailer like a street-corner dope peddler.
Some pot shop owners in Whittier are claiming that the latter was the case last week when Whittier police moved in on a pair of out-of-compliance shops.
Officers smashed glass, took pot from patients and moved in with guns drawn, according to witnesses who complained to the Whittier Daily News.
According to Whittier police, the dispensaries at 14430 Whittier Boulevard #A and 8645 Greenleaf Avenue were hit on Wednesday with the help of other law agencies.
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Laura Kaplanian, owner of GreenReleaf Healing Center on Greenleaf, told the Whittier paper:
They broke in the glass door and shattered it when they came in. They trashed our place. They took all of the patients' medicine (marijuana) from their hands. It was inhumane. We're not animals.
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Michael McGehee, owner of the Apex - Alternative Patient Dispensary on Whittier Blvd:
They had all of their guns pulled, screaming, 'Get down.' The patients didn't even know what was going on.
Cops who claim they got at least about $50,000 worth of drugs total out of both places say the shops were operating against state law -- as for-profit drug ventures instead of as nonprofit caregivers for the seriously ill.
Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper told the Whittier Daily News "... they were acting as for-profit organizations essentially selling drugs."