Thursday, March 18, 2010

City chided over pot raid

Costa Mesa is giving mixed messages to medical marijuana patients.

Mayor Allan Mansoor met medical marijuana advocates Tuesday afternoon to
hear their concerns and discuss possible solutions.

About the same time, police searched a suspected marijuana dispensary,
carrying out bags of evidence and arresting an employee.

"Unfortunately, while we were meeting with the mayor, your Police
Department was raiding one of our collectives, and we're not happy
about that, but we appreciate your time," Marla James, a member of
American for Safe Access' Orange County chapter, told city officials
at Tuesday's council meeting.

Police served a search warrant at the dispensary, Doc's, and
arrested Rick Allen, 51, who was booked on suspicion of possessing
marijuana for sale and transporting it.

The raid is part of a city effort to eliminate the seven to nine
marijuana dispensaries that are operating in violation of its law.

Mansoor said he was not aware of Tuesday's raid, but that there are
no mixed messages.

"We're simply upholding our current laws," he said.

Mansoor met with the residents and supporters at their request, he said.

The mayor added that he's open to discuss ways to help those in need
of medical marijuana, while honoring law enforcement concerns.

Costa Mesa City Atty. Kimberly Hall Barlow, who's preparing a study
session for the council on the issue, said the ordinance isn't meant
to discriminate against patients, but that it prohibits illegal
businesses from setting up shop.

"We are not aware of legal collectives operating in the city,"
she said.

State law prohibits the sale of marijuana, but a 1996 proposition
legalized the cultivation and use of pot for patients suffering from
chronic pain, cancer and other ailments.

In recent months, and after U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder's
announcement that his office will no longer go after marijuana
dispensaries, California cities have seen an increase in the number of

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