Friday, March 5, 2010

Medical Marijuana Providers Fight Back After Costa Mesa Busts

"Beginning Monday March 1, our office hours will be from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
daily, instead of 10 a.m. daily," declares an online listing for
Nutritional Concepts, a medical marijuana dispensary inside a Bristol
Avenue medical building in Costa Mesa.

The hours have certainly changed. Following a Costa Mesa police raid
Thursday, Nutritional Concepts, Live Well O.C. and Med Mar Patient Care
Collective have been ordered to cease and desist operations.

The orders were served by code enforcement officers because Costa Mesa
municipal law has prohibited medical marijuana sales since 2005, police

"The Costa Mesa Police Department will continue to investigate
businesses in the city that are engaging in this unlawful activity,"
reads a statement released today by police Lt. Mark Manley.

Costa Mesa apparently coordinated its raid with at least one other
Orange County police agency (more details below).

For their part, dispensary operators are not taking the police actions
lying down, with or without herbal assistance.

"The patients want and need us here," said Jordan T. Wallick, general
manager of MedMar Patient Care at 440 Fair Drive. "We are legal under
the state laws and we are going to fight to stay open."

He is also organizing a protest in front of Costa Mesa City Hall at 11
a.m. Saturday that he hopes will draw hundreds of medical marijuana
patients, providers and cannabis legalization advocates.

Costa Mesa police headquarters is next to City Hall, and across the
street is the Orange County Fair & Events Center, where the Southern
California Healing & Compassion Expo will be held Saturday. Organizers
estimate 13,000 people will attend the expo.

Among those hoping public pressure prompts the city to back off on
thwarting compassionate use is Sheryll Alexander, a Costa Mesa publicist
and Med Mar Patient Collective patient.

"The city of Costa Mesa says they don't have the proper business license
even though they have a license for 'pain management,'" Alexander says.
"Another collective in the same building was served with the same
48-hour comply notice. Plus, the city of Westminister also served Med
Mar's clinic in Westminister on the exact same day, so it sounds like
these city officials are working together."

That's bad news to several pain sufferers, according Alexander, who
pleas desperate in an email, " I want my MEDS, man!!"

Besides being located in a professional medical building, Nutritional
Concepts includes a retired registered nurse on staff. A visitor rating
the dispensary on writes, "I say that it's a good
dispensary for the elderly because, from what I understand, older
individuals tend to go for the medium to lower tier bud; nothing too
strong, which this dispensary was chalked full of for ridiculous

The critic had a problem with the location, saying one had to pass
through many doors to reach the office, and the quality of the weed,
"[b]ut, besides that, it had a nice atmosphere and the people were nice
and helpful. So kudos on that."

"Thank you for your compliments on our atmosphere and helpful staff,"
states the "official collective response." "We have many patients in a
wide range of age categories that enjoy the comfort and safety of our
environment as well as the professional advice and high quality of our
medicines. If customers have mobility issues, when they call, we make
accommodations for them to receive their medicine. We are proud of our
appeal to mature patients as well as younger individuals in need."

Now those patients have to go somewhere else.

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