Three Bay Area Dispensaries Defy Order to Shutter Doors


Melissa Haag, yes, the same Northern California District Attorney that “closes dispensaries for the kids”, sent three medical marijuana dispensaries letters on February 21st to cease and desist their operations. The three collectives were supposed to close their doors last Friday. They did no such thing.

In fact, the as SFWeekly details, one such dispensary, HopeNet, had a BBQ of sorts, grilling hot dogs for their patients the day they were supposed to close. In reality, this gathering was more like a a funeral of sorts. San Francisco–and Haag in particular–have made clear they intend to clean up the scene and eradicate all collectives near schools.

This recent development reinforces this fact.

The letters sent to the landlords of Shambhala, 208 Valencia, and HopeNet — private property-owners in Beverley Hills and San Francisco — advise that the properties are housing pot clubs that are operating too close to schools or parks.

The fact that the pot clubs follow state and local medical marijuana law and zoning codes are irrelevant. Marijuana is illegal under federal law, the letters advise, and the proximity to areas where children play trigger stiff penalty enhancements.

Similar letters forced other dispensaries to shut down, including two in the Tenderloin, two in the Mission District, and one on Market Street, all since November. Similar actions by Haag’s counterparts in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego have shut down hundreds of California medical marijuana dispensaries since a statewide crackdown was announced Oct. 7, 2011. In her office’s sole interview since the crackdown began, Haag told California Watch’s Michael Montgomery that she’s “drawn a line” against dispensaries that operate near children.

But while both HopeNet and Shambhala remained open on the deadline date given in the letters, there may not be much reason to celebrate. Shambhala’s landlord received a one-month extension from Haag’s office so that the owner, Ebrahim Poura of Beverly Hills, can work out a deal to terminate the dispensary’s “15-year lease,” according to dispensary manager Al Shawa. [SF Weekly]

Haag (who should be married to her male counterpart John Walsh) has stated in the past that she has a sort of “zero tolerance” rule in place for collectives in a close proximity to schools. Thus, it’s clearly a matter of when, not if, these dispensaries can no longer help patients.

Image via Flickr

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